Hibiscus Has White Fungus – How To Get Rid Of Powdery Mildew On Hibiscus Plants?

White powdery mildew (PWM) is a fungal disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani, which is found mainly in warm climates. PWM causes leaves to turn yellowish or brown and eventually fall off completely. Leaves become dry and shrivel up. If left untreated, it will cause death of the plant. It’s not just hibiscus plants affected by white mold; other succulents are susceptible too.

Symptoms:

Yellowing of leaves and stems, especially at the tips and along veins.

Stems may wilt or die entirely, leaving only a few branches remaining.

Leaves turn brown with age.

Foliage dies back.

How to Treat:

The first thing you need to do is identify the type of white mold on your plant. There are two types of white mold, one is called “white” and the other is called “black”.

Black mold causes damage even if there isn’t any sun exposure for long periods of time. Soil can be sprayed with fungicide to kill black mold, but it won’t work on white or yellowish mold.

To treat white mold, remove all plants from the infected area and anything else that was planted within a five-foot radius. Dig up the entire area, throw away everything, and allow area to dry for at least a week.

Next, place an organic fungicide, like cinnamon oil or neem oil in the soil before replanting your hibiscus.

To treat yellow or black mold, spray the leaves with a common household fungicide containing either Captan or Thiophanate-methyl. Be sure to use protective gear when spraying since these products are harmful if inhaled or touched.

Prevention:

Once you’ve gotten rid of the fungus, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from coming back. Hibiscus plants can get white mold from over-watering, so be sure to only water when the soil is dry.

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Do not water from overhead or you risk spreading the disease.

You can also use baking soda, which will raise the pH of the soil and make it less likely to contract mold. It’s important that the soil is well-draining to avoid root rot.

If you have succulent plants, add sand or small pebbles to the bottom of your planters. This allows extra water to drain away and keeps the soil from becoming water-logged.

If your hibiscus has PWM, chances are you either have poorly draining soil or water-logged roots. While you can buy some fungicides from the store, it’s best to talk to an expert if you want to get rid of the mold for good.

Other Things to Try:

There are some things that can be done naturally to treat white mold.

Vinegar: Soak the infected plants in a bucket of white vinegar overnight.

Baking Soda: Add baking soda to soil to make it less acidic for several days. This will raise the pH of the soil and make it harder for the fungus to survive.

Cinnamon: Buy cinnamon oil at a local drug store and use at full strength. It can be applied every five days until the mold has gone.

Grow Green: This is a special food additive that you can add to the water when you water your succulents. It isn’t very expensive and it can be bought from most plant nurseries.

Note: White mold is very rare and not as harmful as other types of mold, so there isn’t much need to panic. If you’re still worried, wear protective gear and talk to a professional!

Pest Problems

Hibiscus plants are susceptible to several different types of pests. While it’s normal for any garden to have an ant crawling here and there, it’s when you see lots of them that you should start worrying.

Here are a few of the pests that like to make their homes in hibiscus plants:

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Aphids: These suck little pests can be recognized by their small size and long noses. They like to hide under the leaves, and will quickly swarm hibiscus plants when it starts to rain.

They are a greenish color and suck the life out of your hibiscus plants.

Mealybugs: Mealybugs are small, self-defenseless creatures that live on the underside of leaves. They strongly resemble their nameakes and come in various colors such as white and yellow.

Mites: Mites are small spider-like creatures that are hard to see with the naked eye. You can tell if you have mites by clipping a leaf and placing it in a cup of water.

If you see little shadows moving about in there, you probably have mites.

Aphids, mealybugs and mites all suck the life out of your plants. They will quickly move from plant to plant so it’s important to get rid of them quickly.

Prevention:

The key to getting rid of these pests is prevention. Keep your plants healthy and they’ll be much less likely to attract pests in the first place.

There are also lots of ways to repel or kill the pests that have already infested your plants.

You should regularly check your plants for pests, as well as signs of infestation. Check the bottom of leaves as that is where mealybugs like to gather.

If you have a lot of aphids, it is best to get rid of the plant and others nearby as the aphids will quickly spread to them too.

Natural Predators:

Sometimes you can be lucky and have natural predators that will kill off the pests for you. The most common ones are the lacewing flies and ladybugs.

