Why Hibiscus Leaves Turning Yellow? How To Treat Them?

The hibiscus is a beautiful and popular flower that can be found in many garden landscapes. It has long been admired for its vibrant colors, unique shape, and ability to attract beneficial insects. Unfortunately, sometimes the leaves of this hardy plant begin to turn yellow, leaving homeowners wondering what could have caused it.

The first cause of yellowing leaves may surprise you; too much sun. Though the hibiscus loves full sunlight during certain parts of the day, too much direct sunlight can lead to its foliage becoming pale or even yellowing completely. To avoid this issue, try planting your hibiscus in areas with partial shade or by placing a barrier between the plant and harsh afternoon light.

Another common culprit behind yellowing leaves is overwatering. While all plants need water to survive, giving them too much can damage their root systems which lead to wilting and discolored foliage. As such, it’s important to be mindful when watering your hibiscus as over-saturation could spell disaster for your blooms. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the top two inches of soil feel dry before providing additional moisture.

hibiscus leaves turn yellow

Drought Stress

A stitch in time saves nine” is an age-old adage that aptly applies to hibiscus plants. Hibiscus are especially vulnerable to drought stress due to their shallow roots which have difficulty taking up adequate water reserves. As a result, when environmental conditions become dry or hot, the leaves of this plant turn yellow – an indication that they are not receiving enough water.

In order to prevent further damage and distress, it is vital for gardeners to provide sufficient irrigation on a regular basis. To determine if your hibiscus needs more water, check the soil’s moisture level with your finger – if all signs point towards dehydration, then watering might be necessary to revive the plant.


After having discussed the effects of drought stress on hibiscus plants, it is now time to consider another possible cause for yellowing leaves: dormancy. Dormancy occurs when a plant enters a period of inactivity due to unfavorable environmental conditions, such as cold temperatures or lack of light. During this time, the plant’s growth slows and its metabolism decreases significantly. This can result in yellowing leaves as well as other signs of distress, including wilting and stunted growth.

The most important step in addressing dormancy-related yellowing is ensuring that the plant has adequate amounts of light for photosynthesis. Providing at least six hours of direct sunlight per day will help ensure that the hibiscus receives enough energy from the sun to restore normal metabolic activity and green up its foliage again. Additionally, keeping the soil moist but not overly wet during periods of dormancy will also help support healthy leaf coloration.

It is also essential to remember that some degree of yellow discoloration may signify seasonal changes or simply natural aging processes within the plant itself; if these are found to be true, then there need not be any cause for alarm. With these considerations taken into account, we now turn our attention to how underwatering or overwatering, or poor pot drainage could affect hibiscus health and lead to yellowed leaves.

Underwatering Or Overwatering Or Poor Pot Drainage

In an effort to understand why hibiscus leaves are turning yellow, one should consider if underwatering or overwatering or poor pot drainage could be the cause. As a case study, Mrs. Smith noticed that her prized hibiscus was slowly turning more and more of its leaves yellow until it eventually stopped flowering. After careful examination, she discovered that her soil had been allowed to dry out completely before being watered again. To diagnose this issue further, here is a checklist for gardeners:

  • Check the soil moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.
  • Make sure you water deeply once every week in hot weather and every two weeks during cooler months.
  • Ensure there are holes at the bottom of your pot so excess water can drain away.
  • Consider moving your plant if necessary to ensure better drainage.

These tips will help reduce problems with underwatering and overwatering which often lead to nutrient deficiencies in plants like hibiscus. With these simple steps, gardeners can usually solve their watering issues quickly and easily before they become bigger problems down the road. By understanding how much water each type of plant needs as well as ways to improve drainage, growers can keep their hibiscus healthy and vibrant with beautiful blooms all season long.

Nutrient Deficiency

Having discussed the effects of underwatering and overwatering, as well as poor pot drainage on hibiscus leaves turning yellow, it is also important to consider nutrient deficiency. Nutrient deficiencies can cause a variety of issues for plants, including yellowing leaves. Nitrogen, iron, magnesium, and manganese are all essential micronutrients that may be lacking in your plant’s soil or environment if you find your hibiscus leaves begin to turn yellow.

A lack of nitrogen specifically results in overall chlorosis (yellow leaf color) due to reduced photosynthesis rates; while iron deficiency causes only certain areas of the leaf to become yellowed or white-colored – a condition known as interveinal chlorosis.

On the other hand, inadequate levels of magnesium lead to brown spots appearing along veins whereas low manganese concentrations create pale green patches across all parts of the foliage. It is therefore vital that gardeners pay close attention to their hibiscus’ nutrition needs by regularly supplementing with either organic fertilizer or synthetic forms such as NPK solutions.

Phosphorus Accumulation

Hibiscus plants are known for their vibrant blooms, but when the leaves start turning yellow, it’s time to investigate. Phosphorus is a key element in plant growth and health, so if there’s an accumulation of this nutrient that goes unchecked it can lead to discoloration in hibiscuses.

This could be caused by over-fertilizing or leaving too much foliage on the ground as mulch. It may also be due to poor drainage that prevents phosphorus from being washed away properly.

Treating yellowing hibiscus leaves involves careful management of both fertilizers and water levels. Reducing fertilizer application will lower the amount of phosphorus accumulating around the roots, while proper draining techniques should help keep excess moisture at bay.

Pruning off any dead leaves or stems will prevent them from clogging up drainage areas, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to circulate throughout the soil. If done correctly these steps should bring your beloved hibiscus back to its former glory.

