The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves

Question: I have a Tropical Hibiscus plant that I purchased this past August from a local nursery. I brought it indoors for the winter in the beginning of October. Approximately at the beginning of November to mid-November the leaves started turning yellow and falling. Although it also has alot of green leaves too. However where the nursery had pruned it, there is new growth. Could it just be that it needs re-potted?? It has alot of very fine roots at the surface. If necessary I can forward you pictures of the plant. Thanks in advance for your help.
Sharon Gainer

Answer: These plants may have yellowing, dropping foliage for a variety of reasons. To some extent, losing some of the older leaves at this time of year is normal. Sometimes the shock of moving indoors causes it, cold or warm drafts can cause it, overwatering can cause it, overly dry indoor air can contribute to it, and so can a pest or disease problem. It is a good sign that there is new growth. If it was exposed to temperatures below about 50 degrees prior to moving indoors, that can cause foliage to drop. Make sure that it is in bright light, and that the soil is kept slightly damp but never sopping wet. Increase humidity near the plant, if possible. Check for spider mites which cause yellowing and also produce fine webbing along the underside of the foliage. If you find these, treat with insecticidal soap per the label instructions. If it continues to worsen, you might check with your local county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff to try to obtain a more specific diagnosis. Repotting would increase stress, so this is not a good time to do that. Good luck with your hibiscus!

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