Too much or too little light can lead to yellow leaves on hibiscus
An overabundance of sunlight can be the reason for yellow leaves on a hibiscus plant. Too much sun can cause the leaves to turn yellow and to develop white spots. If this occurs, remove the damaged leaves and move your hibiscus to an area with less sun exposure. If it isn’t in a pot and must be transplanted to be relocated, you’ll find helpful information about how to transplant your hibiscus here.
Yellow hibiscus leaves can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies
Yellow hibiscus leaves that remain on the plant rather than falling off could show a lack of necessary nutrients. Applying fertilizer or amending the soil will resolve this problem, but take care not to over-fertilize as you may do more harm than good.
Improper watering or poor drainage can turn hibiscus leaves yellow
Hibiscus leaves turning yellow may indicate a pest problem
Hibiscus leaves turning yellow may be indicative of a problem with spider mites or other pests, especially if you also see unnatural markings on the underside of the yellow leaves. Apply a pesticide or spray on some soapy water to rid the plant of its attackers, but be careful not to use too much pesticide as this can lead to even more leaf yellowing.
Temperature issues can also result in yellow leaves on hibiscus
Too much heat or cold can cause yellow leaves on hibiscus. If it’s too hot, your plant could suffer from heat stress. You’ll need to increase watering to prevent this. When temperatures start to cool, make sure your hibiscus is not located in a drafty or windy area. Bring your hibiscus indoors if a freeze is expected.
Hibiscus leaves can turn yellow if the plant is rootbound
When grown in a pot, a hibiscus plant’s roots can eventually become so tightly packed that they start to cut each other off, reducing the circulation of water and potentially killing sections of the roots. The visible impact on the foliage is the same as a plant that is too dry, because, well, it is too dry since the roots are no longer able to provide sufficient amounts of water to support the plant.
To determine if yellowing leaves are a result of your plant becoming rootbound, you will need to remove your hibiscus from the pot to inspect the roots. If it’s rootbound, you’ll want to repot it into a pot 1-2″ larger in diameter.
Yellow hibiscus leaves can be a sign that the plant is becoming dormant
Yellow hibiscus leaves may simply be a sign that your plant is going into a dormant state for the winter. This occurs with both hardy and tropical hibiscus varieties. Generally, you’ll need to reduce watering to help the plant achieve dormancy.
Hibiscus plants are popular ornamentals and can add a bit of the tropics to your home or landscape. They aren’t difficult to grow or care for, but you’ll be more successful if you can recognize when your hibiscus is in distress. To learn more about this beautiful flowering plant and how to grow hibiscus in pots, check out our article.