care of a hibiscus

bethnorcal9September 4, 1998

I live in Phx, AZ and was given two full grown tropical hibiscus. They are in pots and I placed them in a southern exposure, they are now not doing so well. They are losing a lot of leaves and their leaves are getting "burned". There are plenty of new buds but they are not coming to a full bloom. My only other option is to move them to the back patio, where they would not get hardly any sun, it would be a Northern exposure. I just need a temporary fix because we are moving into a house October 1 and will be planted in a eastern exposure. ANy ideas on what I should do for the next month to get them healthy and beautiful again.

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Could you provide a floursant light? That would provide the additional light they need without burning.

    Bookmark   September 5, 1998 at 8:53PM
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Use light-colored patio umbrellas or move them back into the shade a little. Have you fed them lately? May also need to check for whiteflies soon, too. Mine had the same problems last year. Found they were root-bound in 12" containers, trans. to 18" then just put them in the ground this past March. NOW they're happy! Of course, I inherited these from my Mom-in-Law so they absolutely were NOT going to die in my care!

    Bookmark   September 6, 1998 at 7:05PM
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I live in North Dakota and I inherited a hibiscus. I have the plant indoors close to a west window where it gets indirect light. The plant seems to be very healthy showing quite a bit of new growth. Not knowing much about the plant, I would like to know about when it will bloom and what if anything I can do to help it along.

    Bookmark   March 4, 1999 at 8:04PM
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"Chinese Hibiscus"

The fragile beauty of hibiscus flowers, which bloom year round, belies the ease with which these plants are grown and their remarkable longevity of 25 years or more. The papery blossoms of the Chinese hibiscus grow up to 5 inches across and range from snowy white through cream to yellow, salmon, orange and scarlet. A notable variety, H. rosa-sinensis 'Cooperi', has 2 1/2-inch scarlet flowers and narrow, 2-inch leaves marked with olive green, pink, crimson and white. The fringed hibiscus has pendulous 2 1/2-inch orange-red flowers with lacy-edged petals. Plants can be kept under 3 feet tall by pruning.

HOW TO GROW. Hibiscuses do best in at least four hours of direct sun a day, night temperatures of 60° to 65°, day temperatures of 70° or higher. Keep moist; fertilize monthly. Propagate from stem cuttings of new growth. Watch for aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and scale insects.

From Time Life Garden Encyclopaedia

    Bookmark   May 8, 1999 at 11:53PM
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I understood that these plant were native to marshy areas in the south and I therefore have been keeping mine moist but they are not thriving to say the least. Mine are potted in regular potting soil. Would I be better off with an enriched soil of some type. I have been trying to get these plants to flower for six years!

    Bookmark   July 17, 1999 at 9:03PM
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linda g


    Bookmark   July 18, 1999 at 11:58PM
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Pam Phillips

I have a hibiscus tree; it's bloomed beautifully during winter. It has lost many leaves, but looks okay. It has all these tiny shoots coming out...getting ready for summer I'm sure. How far back can I prune as it very out of shape. Is there a rule on where I prune to? (like on a rose you go to the 5-leaf)?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2000 at 9:14AM
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What ever you do, do not use a fertilizer that has a high phosferous(?) content as one may think to get great blooms. This only causes the plants to grow green and full, but no flowers.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2000 at 6:58AM
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earl(SW Ohio 5-6)

I have a Texas Star perenial hibiscus. The plant is beautiful and has lots of buds, but they turn yellow and drop off before they open.....what is going on? and what can i do to keep the buds healthy?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2000 at 12:49PM
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My hardy hibiscus appears to have hard, black, scale-like item attached on the stems. Could it be mealy bugs? What do I do to kill them.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2000 at 2:10PM
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Beth: I would imagine that hibiscus belongs in the Arizona sun just as much as a Florida hibiscus. You have many suggestions from these postings and I'd say that probably most of them are fixes for your plant.
Re-pot---up one size only. Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer. Possibly mist the leaves before or after watering. Scratch the soil surface to disrupt white flies and if you have them, may I suggest move the plant inside a garage or shed and put a plastic tent over the entire plant. Then mist an insecticide inside the tent and allow to stay for at least 24 hrs. Then move back outdoors. May I suggest that if you don't wish to take the plant out of the container, why not put the container into the garden soil. It would get all the benefits without having to dig up and re-pot when you move. Happy days.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2000 at 10:27PM
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I just bought by first three hibiscus this summer. Something was eating them. We thought they were rabbits but found out it was the squirrels. Since squirrels can get into anything, does anybody have any idea what I can do to keep the squirrels away from the Hibiscus. I've tried spraying with bug killer, to no avail. Just last night I tried a home-made pepper spray. Maybe that will work. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Zone 4-5 northern Illinois

    Bookmark   July 14, 2000 at 10:15AM
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Marianna Hendrycy

I have two hibiscus trees that are in pots. They were purchased as mature plants. They are blooming nicely and have been for 6 months, but in the past 4 days, many of the leaves have begun to yellow. I typically water deeply once a day and feed once a week. At first I thought they needed more water, so I watered twice a day for two days and this seemed to make it worse. The pots are well draining. There is no evidence of incects (I did treat for aphids with Safersoap 10 days ago, but only on one of the pots) The plants get full sull from 10:30 to sundown and in the past few days our temps have been near 100. Any thoughts or suggestions? I would hate to lose these.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2000 at 11:03AM
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Barbara Udy

My two hisbiscus are dropping their leaves after yellowing and turning crisp. I have them indoors at the moment, near our space heater, to keep them warm and out of the frosts. Should I return them to the conservatory where they will get full daylight, but it is much cooler? What can I do to get new foliage?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2000 at 8:39PM
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I took some cuttings 25 years ago and have these potted indoors. They have pretty thick steams by now. Always healthy - no problems what so ever and they flower July-December. I keep them in 30 cm (sorry - don't have the US measuring!) pots with water resevoir in bottom. I water them, after at least one day completely dry, with very weak, common fertilized water.

