The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves on Hibiscus

Question: I bought a itsy-bitsy kona princess hibiscus on Saturday. It is a 'tree' type...very large. It was lush and green. On Sunday a dozen leaves were yellow. Each day since there have been a dozen more leaves turn yellow. Soon there will be no green leaves left and we just got it 5 days ago! this because it is too dry, (I've watered it about 16 oz every day), too dry, not enough light, or possibly from bumping it when moved? We have it inside in front of a 8'x10' window, so should be lots of light. I loved the plant, and just don't know what's going on with it. Thank you.

Answer: The tropical hibiscus need full sun to stay healthy and grow well, so it may be at least in part due to lack of light. Ideally it would be in a room with south and west facing windows to maximize the sunlight. It will probably go through an adjustment period while it adapts to being indoors in relatively less light. This would typically include losing some foliage from the inner parts of the plant where it is shadier. Watering is done as needed to keep the soil slightly moist, you need to check it with your finger to see if you need to water or not. Make sure it soaks into the soil and is not running out between the soil and side of the container. Also empty the drainage saucer of any excess, do not leave the pot sitting in water. Overwatering can cause yellowing, usually beginning at the base amd moving upward. This plant should be protected from drafts (both warm and cold) and also likes high humidity. Check it carefully for signs of insects such as whiteflies, aphids, scale and spider mites. If it continues to defoliate at an alarming rate you might also want to consult with your retailer.

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