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HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

Posted by andreammd BC - Canada (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 29, 08 at 17:02

I bought a hibiscus tree last summer from a local nursery. Did really well over summer - lots and lots of blooms, etc - and I brought it indoors in the fall. It's in a bright room, and it seemed to do fine for a long time.

But over the last month or so, it's lost all its leaves (the few that remain are dry & crunchy) and it looks horrible! I don't know what to do with it, and I really hope I can save it - it's my favourite plant!

Any advice/suggestions owould be really really appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

Hi Andre..Did leaves yellow before turning brown/dying? The first thing I'd do is check for insects..most common hibiscus pests are spider mites, mealy, and scale..Do leaves feel sticky? Any webbing? White or brown bumps that can be scraped off?

How about soil? Is your hib in a container with drainage holes? Did you allow soil to dry between waterings this winter? Overwatering, especially during winter months will cause rot.

How about fertilizer? Did you use any during short, dark days? Too much, and a plant can suffer fertilizer burn which turns leaves brown and crunchy..

There are a number of possibilities why our plant do what they do..
In the meantime, check for pests..Scrap a little bark off branch..if the inside is green, your hibiscus is alive, needs some time do develop leaf growth..if brown and brittle, your tree is on its way out..Scrape bark, (tiny sections) in different areas..
Good luck, Toni

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

Thanks, Toni. It's not sticky and no pests that I can see. Maybe I overwatered? I used fertilizer a couple times - perhaps that's the culprit?

Will check bark with my fingers crossed.

If the inside is green, should I be cutting back the limbs at all? Or leave it as is?

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible! Checked branches....

Okay - checked branches/trunk. Trunk (further down) is green. Higher up and some branches are brown. Ack! What to do?

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

Cut it back to the green wood and then make sure it dries some btween waterings. With little to no leaves there will not be much need for watering until new growth starts and the new leaves start to transpire then more water will be needed.
Hope this helps and that your baby makes it til the warm time for you
Happy Planting David

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

David -

Before I hack away at my hibiscus (the very thought frightens me!) I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. The trunk is green. The branches/limbs are not. Do I cut off to the trunk? And, will it grow/bloom this year?

I'm in Vancouver, BC, so we have a bit of time until it's really warm here.

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

I bought my first two hibiscus trees last summer, and they did beautifully on our deck. I brought them inside when it started to get cold and kept them in the basement next to the sliding glass doors so they'd get some sunlight. I watered them very occasionally, but over the winter, they both lost all of their leaves (some turned yellow first) and ended up looking like a bunch of sticks. I did nothing in terms of pruning and really thought they were finished. Well, lo and behold, about a month ago, one and then the other started growing new leaves - the smaller one is now beautiful and blooming; the other is coming along more slowly but more new leaves and future blooms are sprouting every day. Recently I started to bring them outside during the day and inside again at night, and I started watering them regularly and feeding them once a week with Miracle Gro. Now it's warmed up enough to leave them outside all the time, and they seem to be doing great. Maybe before you prune, you should try taking them outside when it's warm enough during the daytime - sunlight and warmer temps seem to have done wonders for mine. Good luck!

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

Thanks for the note about your trees - makes me think there might be hope! I think I'll try that (hoping for sunshine and warmth) instead of chopping quite yet. I'm in Vancouver, Canada, so it's still too cold, but once it's warm out, I'll gladly sit them outside.

I wonder if hibiscus trees go dormant?

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

  • Posted by
    Susie Dunlap
    ( on
    Sat, Jan 29, 11 at 16:13

I'm having the exact same problem with my hibiscus tree this winter. I bought it last spring, it was beautiful all summer long with plenty of huge blooms. I brought it in for the winter, set it near a large window and water it only when it is dry. All of the leaves have fallen off. What did you do with your tree and did it come back? I'm thinking I might follow the last posting and just set it outside when it warms up. Just wondering if yours came back. Thanks.

RE: HELP! Hibiscus Tree looks horrible!

My hibiscus was eaten by a nasty squirrel before we brought it in for Fall. I have moved it to this window while we paint the great room. It has been flowering on the top for months now but I wonder if its green leaves will grow back for the summer. anyone know? Do I need to prune it?

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