Sickly tropical hibiscus

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by kathym, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. kathym

    kathym Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Hi,
    End of June I bought 2 beautiful tropical hibiscus(chiffon breeze) from Home Depot. They are placed in an extremely bright sunlit foyer until our sunroom is completed(any day now). They were beautiful for about a month then leaves began to discolor, curl and drop off. I know that the plant needs to be kept moist but must not be overwatered. When they started to fail, I tried placing them outside in the bright sun. Spoke to staff at a gardening center and they suggested I might have pest problems and that the plant could use repotting into a larger pot. I bought nice new soil, repotted just one size higher, gave it a watering with Miracle Gro and waited. I was told to be absolutely sure they had bugs before I sprayed. Since I didn't see any, I waited on that. They seemed to perk up, then started failing again. I did see a tiny bug hanging from a web like string so I brought them outside and fully coated them with immunox, a plant and bug disease spray. They weren't improving so a week later I sprayed again making sure to cover the branches , stems, soil and undersides of the leaves. Still no change.
    One thing I find odd is that they just don't seem to drink the water. I know not to overwater so I water well when the pots seem a little lighter, about once ever 7-10 days and I make sure they drain and are not sitting in water. I am concerned that once watered, it seems to take forever for the soil to dry out. Almost like they are just dying and not drinking. Yet, there is a lot of budding, new growth on the stems. I have many gardens and do very well with all my plants. I am thoroughly confused by these and don't want to lose them as they will make a beautiful addition to our new sunroom.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,622
    Likes Received:
    510
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    The main difficulty is you have not positively identified what the problem is. Try to get somebody at an independent garden center or USDA Cooperative Extension Service branch office inspect them and give advice. Do not hit the plants with anymore cures until you know what you are dealing with. If your hibiscus are loaded with mites, for instance an experienced person should be able to pick up on this and suggest effective remedial action.
     
  3. kathym

    kathym Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Unfortunately I bought them at Home Depot and I do not find the staff there very knowledgable but I will give them a try. Thanks.
     
  4. Canadian Honey Pot Collector

    Canadian Honey Pot Collector Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peterborough Ontario Canada
    Hi Kathy,

    First of all I would like to say that I am not an expert on hibiscus plants.
    I do have two of my own that I also bought at home depot( Actually bought 1 from them, the other I salvaged from someones garbage)
    I water mine everyday, they are potted, and drain. The water basically runs out of the pots they are in. Then I water again.
    Mine are full of blooms, lots of foliage on them.
    All the reading I have done says that they need lots of water, but must drain also, so they are not sitting in water.
    My problem is that I can't get mine to create seeds.
    I pollinate them with a brush, the seed pods start developping then fall off after about 3 weeks with under developped seeds in them.
    I wish I could get somemore seeds to start new plants.

    Al
    Ontario Canada
     
  5. kathym

    kathym Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Wow- I wish I could get mine to drink! I bought garden soil from a nursery, repotted and watered. I let them fully drain. It has been about a week and the pots are still heavy with water. We just finished our sunroom and now they will have a lot more light but I really think my problem is something other than just needing light. Thanks for your comments. Kathy
     
  6. Canadian Honey Pot Collector

    Canadian Honey Pot Collector Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peterborough Ontario Canada
    Mine are actually still in the plastic pots they were likely started in ,(Like yours would have been when you purchased it at home depot) the water just runs through.
    If you check out my forums (if you can do that here) I have some pics of mine.
     
  7. kathym

    kathym Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Thanks for the reply. My plants are actually perking up now that I have put them in the sunroom. Still not absorbing much water and the pots have plenty of drain holes. Is it possible to keep potted tropical hibiscus flowering year after year if kept indoors in New England? I read on the internet that the typical plants purchased from Costco or Home Depot usually only bloom the year it is purchased.

    I have the room insulated but it is a three season room and will only be heated when we choose to use it. It may get down to 50 F but it will get lots of sun. The room has a tropical flair to it and I love the tropics so I was hoping to keep a few tropical plants there. The ponytail palm is doing well. Have you any suggestions as to what flowering(hopefully tropical) plant would do well there? Kathy
     
  8. Canadian Honey Pot Collector

    Canadian Honey Pot Collector Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peterborough Ontario Canada
    Your hibiscus plants will flower year after year Kathy , no worries about that .

    Al
     
  9. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL USA USDA Zone 9
    Kathy, my hibiscus are all outside. Your leaf drop problem may simply be the lack of sun for a while. When I have a deep summer canopy of shade trees, my most sheltered hibiscus drop leaves, and call a strike on blooming until they see the sun for more hours a day. They all get Florida sun for at least a few hours, but it just isn't enough to keep them going.

    Our winters can get freezes, although it's newsworthy when we do. With any winter that has 50 degree days, I expect the flowering to stop until it gets warmer. I'm sure it will be that way in your sunroom, too.

    Don't expect minimum wage clerks at a big box store to be really knowledgeable. They can be, but not all that often. You can sometimes ask your gardening questions at an independent garden center/nursery. They want your business, and if they commiserate with you on the problems with buying from a big box store, and give you enough info to help you along, they hope you will return to their nursery for future plant needs.
     
  10. kathym

    kathym Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Thanks for the input- What you experience with less sun seems to be what must have happened with my plants. They were kept in a very bright foyer until the room was finished. During their time in the foyer we experienced about 3 - 4 weeks of straight rain. They have only been in the sunroom for about five days now and their color has turned from a sickly yellow to mostly green. The plant that lost almost all its leaves is taking longer to absorb the water in the pot but the fuller plant seems to be drinking. They were so beautiful when I bought them and are no longer available locally so I was desperately trying to save them before I lost them completely. It's nice to know they will recover. Again, thanks for your insight and responding to my question. Kathy
     
  11. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL USA USDA Zone 9
    You're welcome.

    The one that isn't drinking all that much is probably doing okay. Most of the respiration and need for water is in the leaves. Few leaves: reduced need for water. As long as the tender bark at the trunk is still firm and not blistery or slipping away from the stem, it's alive.

    I realize an in-home location is less forgiving, but down here I don't count any tropical or subtropical plant as dead until at least eight months have passed with no growth, sometimes a full year. I've rescued completely denuded evergreen shrubs that will recover given enough time in my warm and humid yard.
     
  12. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,025
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Anacortes, Washington, USA
    kathrum. Do as Ron said and call your local Land Grant College Extension Office. This time of year most are still running their Master Gardener clinics and if not just go to the office and let them help you. MG's do this at no cost as a public service. You can also get out door types of mallow's that are in the same family, double and single flowers, all sorts of colors. Mine get prety much ignored and do very well. Hybiscus, Mallow and Lavatera (sp?) can all be beautiful. barb
     
  13. kathym

    kathym Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Great info- thank you both!
     

Share This Page