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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Monday - July 03, 2006

From: Long Island, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Yellowing leaves on non-native Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I purchased a chinese hibiscus hiros small tree and after 1 month the leaves keep turning yellow. What's wrong? It's in a large pot and never outside below 60 degrees. Thanks.


I am assume you purchased Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Chinese hibiscus, a native of southern Asia. Since our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is on plants native to North America, the Chinese hibiscus is not really in our purview; however, I can guide you to some resources that might help you with your problem. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service yellow leaves can be attributed to: "...Abrupt changes in soil moisture, air temperature or drafts. Avoid excessive watering especially with older varieties. Some yellowing is normal in spring or fall when growing conditions are in transition. Yellowing may signal need for fertilizer." It is also possible that you have an infestation of spider mites. You can check out other Hibiscus Disorders & Environmental Influences.

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