Temperature Shock

Hibiscus is tropical species that prefer warm temperatures. When exposed to cooler temperatures, the leaves can become shocked and begin to yellow or even drop off the plant entirely. Many horticulturalists recommend keeping hibiscus in an environment between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit during its active growth period. If temperature fluctuations occur more frequently than normal, it may be a sign of temperature shock.

To prevent this from occurring, make sure your hibiscus is protected from cold winds and drafts as well as sudden changes in temperature. It is also important to monitor indoor heaters closely when using them near hibiscus plants; they should not be allowed to reach higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, if you have recently moved your plant outdoors for warmer weather, do so gradually over a few days rather than all at once to avoid stressing out the plant by exposing it to drastic changes in climate.

Temperature shock often leads to yellowing foliage but with proper care it can easily be reversed. By monitoring room temperatures and avoiding sudden fluctuations or extreme conditions, you may stop your hibiscus leaves from turning yellow.

Imbalanced Soil Ph

Just like an orchestra needs to be in perfect harmony, the delicate balance of soil pH is crucial for a hibiscus plant’s health. If there is too much or too little acidity, the leaves will start to turn yellow from nutrient deficiencies. Here are three ways you can check if your soil pH levels are out of whack:

  • Testing with a kit
  • Using litmus paper
  • Monitoring color changes on indicator plants

It’s best to keep your hibiscus soil between 5.5 and 6.5 on the pH scale; any lower than that and it could lead to iron deficiency chlorosis, which turns your precious green leaves into a sickly shade of yellow. The simplest way to adjust the pH is by adding lime, but be careful – while one pinch might make all the difference, taking it too far could have disastrous results.

A slight chuckle aside, maintaining an optimal level of soil acidity should always take precedence over any other factor when caring for your beloved hibiscus plant. With just a bit of TLC – tender loving care – combined with some patience, and keeping an eye on those pesky pH levels, you can restore your vibrant foliage back in no time at all. Making sure that your hibiscus isn’t getting blasted with excessive light or heat is also important for its well-being。

Low Light

Hibiscus plants thrive best in bright, indirect light. When exposed to too little sunlight, leaves may become pale and yellowed. If the hibiscus is located indoors or away from direct sunlight, the plant should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day for optimal growth. Artificial lighting can be used as a supplement if natural light isn’t available. Additionally, it may be beneficial to move the pot outdoors when temperatures are warm enough to do so.


Frost can be a major cause of yellowing hibiscus leaves. Every season, an estimated 1.5 million people experience frost in their gardens. Without the proper precautions taken in advance, the cold temperatures and windy conditions caused by frost can damage the foliage on hibiscus plants.

Frost causes water inside the plant cells to freeze and expands which then ruptures cell walls causing extensive damage. Once damaged, these cells are unable to perform photosynthesis which leads to yellowed leaves or even death of foliage if it is prolonged exposure to severe cold weather.

To protect your hibiscus from frost, you should take measures such as moving them indoors during winter months or covering with blankets when necessary. You may also consider using anti-freeze solutions on exposed branches or areas around flowers where they are most vulnerable to cold air.

You can mulch around the base of the plant will insulate roots against both extreme hot and cold temperatures so that they remain healthy year-round despite changing weather patterns. By taking these steps ahead of time, you’ll ensure that your hibiscus stays colorful throughout each season. With careful attention and thoughtful planning, before potential frosts arrive, gardeners can successfully avoid yellowed hibiscus leaves due to frost damage.

Pest Infestation And Disease

Pest infestation and disease can also cause yellowing hibiscus leaves. Insects such as aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies or scale can suck the sap from the plant, resulting in wilted and discolored foliage. To identify pests on your hibiscus plants, inspect both sides of the leaves for small insects and sticky residue that might indicate an infestation. If a pest infestation is detected, use insecticidal soap or neem oil to eliminate it.

Diseases caused by fungi or bacteria may also be responsible for yellowed hibiscus leaves. Common diseases include Alternaria leaf spot, Phyllosticta leaf spot, and powdery mildew. The presence of these diseases often results in dark spots on the leaves with yellow halos around them.

For fungal infections, apply fungicides specifically formulated for ornamentals like copper-based products to affected areas; however chemical treatments are not necessary if you notice only a few spots on several leaves because most infections usually do not affect the entire plant.

It is important to monitor your hibiscus regularly for signs of pest infestations or disease so you can address them quickly before they become unmanageable and cause severe damage to your plants.

Final Thought

The yellowing of hibiscus leaves can have many causes. Drought stress, dormancy, underwatering or overwatering, and poor pot drainage as well as nutrient deficiency, phosphorus accumulation imbalanced soil pH, low light, and frost may all contribute to this phenomenon. Additionally, pest infestations and disease are also possible explanations for why a hibiscus’s leaves might be turning yellow.

When attempting to diagnose the cause of such discoloration in the foliage of one’s plant it is important that one consider each possibility in turn while performing any necessary inspections of their garden plot or container plants. The successful resolution of this issue will depend on the accuracy with which these steps are taken since incorrect interventions could lead to further complications down the line.

It is only through an analytical approach and thorough understanding of basic principles related to horticulture that one can feel secure in their conclusions about what has caused their beloved houseplant’s distressful change in coloration. Indeed, a thoughtful attitude towards the health of one’s flora yields satisfactory results time after time.