Hibiscus Leaves Turning Yellow: How to Prevent

hibiscus leaves on branch changed to yellow

Hibiscus is a flowering plant belonging to the family of Malvaceae. This plant is otherwise known as the hardy hibiscus, tropical hibiscus, or rose of Sharon.

These plants are native to the tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions.

Hibiscus plants are best known for their flowers that not only give a decorative addition to the garden but also have some medicinal use.

The leaves and flowers of this plant are used to make tea which is served around the world and is full of vitamin C.

Sometimes, leaves of the hibiscus plants start turning yellow which is a common problem, but not one you should be worried about.

Keep reading this article to find out why hibiscus leaves turn yellow and ways to prevent this..

Why do hibiscus leaves turn yellow?

Nutrition Deficiency

Generally ,Hibiscus plants are heavy feeders. So they show signs of stress when they lack nutrients.

If the hibiscus flowers are lacking nutrition, then the leaves of the plant will turn yellow.

Such a condition of leaves is called chlorosis.

Stony and sandy soils and the soils lacking organic matter don’t retain much nutrition and are less fertile. So the plants growing in this soil can have fewer nutrients and react with yellow leaves.

Pest and insects

When the hibiscus plant is under adverse soil conditions and there is a lack of light, it is more vulnerable to being infected by insects.

Sometimes pests like spider mites infect the plant and make the leaves yellow. Besides that, the hibiscus leaves may have some marks on the underside and become mottled.


In summer, when the temperature is too high, the hibiscus plants need extra watering. Or else, the plant will dry up and succumb due to heat. As a result, the leaves of the hibiscus plant turn yellow.

Similarly, the hibiscus plants are sensitive to cold and the leaves turn yellow under extremely cold climatic conditions.


Watering plays an important role in the growth of hibiscus plants. Overwatering and lack of water can be the cause of yellow leaves in the plant.

During summer, when the hibiscus plants needs a lot of water, overwatering also can be harmful. You should just water the plant to make the soil moist, not to make it soggy.

Likewise, when the hibiscus plant doesn’t get enough water the leaves of the plant turn yellow.

Hibiscus requires light friable soil. If the soil is composed of heavy clay, it tends to drain too slowly which causes the accumulation of excess water around the root. As a result, the leaves of the hibiscus plant start to turn yellow.


Light is also an important factor for which the leaves of the hibiscus plant turn yellow.

Hibiscus flowers are native to the tropical region. They grow and flower in full sun.

When the plant gets too much sunlight, the hibiscus plant reacts to it with yellow leaves.

In the same manner, not getting the right amount of sunlight can cause the hibiscus leaves to turn yellow with poor tree growth and fewer flowers and gradually the leaves start to drop off to make space to receive the sunlight.

High level of phosphorus in the soil

Hibiscus plants are generally sensitive to high phosphorus content in the soil.

 When phosphorus starts to build up in the soil it takes the other nutrients from the soil and causes nutrient deficiency. As a result of which the leaves of the hibiscus plant start to turn yellow.

Excess wind

The hibiscus plant is native to the tropical region and they prefer some humidity instead of excess wind. So if the plant is exposed to excess wind, they start to react with yellow leaves.

Soil pH

A hibiscus plant grows well in the pH between 6-7

If the pH of the soil is lower or higher than this i.e if the soil is acidic or alkaline, the root can’t uptake the nutrients from the soil. As a result of which, the leaves of the hibiscus plant start to turn yellow.

How to prevent hibiscus leaves from turning yellow?

Provide the plant with a generous soak

Provide the hibiscus plant with a generous soak once a week to prevent the leaves from turning yellow.

Watering sometimes works as a soak and ensures that the water goes deep into the soil and encourages the growth and establishment of roots.

Protect the plant from excess wind

Hibiscus plants are native to the tropical region. So excess wind decreases the humidity of air which is opposite to the growing condition of the hibiscus plant.

Planting some other shrubs around the tree acts as a wind buffer and shelter the plant from high wind.

Improve the soil quality by adding manure

Apply compost, well-rotted manure, and leaf mold to the soil around the hibiscus tree to improve the soil moisture and quality.

If the soil tends to dry, apply these things two times in a year, once in spring and again in the middle of summer.

Keep the soil moist

Hibiscus plants prefer moist soil and if the soil dries the leaves start to turn yellow. So to keep the soil moist, water the plant as required. 

Watering the plant once a week is often required to protect it from yellow leaves but if the climate is dry and hot, more watering is required to keep the soil moist.

Apply balanced fertilizer

Application of an unbalanced amount of fertilizer may increase the phosphorus amount in the soil which is the cause of yellow leaves of the plant.

So if you suspect the leaves are turning yellow due to the fertilizer, scale back the use of it. Instead, add organic compost and manure to the soil.

Use insecticides

If insects like spider mites are the cause of hibiscus leaves turning yellow, use an insecticide spray on the plant.


As you have read the whole article, now you know the reasons and prevention of hibiscus leaves turning yellow. In short, plant the hibiscus in their native habitat of nutrient rich soil, lots of moisture, full soil and good drainage to revive the leaves from turning yellow.

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