The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus patio tree

Question: The leaves are curling and some are yellow. The bright orange flower has lost much of its color and japanese beetles have attacked it.
- Am I watering too much or too little? (every couple of days)
- How do I get rid of the beetles without hurting the humming birds?

Answer: The flowers will naturally fade over time, then dry up and fall off. You can trim them off once they are faded to make the plant look tidier. You should fertilize your plant regularly during the growing months with a slow release fertilizer such as 10-10-10 and/or a water soluble fertilizer formulated for house plants. Read and follow the label directions. This will help keep the plant actively growing and blooming.

The beetles can sometimes be deterred by spraying with a product that contains neem, read and carefully follow the label instructions.

There are several possible reasons for the foliage to be curling and yellowing.
One is over or underwatering. The soil should be slightly moist like a wrung out sponge, never dry and never sopping wet. To tell if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly making sure the water soaks into the soil mix. If the container is sitting in a saucer, empty it after the excess water has drained out of the pot.

Foliage discoloration can also be due to a change in growing conditions, for example a new plant may lose some lower or inner leaves due to being moved to a lower light situation. Make sure the plant is in full sun all day for best results, or at least a full half a day including noon time.

Finally, there may be a pest or disease problem. These are difficult to diagnose long distance so you might want to consult with your county extension or your local retailer to see if they think one of these might be causing the problem. I hope this helps you trouble shoot.

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