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Plant Diseases/Hibiscus issue


leaves affected
leaves affected  

whole shrb
whole shrb  
All of my hibiscus shrubs are growing back from a strong winter cutting.  I have 8 and only one seems to be having an issue.  Some of the new leaves seem to be getting eaten and it looks like a lace pattern.  The new ones are turning brown.  Can you tell me what this is and how I can treat it.
Thank you in advance.

See attached pics

Dear Mary, Sorry for the delay in answering your question.  In the picture of the whole shrub, I am not sure if this looks like a disease process going on.  Often, the new growth on a plant will look pink to brownish as the new leaves begin to grow in and they eventually obtain the deeper green color.  The picture of the shrub actually looks quite healthy.  If there is something that is damaging the tips of the plant, you could spray the plant with NEEM, since it has very good anti-fungal properties.  However, as I said, I don't think anything seems to be wrong in the second picture.  In the first picture with the affected leaves, something is clearly chewing on your leaves.  Sometimes it can be frustrating to have leaf damage like this when you can't see the actual pest doing the damage.  This could be done by aphid, thrips, flea beetles, or a number of other pests.  If you will spray the leaves with Spinosad - another organic ingredient - then anything that comes to take a bite out of the hibiscus will die.  Any beneficial insects will not be affected; it only affects bugs that are actively feeding on your plant.  Both of these ingredients should be able to be found at a local gardening center.  Neem and Spinosad are both organic ingredients, so read the labels to make sure these ingredients are included.  I hope this information helps, but don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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