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by Matt
(San Antonio, Texas, USA)

thumb hibiscus
thumb hibiscus
thumb hibiscus

I live in San Antonio, Texas. I have a potted hibiscus. It is normally out on my patio.

As we entered Fall, there were less and less blooms, and then none at all. As we’ve had cooler and cooler temperatures at night, I’ve been bringing it inside. If the temperature is less than 50° at night or during the day, it remains indoors.

I water it every couple of days or so to avoid over watering it.

For the last couple of months I’ve been fighting the yellowing, sometimes browning of leaves. Then, they fall off. At times, it appears as though something is eating it because I see holes in some of the leaves. However, I can’t find any critters.

I’ve sprayed it with insecticidal soap.

All the while, it continues to show new growth. The pot it’s in is 10 inches at its base and 20 inches at the rim. However, it appears that it might be too small, as I see roots poking through the dirt. HELP!!! I don’t want to lose this plant entirely.

Comments for Hibiscus 911

Jan 22, 2021
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

All you describe is normal for a plant that originated in a warmer climate and has to adjust to living indoors for the winter. There just isn’t enough light for it to maintain all those leaves so the older ones have to go. The yellowing is how it absorbs all the goodness in the leaf before ejecting it.

The holes, that could be something else. Quite often, while they’re outside,something nibbles on them then goes on it’s way. The leaf you show is yellow, so it’s already dying, just cut it off (or pull it, if it’s loose). Discard all the dead leaves – don’t leave them on the surface of the soil as they could carry pathogens which will reinfect the plant.

In the spring, I would give this plant a good haircut, before once again giving it a holiday outdoors.

Grow lights are always a good bet, but the size of this plant could make the cost prohibitive. Just keep it in the brightest window you have – they need lots of light – even sun, although I normally don’t recommend the sun coming through a window. In this case, the more the better.

Don’t overwater, don’t fertilize. Repot in spring, at the same time as the haircut.