Why Are My Hibiscus Leaves Turning Yellow: Causes & Solutions

why are my hibiscus leaves turning yellow

Hibiscus plants are undoubtedly beautiful, but it's pretty darn annoying when their leaves turn yellow. Usually, Hibiscus leaves turning yellow will resolve themselves, but not always. Sometimes you may even need to prune the whole plant.

Hibiscus leaves turning yellow is pretty common and not a massive cause for concern, but you're probably after some methods to stop this.

Why are the leaves on my potted Hibiscus turning yellow?

Annoyingly so, there can be several reasons for Hibiscus leaves turning yellow. These reasons include a lack of nutrients, overwatering, stress due to drought, or too much phosphorous in the soil.

But simply put, Hibiscus leaves turning yellow and falling off is the plant's way of telling you it needs something. Knowing the answer to why are your Hibiscus leaves turning yellow can help you fix any underlying problems.

So, carry on reading as we explore the possible causes.

Drought stress turning Hibiscus leaves yellow

Drought stress is one of the top reasons Hibiscus leaves turn yellow and drop off. Several factors can point towards signs of stress, such as dry soil or too much moisture around the roots.

The leaves themselves will tell you when their yellowing is due to dry soil. Shriveled and curling downwards leaves are the plants' attempts to avoid further water loss.

In contrast, drought stress can also be caused by overwatering. For example, the plant has been overwatered if the Hibiscus leaves droop rather than wither.

Stopping drought stress and regular watering is crucial to avoid Hibiscus tree leaves turning yellow.

Watch out for other causes of drought stress, including;

  • Excessive wind
  • Underwatering
  • Early soil drainage due to sandy or stony soil
  • A sudden drop in temperature

How do I know if my Hibiscus is overwatered?

Answering the question ‘why are my Hibiscus leaves turning yellow' means knowing when you've overwatered it. Hibiscus house plants suffer stress, especially around the roots, when overwatered.

The only solution to this is getting the right balance of hydration.

Stray away from excess water around the roots by avoiding:

  • Although tropical Hibiscus plants prefer regular watered and moist soil, it can be detrimental. When you water your Hibiscus plant daily, it can lead to boggy conditions, which then causes yellow leaves.
  • Slow draining soils. Hibiscus plants thrive in moist, light friable soil and don't do well with boggy, saturated soil. This type of soil is incredibly slow to drain and increases the chances of root rot.

Other causes of Hibiscus leaves turning yellow

  • Poor, nutrient-deficient soil often causes yellow leaves. As greedy plants, the Hibiscus is not the most low-maintenance. It always does its best in soil with plenty of organic matter, such as leaf mold, compost, and well-rotted manure.
  • Stopping this tropical plant's leaves turning yellow and dropping off is possible when you prevent a build-up of Phosphorous soil. Unlike most plants, Hibiscus plants are susceptible to an elevated phosphorous level in the soil, which reduces vital nutrients.
  • When planted in soil that doesn't suit their slightly acidic needs, Hibiscus plants can't absorb nutrients from the soil. Eventually, the leaves turn yellow. You can purchase a soil gauge to check the soil's PH level stays at between six and seven.
  • Due to their tropical origins, you need to make sure this plant gets enough light. Too little sun and too much shade are more likely to send your Hibiscus leaves yellow.

How do you stop a Hibiscus plant from turning yellow?

Make sure your Hibiscus plant has plenty of shelter from excess winds. Hibiscus plants require tropical conditions to thrive, and high winds diminish this essential humidity and moisture. You can use other shrubs to shield your plant. Or why not move your plant to a still sunny but garden fence-sheltered spot?

Top the top toil with some mulch. Doing so helps your Hibiscus plant to retain nutrients, moisture and improve soil structure.

Ensure your soil and fertilizer can provide all the nutrients a Hibiscus plant needs.

Don't over-fertilize the Hibiscus plant, or you may only get foliage and no Hibiscus flowers.

Reduce the amount of fertilizer used for your Hibiscus if you suspect this is why Hibiscus plant's leaves turn yellow.

When your Hibiscus leaves turning yellow is down to the soil's PH level, swap your Hibiscus plant to raised beds. You can also use containers, plant pots, or multi-purpose compost rather than garden soil.

How often should I water my Hibiscus?

Knowing when to water your Hibiscus plant is essential to stop Hibiscus leaves from turning yellow and falling off. You should always ensure the Hibiscus has enough water. It's best to give your Hibiscus plant one good soak a week to allow the water to penetrate the soil.

This method encourages the Hibiscus roots to grow and increase their tolerance to drought. Although a good watering once a week is preferable, there's no harm in watering your Hibiscus as often as is needed to keep the soil moist. Remember, this plant needs lots of water.

If you've planted your Hibiscus in well-draining soil or a hot and dry climate, you may need to increase how often your Hibiscus needs water this plant to keep the leaves green.

How do you care for an indoor Hibiscus plant?

You're probably asking yourself what causes yellow leaves on potted Hibiscus. To ensure your potted Hibiscus plants are free from this fate and maintain their green leaves, follow the below steps to care for your indoor Hibiscus plant;

  • Always put your indoor plant in a spot with the most direct sunlight, under full sun.
  • Make sure your Hibiscus plant pot has drainage holes in the base.
  • Be careful of over-watering your Hibiscus plant, especially if the potting soil feels still wet and saturated.
  • Every few years, swap out the old soil for new, nutrient-rich soil. In addition, you should consider increasing the pot size up, as this gives the plant more nutrients through more soil.
  • Give the Hibiscus plant time to adjust when moved.

Learning even a little about why the Hibiscus leaves turn yellow and the solutions are vital for your plant's health, so you know how to look after it.


Along with her many other interests, Sarah is a keen gardener who believes that everyone can learn to use their green thumbs. With a positive impact on mental health and fitness, Sarah wants to encourage everyone to get in their garden this summer.

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