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House Plants/whiteflies on hibiscus

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Question
"Tree Hibiscus" bought for granddaughter's wedding last summer from Lowes. Not re-potted by me. Brought inside to overwinter. I live in NE Ohio. Plant is in a cool room, in the east window beside the heat vent. Clay pot is 12" across the top. About a week ago I noticed tiny white-winged insects flying around when I disturbed the leaves. Now the flies are flying all around the room, trying to get out the windows. This is the only plant in this room but I have other plants in another room. I don't want the white-flies to spread to my other plants indoors and I don't want to infest the outside (if it isn't already). How do I get rid of the flies that are flying around the room and what do I do with the hibiscus?

Answer
Hi Karen,

Whiteflies are best treated at night when they are less inclined to fly about when disturbed. If you have a hand vacuum, use that first to vacuum the winged adults that are on the leaves. Then use a solution of soapy water (use liquid dish soap) in a spray bottle and thoroughly spray all leaf and stem surfaces until they are dripping wet. If temps are above freezing, I suggest you do this outside because the spray drip is messy. Doing this outside will also keep the whiteflies from flying about in your house. Those that leave your Hibiscus will not survive long in the cold outdoors. Those that stay on the plant will be killed by direct contact with the soap spray.

If you are really thorough with your spray treatment, it should not be necessary to re-spray. However, do be vigilant for signs of live whiteflies. Dead carcasses may fall from the leaves onto surfaces below, but as long as they are not flying, you are okay.

I have written an article on indoor plant pests that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Will Creed

Expertise

I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

Experience

I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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