Showy flowers and lush, green foliage make hibiscus plants an attractive food source for many animals, so keeping pests out of the garden can be tricky. Many kinds of animals, ranging from deer to turtles, find hibiscus plants to be a tasty meal, particularly in growing suburban areas where food sources for the animals are becoming more scarce. There is no cure-all control, though fencing and chemical or organic repellents targeted at specific animals are available. To keep hibiscus-eating animals at bay, you may have to try several deterrents before finding one that works.
These graceful animals are predators when it comes to home gardens, where they may graze on new shoots and flowers. A large deer could eat an entire hibiscus in just a few minutes. To keep deer out, a tall fence is the best defense. If this is not possible, surrounding hibiscus with chicken wire or mesh will keep the deer away, although it might not look pretty.
Chemical deer repellents are available and are effective if applied repeatedly.
Though groundhogs prefer vegetables, these tough critters will also eat hibiscus. In suburban areas, groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, have become a nuisance in home gardens and landscapes as they search for new food sources. A member of the squirrel family, groundhogs may reach 15 lb. They usually feed in early morning or late afternoon.
Fencing won't work for groundhogs, so consider putting a net around the plant being attacked or spraying it with a commercial chemical repellent. Chemical repellents must be applied again after rain or about once a month.
Both iguanas and turtles eat hibiscus, in fact, some iguanas consider the hibiscus flowers to be something of a delicacy, while turtles will eat the foliage of a hibiscus.
A simple solution to keep turtles out of your landscape is to build a low fence around the plants that are being attacked, as the turtle cannot climb over a fence. Turtles may also be trapped and relocated.
Since iguanas can climb, a sheet-metal barrier is the best protection, though these can be difficult to install on hibiscus plants. Sheet metal should be wrapped around the trunk or stem to prevent climbing. Other options are commercially available iguana and reptile repellents.
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