Hibiscus Leaves Cupped?

Last year was the first time I tried hardy hibiscus. I got roots from a mail order catalog and planted them in late spring with plenty of sun. We have very sandy soil so I water often, every 2 days, saturating the soil. The leaves on all 3 plants are cupped to such an extreme that the new leaves look like miniature lobster claws. The older leaves look like little boats. They haven't lost any leaves, they are still growing and there is no yellowing.


The biggest plant hasn't bloomed at all. The second biggest plant had 2 blooms, the smallest had 3 buds; 2 small buds that dried up and fell off. The 3rd bud did bloom. Both flowers had beautiful color (white with a burgundy center), but they didn't open up the way they should. They weren't as big as the ones I've seen on plants not 4 hours from here. There were spaces between the petals. The petals were sort of long and slender.

I also have Black-Eyed Susan at the end of this same bed with some leaves misshapen and having bronze like spots on tops and under sides of leaves, as well as a fringe of bronze around the edges. These flowers are small, but otherwise look normal. They aren't a year old yet, so maybe small blooms are normal?

Has my bed got some sort of disease? Or are they starving for nutrients? I've fed them liquid iron 2X in the last month, added organic granules to the soil when they first came up in spring and drenched them with a 20-20-20 soluble food 1 or 2 times in the last 2 weeks, thinking it might help. I don't want to give them too much food for fear of causing more problems. These are the only plants effected in that bed, the sedum and Red-Hot Pokers are fine. Anyone?


By LorindaWalshCO from Walsh, CO

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July 28, 20120 found this helpful

Never mind. Day after day I have searched the web for an answer, and asked everyone I talked to if they might know what is wrong with my poor pathetic flowers. No answers could I find. Then last night I figured it out! And all by my desperate self. Both the hibiscus and the Black-Eyed Susans have powdery mildew. It appears that the disfigured leaves and spots are the prelude to the white stuff; which has now made its grand entrance.

It's really sad because, I was so excited and so proud of myself for figuring out the problem on my own, because ten minutes later both of my Black-Eyed Susans (blooms and all!) were sheared to ground! The Hibisbus will suffer the same here in a few hours. Then the treatment & recovery begin.

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August 1, 20120 found this helpful

I didn't get to read your article before you sheared your babies down, but both will return. The powdery mildew I keep at bay by making sure my hibiscus is in a lot of sun and in the rainy season, I use dawn dish soap and bleach (doesn't take a lot) in a quart sprayer about a tsp.


of each). Do it in the evening after it gets cooler and let them grow. You still probably need to fertilize the hibiscus & black eyed Susans. Remember it is a wet land type plant. Just water well in dry times and fertilize. Keep growing.

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