The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus Issue

Question: Good morning...I have three hibiscus that I cut back for the winter. With the temps warming the gardens are waking up for the most part. I know the hibiscus is a late bloomer, but I have encountered a slightly different problem. The stalks/stems are being chewed by something curious. Some appear to be stripped while others are gnawed at . We live in a wooded area with lots of squirrels, raccoons, etc. The deer usually tend to stay behind our fences. Can you tell me what might be ever so curious and how I might best fix the problem, please? Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful day! Chandra Ringo

Answer: Hibiscus syriacus is usually not bothered by animals although deer will eat the blooms and tender new growth occasionally. It could be a deer rubbing its antlers on it, or it might be a rabbit girdling the stems by eating the bark. This can be serious threat to the health of the plant -- if bark is stripped off all the way around or even partway around a branch, it will die. I would suggest you try encircling the plant in wire mesh to try to prevent their access to it. If it could be rabbits, also direct the wire outward flat along the ground and cover it with gravel so they can't tunnel under it quite so easily. I hope this helps!

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