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My hibiscus has bugs. The leaves are turning yellow and falling off leaving only the stem. I sprayed it with soap and oil, but it is getting worse. I have fertilized with a systemic. What do I do now?
First off, how many times have you sprayed you plant? In cases like this where your plant is infested with bugs it needs more than one spraying. You will need to repeat the spraying every other day for a week. Spray in the evening or late afternoon.
Second, use your garden hose to wash the plant. Clean all the branches, stems and leaves. Give your plant a good washing.
Third, prune the areas that are heavily infected with the bugs. Get rid of the branches in this area. The plant will grow back. You might have to cut down a good portion of the plant to control the bugs and save your hibiscus.
If this doesn't help try and catch one of these bugs and put it in a plastic bag. Take it to your garden shop and ask the person what spray they recommend for your hibiscus. I don't like using harsh sprays on my plants because of my animals. I find that a good bath with Dawn dish soap and a little oil, mixed with water cures all the bugs in my garden. You just need to spray more often and it can take 1 to 2 weeks to kill all the bugs and their eggs. That is why it is important to wash your plant. Use your hand to run down the branches and remove as much of the residue as possible.
Hardiness Zone: 8b
Karen from Mobile, AL
Hibiscus should be watered (and fertilized) often during the spring and summer growing season, even more so when they are grown in containers. The tricky part of watering them in containers is avoiding root rot. These plants are native to tropical, swampy areas, so keeping the soil evenly moist at all times is ideal. That said, you don't want the roots to stand with wet feet, so letting the surface soil dry out a bit between watering is typically okay. Any excess water remaining in the planter 30 minutes after watering should be dumped.
Other than keeping the soil consistently moist (not wet), the other thing I would recommend is checking for insect infestations-especially on the tips of shoots, on the buds, and on the undersides of the leaves. Hibiscus can be susceptible to aphids and spider mites. If you don't see any signs of pests, give your plant some time. It sounds like you're doing everything just right.
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TUEY From FORT COLLINS, CO
There are a lot of reasons hibiscus leaves turn yellow. Yellow leaves are a signal that the plant is stressed, but the fact that you have beautiful blooms is a good sign. You didn't say whether or not your plant was growing in the garden or indoors. Have any major changes taken place in the plant's environmental conditions recently? Leaves can turn yellow from too much water, not enough water, a lack of light (doubtful if you have flowers), insect damage (specifically mites and thrips), sudden changes in temperature (extended periods of heat or cold drafts from air conditioners), or from having to adjust to a new location (did you move it recently?). Hibiscuses are rather high maintenance plants that don't adapt quickly to changes in their environment. If insects are the problem, treat as necessary. If they are not the problem and none of these other suggestions seem to fit, check the plant for root damage. Otherwise try to maintain stable conditions for the plant and the problem will probably clear up on its own. Avoid continuously changing its food and water regime and keep its light and location consistent.
They make fertilizer for flowering bushes with iron in it. You can also dump your used coffee grounds underneath. Epsom salts (2 tablespoons every month or so). Don't water until the ground is dry for an inch under the surface. (06/27/2006)
By Marie Krause
Mine does that every once in awhile too but it doesn't mean anything. I just pull them off. The plant is healthy and blooming. I just leave it alone but fertilize it every 2 weeks. (06/27/2006)