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Avatar for ChelleKristine
May 7, 2020 1:40 PM CST
Thread OP
Kansas City
Greetings, Green Thumbs!

The first photo I've included, from Tuesday, shows you my glorious new hibiscus tree, affectionately named Hollyanna; the second photo, from Thursday, shows her again, nearly dead. So, you'd like to know what on earth happened in the interim? On Tuesday night, I inadvertently watered the tree with what was clearly an excessive concentration of Miracle Grow All-Purpose Plant Food. By the following morning, my stunning girl looked like a crime scene.


Can ANYTHING be done to save this plant? I had not yet potted her, and I've not watered her since the mishap occurred; I have no idea what to do.

Just FYI: The hibiscus was a special gift that I received last week from my mom. Believe it or not, I immediately researched how to properly care for her, and I took care to deadhead all of her spent blooms. The plant rewarded my efforts with a massive explosion of the most exquisite blooms, which was the reason I took the photo on Tuesday. I texted it to my mom so she could see how spectacular my girl looked.

If anyone can advise me on how to save this plant, I'd be just INCREDIBLY grateful. On the other hand, if my mistake was truly a fatal one, I'd like to know that, too.

My sincerest gratitude,
(Miss Blackest-Black Thumb)

P.S. It doesn't look like the Hibiscus Forum receives frequent attention, and as time is clearly of the essence, I thought it wise to post here, as well. I hope that I didn't commit a forum faux pas in so doing!

Thumb of 2020-05-07/ChelleKristine/a5183c

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Avatar for Miamiu
May 7, 2020 1:47 PM CST
Name: Eric
North central fl (Zone 9a)
Bee Lover Butterflies
Is that hibiscus getting adequate light also? I'm not familiar with having them as indoor plants. Maybe take it outside so you can soak it more to wash out the fertilizer.
May 7, 2020 2:52 PM CST
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Yes, Michelle, you can save this baby. And don't feel bad. Mistakes happen. How bad was this overdose? You realized you over did it, but gimme more info...
and Did you flush out the excess fertilizer? By flushing it out I mean put it in the shower and let the water run over the plant and through the dirt out the bottom of the pot for 3-5 min. Don't use ice cold water, it should be around room temperature. Hibiscus are very tough, but they hate to be moved and they hate cold.

Mine look like exactly like this the first time they get a cold overnight.. in the low 50s to high 40s. If the OD was atrocious, like 20x and no rinse, that could be it, but another common reason for this to happen, a change this drastic overnight is cold temperature. Do you know where your mother got it, and if it's possible that it was exposed to cold weather? Maybe a night outside at the nursery?

The good news is Hollyanna will recover fine either way. the bad news is all those yellow leaves will die and drop off, so it may look worse for wear for a couple weeks. But Man, if you can get this outside in bright sun and hot weather come June/July she will bounce back like crazy.

In the mean time, Make sure you keep it consistently warm, no big temp swings, with the most light you can give it.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
The plural of bozos is Dasilyl - so please don't engage with my website troll who typically caches my first post and responds ugly just to be nasty. If it gets upity, please ignore it.
Last edited by Turbosaurus May 7, 2020 2:53 PM Icon for preview
May 8, 2020 9:00 AM CST
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
One more thing... regarding fertilizer..
Never ever fertilize anything that isn't in ideal conditions at the height of its growing season, especially in a pot. It's not needed, they can't use it, you open yourself up to making mistakes, and you'll eventually build up salts that are bad for your plant.

Hibiscus are heavy feeders, so a half- strength dose (never full strength for potted plants) of all purpose liquid fertilizer every couple weeks After it comes back, and you have it outside in full sun and it's over 80 degrees and it's blooming regularly, only then should you start fertilizing. Stop fertilizing in mid August. the plant will slow down as soon as nights start getting cool. Bring it in before nights get into the mid 50s, otherwise it will look like this again.

Last thing, a healthy potted hibiscus outside in the summer will need to be watered regularly.. ONLY when it's dry, but they dry fast, so keep that in mind when you find an outside space for it.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
The plural of bozos is Dasilyl - so please don't engage with my website troll who typically caches my first post and responds ugly just to be nasty. If it gets upity, please ignore it.
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