I have either squirrels or birds eating my hibiscus. This is my second plant. They eat it to the stub. I love the animals but love my hibiscus too!
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Rhonda: Deterring animals in the garden can be a challenge and now that they know where to come for dinner, it will be an ongoing problem unless they are discouraged and look elsewhere for food. I would not suspect birds to be the culprit. Certainly a squirrel or possibly a rabbit or deer would be more likely since they have left nothing but the stem. You are gardening in a different part of the country than I am, so you may want to check with your local garden center to see if there are other animals that may be to blame. Ideally it would be best if you knew what was snacking on your hibiscus because there are repellents made specifically for certain animals, although this may be more of a marketing gimmick since they all seem to have the same ingredients. Most of them are made of all-natural ingredients such as garlic, citronella oil, and rosemary. Some are made with the urine of predatory animals. These products are available in both liquid and granular forms and do not smell good when you apply them, but the scent will dissipate to the human nose. Blood meal can also be used as a repellent. All of these options will need to be reapplied every month or so and after a heavy rain. If nothing else works, a small fence/cage around your hibiscus will certainly keep them at bay. It only needs to be 2-3 feet tall but burying it 6-12 inches will keep them from digging their way into the garden. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof remedy; some gardeners swear by certain products and others say it does not work for them, so finding out what works for you may involve some trial and error. If you are growing hardy hibiscus, do not remove the plants because if the roots are healthy they should recover and put on new growth.