The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus Leaves that Yellow

Question: I have a 12 year old hibiscus. The leave are turning yellow and falling. Two weeks ago I found lots of white spots under the leaves and washed them with soap. The spots were not seen again. Now plant looks sickly and pale. The leaves have lost their dark green look. I hope you can help. Judy Flores Minneapolis, MN

Answer: I'm not sure from your description what those white spots were. Were they tiny insects? Did they fly away when you touched the plant? It does sound as though you had some kind of insect infestation. These insects may have weakened the plant so that it now looks pale and sickly. First of all, keep a close eye on the plant to see if the "white spot" problem reappears. Since you have had the plant for 12 years, I assume you have been fertilizing it regularly. If you have not fertilized for a long time, you might want to do so with a dilute fertilizer solution. If you have been fertilizing regularly, you may have a build-up of salts in your soil. If this is the case, you can try flushing the plant with lots of water, letting it run right through the soil and draining out. This will help wash away the built-up salts.

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