This fuzzy white stuff is killing my hibiscus: How do I stop it?
Pink hibiscus mealybugs are covered with a white, fuzzy material that looks like mold or fungus. (Dan Gill)
Question: I have a hibiscus growing in a pot that has bloomed very well this summer. Recently, the plant has stopped blooming and is showing yellow leaves. When I look at the plant closely, I see a fuzzy white mold or fungus growing on the tips of the branches. What is this and what should I do to help my hibiscus?
Answer: This is not actually a fungal problem – these are insects called pink hibiscus mealybugs. The insects are covered with a white, fuzzy/powdery material. They cluster on the new growth and buds of hibiscus plants and are very obvious when they are present. They feed by sucking out the sap of the bush. While feeding they inject toxic compounds that can seriously damage or even kill a plant.
Pink hibiscus mealybugs can be controlled organically with several applications of a light horticultural oil, such as Year Round Spray Oil, All Seasons Oil or Organocide. Or you could use one of the pyrethroids (permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin or others). Imidacloprid, applied as a drench, can also be used to control pink hibiscus mealybugs, either alone or in conjunction with the insecticides already mentioned. Do not use Malathion on hibiscuses, as they are sensitive to this insecticide.
Above is one of my Hibiscus trees that I am trying to save. These mealybugs are trying to take them out!