The Q&A Archives: Health of hibiscus

Question: Two questions actually. My hibiscus plant leaves are yellow and green, when they were originally green only when I planted them. Also they are no longer flowering. Second, my husband planted 4 sets (with at least 2 trees each) of Norfolk Pines about 3 1/2 feet from the house and now feels he must dig them up because he read something about recommending you plant them 10 feet from the house...maybe some warning about the roots.(I really don't know!) They have been planted for 7 months and really are doing well,even though we are in zone 14. Can you tell me if we really need to move them away from the house? Thanks for any advice you can give! Sincerely, Linda Root (not kidding on the name!)

Answer: In its native habit, Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) can reach 180-200 feet tall. Under cultivation, they rarely grow more than 6' high and 4' wide. Even at that, they may be planted too close to your house. These trees are rather slow growing so it will take a while for them to grow too close to the house; you can move them now while they're young, or you can plan on pruning them as they get older.

When hibiscus leaves turn yellow it generally indicates a nutritional deficiency (try fertilizing). It can also be a natural shedding of older leaves if the yellowing leaves are located in the center of the plant near the trunk. This is especially true if the plant continues to put out healthy new growth. Yellowing leaves might also indicate over or under watering. I'd fertilize the plant and make sure it's getting adequate water. Best wishes with your garden!

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