Bought this short plant in last year's June. It gave 3-4 flowers - two buds were in it when I bought. It has not grown much at all despite putting it in the ground in well drained soil. I saw this covering where the branch tip is supposed to grow on. The leaves were also afflicted with mealys. It was hard to control - it is a problem in the winter months. Later I discovered that this was some sort of sap-sucker that may be preventing growth. The leaves had also wilted due to the mealys. Since there were very few leaves of this 1-foot plant, I removed the infestation manually and sprayed water over. It tended to recover. Being a gardener who never thinks of inorganic additions to the plants or earth, I did not do much. What could this thing be and is there a way to eradicate them from the plant? I don't see this on my other hibiscuses except mealys. I want to see it grow well and taller! I love the blue flowers!