The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus Problem

Question: The leaves on my hibiscus are turning mottled yellow then dry out, turn brown, and fall off. The flowers, however, are beautiful. I was told to feed it with Miracid made by Miracle Grow. Will this help? Or should I be using Ironite?

Answer: The mottled appearance indicates that the plant is absorbing the chlorophyl before shedding the leaf. It's a perfectly normal process and nothing to worry about. Hibiscus tends to drop its oldest leaves while at the same time producing healthy new leaves. Sometimes hibiscus can get leggy (bare stems at the bottom of the plant). If this happens with yours, you can safely prune it back by one-third. This will promote healthy new stem growth, which will develop new leaves and flowers. Feeding with an acidified fertilizer such as Miracid is just fine. If your soil is terribly alkaline, iron will help. If all the leaves are mottled, not just the oldest leaves, then an application of ironite is in order and will help rectify the situation. Apply either miracid or ironite though, not both, or your hibiscus might be overwhelmed.

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