What is Causing Leaf Cupping w/ Bumps, Jagged Edges, (Pics)

MimiGoldAugust 7, 2012

A few days ago I noticed that on one of my potted tropical Hibiscus plants that new leaves were curling/cupping and they had what looked like blisters or bumps on the leaves. I also noticed a bud was partially brown/mushy and the stem of it was yellow. Another bud was yellow before blooming. I opened both and didn't see any pests. This morning I saw a tiny white bug on one of the leaves. (Pic included in subsequent post below.)

In the 1st picture, you can see the leaf cupping on the newer leaves, as well as, raised bumps or what looks like blisters, and the jagged edges on leaf edges. (More pictures posted in subsequent post below.)

Any idea what may be the cause?

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Here is a closer picture of the leaves & the tiny white bug....

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:27AM
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Issue with another Tropical Hibiscus:

This tropical Hibiscus (Cajun Spice) is planted in the ground. The first bud it had about a month ago turned yellow and fell of before blooming. The leaves are kind of mottled and have not had any blooms since. Could it be Chlorosis?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Also with my Cajun Spice, some leaves are fading to yellow and have some brown spots along the tips. What could be causing this?

Any advice is appreciated. :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:35AM
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Mimi....I have two plants that are doing the same thing. Any responses???

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Your first tropical in pot that you started post with
is bug infested. You are right.
A little dishwashing soap in a spray water bottle will do the trick for bugs. Then if you still see them, do it about 5 days later again.

The other ones in the ground, what are you using to fertilize them with?
A little half strength Miracle Grow, or Osmocote Granular fertilizer will take care of anything your plant is not getting.
Hibiscus in the ground prefer soil on the acidic side.
If your soil is at all sandy, you are fine.
The bugs are really taking a toll on my plants right now, it is as if they know the fall is coming and they are attacking everything they can.
I bought a "safe" pesticide from Home Depo and I'm spraying whatever i see bugs on, but you can only do so much.
Are you bringing your tropical in for the winter?
I am, and it is so big, and my house is soo small, oh well...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:15PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Mimi - It looks like you have some insect problems & maybe some nutritional issues that not all fertilizers can fix. E.g., misshapen leaves are often resultant of Ca deficiencies (or other nutrients that are immobile in the plant, or nearly so). Miracle Grow solubles and most of the Osmocote products you're likely to encounter in the average plant store don't contain Ca, so wouldn't be helpful in fixing that particular issue. Plus, many Ca deficiencies are linked to cultural issues, rather than an actual deficiency of Ca, as in the nutrient being present in the soil in sufficient quantity but unavailable due to an unfavorable cultural condition, like a water-logged soil, e.g.

The best way to ensure healthy plants and lots of blooms is to learn what the plant wants. It wants to be repotted (not just potted up) yearly. It wants a fast-draining soil that you can water copiously to flush accumulating salts from the soil, AT WILL, w/o the concern that the soil will remain soggy so long it compromises root function or causes root rot; full sun; and a nutritional supplementation program that ensures the plant is getting all the essential elements normally taken from the soil. Hibs are a little unusual in that they want at least as much K as N and a fertilizer with a low P content, so Miracle-Gro 20-20-20 is a poor choice because it has WAY too much P in relation to N. All bloom-booster type fertilizers are especially inappropriate. 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers like MG 24-8-16 and 12-4-8, and especially Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 because it has all the essential nutrients (including Ca & Mg which are lacking in the MG) are getting close to ideal, but for best results need to have a little extra K added in the form of potash or even better, a little Pro-TeKt 0-0-3.

There's probably not much you can do now, other than try to get the bug issue resolved and maybe get the plants back on track nutritionally, and we can talk about those things. What you might want to be thinking about is getting a plan in place that allows you to start fresh next season with a strategy that allows you to give your plants at least the opportunity to grow much closer to their genetic potential by eliminating some of the limitations that presently hold them back.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Just a little update:

Upon closer examination of my potted Hibiscus pictured in above photos 1 & 2, I noticed a few webs in and around the tips of new leaves and buds...including the base of buds which were in bloom. I also noticed white flies flew away when I shook a branch.

I treated my Hibiscus plants with a Safer brand product a few times since I posted the above photos. I also potted up my 2 Cajun Spice Hibiscus instead of leaving them in the ground. I potted them not because of soil issues, but so I could bring them closer to the porch where I can keep a closer eye on them. The Safer brand product worked, albeit briefly. So I switched to spraying for pests with an All Seasons Horticulture Oil, which I had to spray every few weeks & made sure to get the underside of each leaf, the stem, buds, and even the soil. I also fertilized them with old bananas, Epsom salt, & water which I blended in the blender. I also fertilized them with Potassium Nitrate & Epsom Salt once in mid-September.

Happy to say my Cajun Spice flowered & the leaves look so much better, as does my Seminole Pink Hibiscus which was the one with the bumpy leaves. (Pictured Below)

butterfly4u, I did bring in my Hibiscus plants for the winter, but had to prune my Seminole Pink one because it was too big, as you can see by the picture. My Cajun Spice ones weren't branching all over the place, so I didn't prune them.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 8:50AM
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The Cajun Spice Hibiscus took awhile to come around, but when it did, I was so excited. Here is its first flower! (Must have been all those bananas LOL)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 8:54AM
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