Once a year (January here in Sweden) I cut them extremely hard - leaving just a few leaves. When starting to grow, about 3 weeks later, I give them new, light soil at the same time as I cut 35% of the roots. This might seem very cruel - but they thrive and grow old.

This type of hibiscus has double, dark red flowers and healthy dark green leaves.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2000 at 3:47PM
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Randy Mizzoni

I have had a basic hibiscus (red) plant in a pot for years (+5). Each winter I bring it indoors. I have very little space for this plant and do the best to find a space with some light. It always makes it through the winter... however I was wondering if there are any special measures I should take to make this great plant a little happier for the six months it spends inside...

The plant is in a 20" pot with fresh soil. Can someone recommend a watering/feeding "program" that I should follow?


    Bookmark   October 9, 2000 at 12:07PM
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leaves on newly purchased 3-4 foot tall hibiscus turning yellow. should i water more than once a day? this plant also is in full sun morning till night. i repotted when prchased in regular potting soil.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2001 at 4:00PM
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I just moved into a house in AZ that has 3 hibiscus in the front yard. One started dropping yellow leaves and then the green ones started to wilt. Now the leaves are crispy and also turning brown I have fertilized and cut off water and then added more water to the watering schedule however it continues to get worse! I am amazed at this because the other two not only turned greener but they are growing out of control and blooming like crazy! Even with summer temps reaching between 100-115 degrees! Please help me save my plant.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2001 at 3:34PM
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zyan(2b Mb,Canada)

Yellow leaves can be a sign of stress with hibiscus. If your other hibiscus are doing nicely I would check for pest infestation. Fertilizers with a low middle number are best for your plant in order to produce blooms. There is a society called International Hibiscus Society with members from all over the globe, perhaps you might check out their chat list to get specific help for your area. If you wish to send me an e-mail privately I can direct you to that web site.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2001 at 4:36AM
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I have 2 hisbiscus plants in 20inch pots, they have bloomed constantly for the past 4 years, but in the last 3 months have not bloomed. Instead, have grown long green shoots! Both plants are very green,no bugs, watered once a week, have partical am sunlight to full pm sunlight and branches are being held up by plant supports. I have 2 concerns: the first is why are they not blooming and do I cut the long green shoots off? Please help....I love my plants!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2001 at 9:55PM
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I have three potted hibiscus, all blooming prolifically. I read somewhere that these plants flower better in pots. When they are in the ground they want to keep developing the root system and putting on more green growth at the expense of flowers. I had one in the ground last year and this seemed to be the case. It grew taller and taller but the blooms were few. I fertilize my potted hibiscus monthly with hibiscus food, water freely, and they get plenty of sun.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2001 at 9:04PM
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My mother in law gave me a hibiscus tree three years ago. It did well until this spring. The leaves are quickly drying and falling off. The same thing is happening to my rubber tree where one of the three stalks have died. I noticed that there is a small gnat like bug (black) that flies and runs all over the place. How do I kill these little suckers and is there any hope for my poor tree?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2001 at 6:27PM
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Fred N. Varlese

I live in New Jersey USA. I have a Hibiscus plant that does very well. It is planted in the ground. This is the first timf I planted a hibiscus plant. A friend of mine told that for the winter I need to cut th plant off even with the ground. Is this true if not what do I do for the winter.THANKS

    Bookmark   September 21, 2001 at 6:43PM
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PlantLady_MI(SE MI z5)


I'm not an expert on hibiscus, but you appear to have the outdoor variety and not tropical. In your climate (and mine) the type of hibiscus most of this post is talking about has to be taken in the house for the winter, or it will die (it's tropical). I have several of the outdoor variety, too (not tropical) that you appear to have. It doesn't make much difference (that I've found) if you cut them to the ground in the fall or spring. The canes will all die to the ground anyway, and new growth emerges in the spring. It is one of the last plants to start putting up green, so don't think it's dead. Hope I've helped.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2001 at 9:42AM
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I had beautiful hisbiscus tree last year-was a housewarming gift, but it hasn't come out at all this year, is it not the outdoor variety, and is there anything I can do to get it going? I live in Maryland, and am not sure if they can stand the winter-didn't know until recently there was more than one type.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2002 at 7:17PM
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Something is eating my not-yet-opened buds off of my beautiful pink tropical hibiscus. Some buds go to full bloom - but every morning there are others just laying on the ground - and whatever is doing it is doing it clean as a whistle. HELP!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2002 at 11:58PM
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There is an Hibiscus forum. Those people know their stuff about Hibiscus plants!!!! I've linked to it at the bottom.
Hope this helps 8^).


Here is a link that might be useful: Hibiscus forum

    Bookmark   October 13, 2002 at 1:31PM
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my hibiscus is getting lots of yellow leaves and falling leaves as well. what do i do? i live in victoria b.c. and keep my hibiscus on my porch come end of may. our climate is warm and damp at this time of year. can someone help me solve this problem. i do keep them watered and fertilized when needed. please help i do not want them to die off. i truely love my hibiscus .

    Bookmark   May 24, 2004 at 11:58PM
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buttercupca(z8 CA)

I have a beautiful, healthy looking Hibiscus. It is a Crown of Bohemia. It bloomed earlier in the year and was getting ready to bloom again. The bloom was formed and just at the point of opening up. You could see the yellow color and then the bloom just dropped off. Can you tell me why this might have happened?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 4:36PM
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