I have a relatively large hibiscus plant which had been thriving for some years. I take it into the house for the winter and this spring, there were tiny white bugs on the plant. I’ve put it outside now, and sprayed the plant with my garden hose, but the small white bugs are still bothering it. Any suggestions as to how to get rid of the bugs?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your question regarding your hibiscus.
When hibiscus are taken indoors for the winter they often are more susceptible to pests because they are put in varying amounts of stress and often dry conditions with poor air flow are invitations for white fly, spider mites and other pests.
There are a number of pests that can attack the hibiscus, but based on your description the most likely candidates are either white fly or mealy bugs.
White fly are quite small and you should see some in flight if you rustle some leaves .
Mealy bugs are larger and you are would likely notice mealybugs when they reach the adult stage and begin to cover themselves with a white, waxy, protective material that looks somewhat like cotton balls. This bright white color stands out against the green of the leaves. One difference that distinguishes mealybugs from other pests, such as snow scale, is that mealybugs can be found on both tops and bottoms of leaves, as well as flower buds
I would recommend referring to the attached link which will enable you to to better identify which pests you may have as well as more details on their lifecycles and how best to manage them.