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Is Your Hibiscus Drooping Leaves? (6 Things to Check)

Is Your Hibiscus Drooping Leaves? (6 Things to Check)

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So, you want to add some energy and life to your house. Obviously, you decide to buy a few hibiscus plants. They’re colorful, vibrant, and easy to grow. What’s not to like?

You put in the effort to provide an ideal growing environment, and everything goes smoothly for a while. Suddenly, you start noticing that your hibiscus’s leaves are starting to droop.

Now you’re full of questions: Why is that happening? Did I do something wrong? What can I do to stop it?

Well, in this post, I’ll answer all these questions to help you regain your plant’s vitality. Let’s get right to it!

1 – Watering Issues

Filling Watering Can With Tap Water

Watering hibiscus plants is more complicated than it sounds, as they don’t have a specific watering schedule. That’s why inconsistent watering is the most common reason behind their leaves drooping.

If you’re a first-time plant parent, you might think you need to shower your child with love by watering it as much as possible. That’s a recipe for disaster, though.

Would you enjoy it if your friend kept forcing you to drink water, even after you were full? No? Well, the same thing goes for plants.

If you overwater your plant, the roots will suffocate, prompting root rot. That means they won’t be able to absorb the necessary nutrients and send them to the leaves, causing them to droop.

That doesn’t mean you should underwater your plant. That’s just as bad. You see, if you don’t give your hibiscus enough water, the roots will die from dehydration.

That means the leaves won’t receive the necessary nutrients to grow, which would also prompt them to droop.

The Fix

Although hibiscuses don’t have a set watering routine, there’s a simple method you can follow to determine when it’s time to water it.

Touch the top two inches of the soil. If it’s dry, give it some water. If it’s still moist, wait until it dries. Of course, you don’t want to wait too long, as the soil might dry out, which can kill your plant.

Helpful tip: Your watering routine should depend on the climate. If the weather is warm, your soil will dry quickly. So, you’ll need to water it often to prevent it from drying out. 

On the other hand, the soil takes more time to dry in cold weather. So, hold back on the water a bit to avoid overwatering your hibiscus.

2 – Poor Soil

Compost For Garden

You can’t just use a random type of soil for your hibiscus and expect it to be enough to prompt healthy leaf growth. You want to be careful with your choice.

After all, soil to plants is like houses to humans. Would you enjoy living in a house with an uncomfortable couch and a broken TV? Neither would hibiscus plants. So, you want to choose soil that caters to their needs.

Here’s the thing: Plants usually have different soil requirements. Hibiscuses are generally not picky. However, they require soil that offers the perfect balance between moisture retention and water drainage.

If your soil retains too much moisture, it’ll kill the roots. On the other hand, if it drains water too quickly, the roots won’t transfer it to the leaves.

In both cases, the leaves won’t receive the necessary water/nutrients and will start drooping. 

There’s more to soil than its drainage abilities, though. You also want to consider its pH levels. Soil’s acidity determines how much nutrients it can absorb.

If your soil doesn’t meet hibiscuses’ acceptable acidity range, it won’t be able to supply it with enough nutrients to grow, and its leaves will droop.

The Fix

Use well-draining loamy soil that retains enough moisture to keep your hibiscus hydrated but drains excess water to prevent root rot. Although they can tolerate alkaline soil, a bit of acidity would be ideal.

3 – Nutrient Deficiency

Watering your hibiscus properly and using the right type of soil is all fine and dandy. You can’t expect to grow healthy leaves without proper fertilizing, though.

You know what they say: Treat others how you want to be treated. You wouldn’t be able to live off water alone, would you? The same thing goes for your hibiscus.

If you don’t fertilize your plant regularly, the leaves won’t receive enough nutrients to grow healthy and will start wilting/drooping.

The Fix

You want to use a balanced fertilizer that’s high in potassium and nitrogen. If you’re using a diluted liquid fertilizer, apply it once a week during the growth period (spring and summer).

A slow-release fertilizer, however, should be applied once a month. You can find fertilizers made specifically for hibiscus plants. These should provide them with the necessary nutrients to grow healthy leaves.

Avoid fertilizing your hibiscus during the winter, as it goes dormant during that season and won’t need fertilizing. 

4 – Insufficient Sunlight

Hibiscus In Bloom

If you’re growing your hibiscus in a shaded area, it might be time to move it. You see, hibiscus plants require ample sunlight. The more, the merrier.

If you don’t expose it to sufficient sunlight, it won’t be able to carry out photosynthesis. As a result, the leaves won’t receive enough energy to grow properly.

The Fix

On average, you want to expose your hibiscus to direct sunlight for 8+ hours a day. So, place it in an open area or in front of a north-facing window.

I know prolonged sun exposure may not always be possible, depending on your location. That’s why I recommend using grow lights.

You don’t have to buy fancy equipment. LED lights will do the trick. They’re efficient, affordable, and easy to use.

5 – Diseases

Hibiscus plants are durable but not invincible. Just like any other plant, they’re susceptible to various diseases. The most threatening disease they have to face is verticillium wilt.

It’s a fungal disease that attacks the plant’s roots and then makes its way through the vascular system. It causes your hibiscus’s leaves to start drooping and turning yellow.

The Fix

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for verticillium wilt. Your best bet is to try to maintain it or prevent it from affecting your hibiscus in the first place. You can do that by pruning the wilting leaves/stems.

Ultimately, your job is to help your plant build as much resistance to the disease as possible. So, you want to provide an ideal growing environment.

That includes watering it regularly, fertilizing it properly, and exposing it to adequate sunlight. Of course, the process will take time, but that’s the best you can do to manage that disease.

Keep in mind that you need to act quickly to prevent verticillium wilt from spreading, as it could potentially kill your hibiscus.

6 – Pest Infestations

Pests are hibiscus plants’ Achilles heel. No matter how strong your plant is, one pest infestation is enough to bring it to its knees.

Whether it’s aphids or spider mites, these pesky insects will absorb the sap of your hibiscus’s leaves, causing them to droop. 

The Fix

There isn’t one definitive way to treat pest infestations. You can’t go wrong with the classic insecticidal soap or Neem oil.

That said, the most effective way to get rid of pests is to prevent them from invading your plant in the first place. So, keep the surrounding area clean, avoid overwatering your plant, and provide proper air circulation.

Final Thoughts

Now you know all the issues that can prompt your hibiscus’s leaves to droop. Ultimately, it’s all about not providing the ideal growing environment for your plant.

Identifying the underlying issue might take a while. So, go through the potential causes one at a time until you pinpoint the problem.

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Sunday 26th of March 2023

I really need some help with my hibiscus. I got a snipping of one last summer and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Help I can go into more detail later and send pictures as well