Hibiscus - Knowledgebase Question

Amityville, Ne
Question by maya4jor
February 17, 2010
I brought several of my hibiscus plants indoors for the winter and within the last couple of months I have noticed that the leaves are turning yellow and dropping off rapidly. I also noticed some small white looking stuff on the leaves. I have sprayed the plants with a mixture of dish detergent and it helped some, but the leaves are not healthly green looking anymore. What can I do?

Answer from NGA
February 17, 2010


The yellowing is fairly typical of a hibiscus when it is moved indoors. It may lose more leaves, but don't despair. Keep it in a bright location and barely moist and be patient. Ideally, to bring in a tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus sinensis) growing as a potted plant, you first need to check it all over for pests and then gradually begin acclimating it to the lower light levels it will have indoors. Move it gradually to a shadier location. It should be ready to come in for the winter before temperatures drop below about 50F. Then move it indoors to the sunniest spot you have. Keep it out of drafts and keep the humidity around it high if possible. Expect some yellowing of leaves in protest of the move. Reduce watering and fertilizing as the plant's growth slows. In spring, reverse the process to reacclimate it to the outdoors. I'm not sure what the white looking stuff is. Could be powdery mildew if it is just a coating on the surface of the leaves, or it could be mealy bugs. I think I'd prune the plant back to remove the white stuff and to promote healthy new growth. It won't be long and you can take it back outdoors. Good luck with your plant!

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