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You can buy packs of these predators to release into your garden to help you out. If you do this, remember that you will be introducing a foreign species into your garden, so be careful where you place them.

Homemade repellents:

You can make your own pest repellents by mixing together garlic, pepper, and some water in a spray bottle. Spray the repellent on your plants and the pests should quickly be gone.

Another way is to take a plastic bag, fill it with equal parts of soapy water and tie it to the affected part of the plant. This kills the bugs when they come into contact with it.

These homemade repellents can also be used in your garden to prevent pests from entering in the first place.

Pesticides:

There are many different types of pesticides available at your local garden store. Pesticides come in the form of sprays, dusts and baits.

Choose the type that best suits your needs. Be careful when using and always follow the instructions on the label.

The plants that you have bought:

You’ve done a great job so far picking out the healthy plants for your garden. It’s important to continue taking care of them and providing them with the right conditions so that they will grow strong and live a long life.

Here are some tips on how you can do this.

Transplanting:

Most plants need to be transplanted at some point in their life. This involves digging up the plant, moving it to a new location and then repotting it.

You might need to do this for several reasons. You might have selected a new spot for your plant in a different part of your yard.

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Your plant might not be getting enough sun or it could be competing with other plants or trees nearby and needs to be relocated. Most plants are going to need more water in some parts of the year than others. Your plant might be dying due to lack of water, in this case you might need to transplant it to a location that gets more water.

There are several techniques that can be used when transplanting plants. Choose the one that best suits your needs.

Transplant in the same location:

This is the easiest type of transplant and involves digging up the plant, removing the existing soil and planting the new soil around the base of the plant. Roots will grow into the new soil and re-establish themselves.

This is best if you are moving the plant within the same area or just a few feet away. It is important to choose new soil that is appropriate for the plant you are moving.

This might mean buying some new soil or just using a different soil that you have available, as long as it is appropriate.

Transplant to a new location:

This can be done in two ways. You can either dig up the entire plant, re-pot it and then move it to the new location or you can cut the plant in half and move just one half (this works well for larger plants).

Choose a new location that gets as close to the same condition as the old location. For example, a plant that was next to a south facing wall might need to be moved next to a north facing wall.

When digging up the plant be careful not to damage any of the roots. Try to keep the root ball as compact as possible.

If planting into a larger container, make sure you reduce the size of the container so that you don’t put too much soil in it (this will cause the roots to have a harder time getting water).

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If you need to move the plant a long distance, you might want to take it apart and only move certain parts. For example, you can move just the soil in one pot and leave the other behind.

This will allow you to re-pot again in the future without having to move the entire plant again.

If you are intending to move the plant outside of its present conditions (for example, from indoors to outdoors), be sure that the plant is ready for this change.

Cutting the plant in half:

You can cut the entire plant in half and then repot each half into a new container. Make sure you don’t damage the roots when doing this.

Make sure to trim off any dying or dead roots as these can cause disease or rot in the future.

You will essentially have two new plants that you can either give away or sell after they are potted. These new plants will need to be repotted within a year.

Taking Cuttings:

This technique is best used for shrubs and woody herbs such as Lavender or Rosemary. Woody herbs tend to be hardy and easy to grow from cuttings.

Most herbs can be grown from cuttings, but it is best to stick with the hardy ones when taking cuttings.

You only need to take one cutting from a plant in order to start a whole new one. This is because the root system of most herbs are fine and fibrous.

They grow new roots all over the cutting as it develops new shoots called “nodes”.

There are two techniques for taking cuttings.

Sources & references used in this article:

Morphological characteristics and pathogenicity of fungi associated with Roselle (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) diseases in Penang, Malaysia by T Eslaminejad, M Zakaria – Microbial pathogenesis, 2011 – Elsevier

Powdery mildews causing fungi in Iran by J Abkhoo – Mycopath, 2009 – 111.68.103.26

Occurrence of powdery mildew on some wild plants from Khandesh region of Maharashtra state by VP Pawar, VA Patil – Recent Research in Science and …, 2011 – updatepublishing.com

Modulating infestation rate of white fly (Bemicia tabaci) on okra (Hibiscus esculentus L.) by nitrogen application by AR Bhatti, N Bashir, ZU Zafar, A Farooq – Acta physiologiae plantarum, 2011 – Springer

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