Q:

What could be eating my hibiscus?

A:

Quick Answer

Many animals love to eat the large leaves, flowers and stems of a hibiscus. Squirrels, deer, groundhogs and turtles are some of the more common animals that may be responsible for eating the plant.

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Full Answer

Usually, homeowners apply several different preservation techniques before finding one that keeps animals away. Squirrels find the hibiscus to be a tasty meal and make frequent returns to it until it is destroyed. Several household solutions can deter the squirrel. The smell of hot pepper and mothballs is enough to keep many squirrels away. If applied regularly, coffee grounds, blood meal and predator urine have the same effect, saving the plant from these hungry pests.

The best way to repel deer is by screening the plant with fencing, chicken wire or mesh. If fencing is not a practical or an attractive solution, deer can be kept away from the hibiscus plant by frequently applying chemical deer repellents. Groundhogs can dig underneath fencing, so installing a net around the plant or spraying it with a chemical repellent are the easiest ways to keep these animals away. Turtles are effectively repelled by building a low wall around the plant to force the little reptiles to turn away from the meal.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How and when do you prune hibiscus plants?

    A:

    Hibiscus plants need to be pruned back approximately one third of the way down each branch, notes Hidden Valley Hibiscus. Pruning cuts should be made at 45-degree angles directly above nodes, which are the locations where new growth occurs. In warm climates, hibiscus plants respond best when pruned in the late fall. Hibiscus plants growing in colder climates need pruning during the spring.

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  • Q:

    Where did the hibiscus originate?

    A:

    The hibiscus is thought to have originated in South China. It has been cultivated in China, Japan and the Pacific Islands. There are two species thought to be native to Hawaii, including the Hibiscus arnottianus and Hibiscus waimeae, and there are approximately 300 related species of hibiscus in the world.

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  • Q:

    When should you plant a hibiscus?

    A:

    Hibiscus can be planted in the spring, summer or fall, says the National Gardening Association. Plant hibiscus in well-drained soil and in a location that gets plenty of sunlight.

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  • Q:

    How do you prune a hibiscus?

    A:

    Prune a hibiscus by removing old growth, pinching off the buds, deadheading the flowers, removing dead and dying foliage and pruning the plant to delay flowering. Pruning takes only a few minutes. You need pruning shears and pruning scissors.

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