The Q&A Archives: Deformed Hibiscus Leaves & Flowers

Question: I have had a hardy hibiscus plant for over 5 years and it has bloomed beautifully every year until summer 2000. The plant ususally grows 5-6 feet tall with large dinner size plate flowers. However, this year the plant only grew 3-4 feet tall; the leaves seemed to be very brittle and curled up. The plant did flower, except the flowers are only 5 to 6-inches across and the petals are very deformed, almost spidery-like in its shape.

Any suggestions on what may be wrong?

Answer: Your plant may be stunted because of winter or spring weather extremes, too little water, too much fertilizer, or insect attacks. If the color is good we can rule out a virus, but not a fungal or bacterial infection. It's really difficult to diagnose the problem without seeing it. You might want to take a sample of your hibiscus to the Cooperative Extension office in Kingston. Phone (401) 874-4272. The staff there can diagnose the problem and offer treatment recommendations.

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