Hibiscus

Asked September 5, 2020, 10:33 AM EDT

I want to know why my Hibicus is getting yellow leaves all of a sudden. It is inside in front of a sunny window. All I did was move it to the front window where it got afternoon sun for a week while my grandson was visiting. Now I put it back in the dining room near the window where it gets morning sun.

Baltimore County Maryland

3 Responses

Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) are often grown only as patio plants (i.e., outside for the summer and not kept as houseplants) because it is challenging to give them enough light and humidity indoors for them to thrive. The sunniest window you can use is the best option, so it sounds as if the window you had temporarily moved the plant to (with afternoon sun) is more suitable than the window with only morning sun. Ideally, the plant should receive a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sun a day. Leaf shed can result from the changing of light levels as the plant re-adjusts to being moved twice, or it could be coincidental timing and the shedding is a response to the shortening natural daylength. Although evergreen, Tropical Hibiscus will lose surplus leaves indoors if they aren't receiving enough light.

Check the leaf undersides for any signs of pests. Whitefly and mites can be particularly troublesome on Hibiscus when overwintering indoors. (Whitefly is aptly named, looking like tiny white flies as adults and flat yellowish ovals glued to the leaf when young; mites are even tinier but will create webbing around leaf stems and between wrinkles in the leaf.) An infestation could tax the plant enough that it yellows and sheds some foliage.
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/whitefly-flowers
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/spider-mites-houseplants

Additionally, make sure the soil is drying in the top inch or so (depending on pot size) of the surface before the pot is watered well. This species of Hibiscus does not prosper when kept constantly damp. If the pot sits on a saucer, make sure that it's emptied as soon as it has collected any drained water so it doesn't over-saturate the root ball.

Miri

Thank you for this information. I think it may have been mites. Also, I think moving the plant may have been a problem. I wanted to know if there is something I can clean the leaves with?
thanks
Sharyn D

If you want to clean dust off the leaves, just use a damp sponge or cloth.

Ellen