Lacy Leaves on Hibiscus
I have two hibiscus plants that blossom beautifully year after year. However, something is eating the leaves, leaving them lace-like. What can I do? —Marie Zawatski, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Melinda:Hibiscus is a favorite food for Japanese beetles. And if they're the culprit, you shouldn't have any trouble spotting them. These metallic-green beetles eat and breed in broad daylight.
Many gardeners in beetle-infested regions have learned to appreciate the artwork of these voracious feeders. They refer to the damage as "beetle lace" and know healthy plants will survivie the damage.
Handpick these pests or, as a last resort, use an insecticide labeled for control of Japanese beetles on hibiscus.
If you see the damage but not the pest, it's time to break out the flashlight. A few night-feeding caterpillars or slugs can also cause this type of damage. Handpicking is usually enough for small populations of caterpillars. Beer bait or the environmentally friendly iron phosphate slug baits, such as Sluggo and Slug Magic, will take care of the slugs.