It’s sad when you see drooping leaves on your hibiscus plant. I wanted to know the cause of this problem and what I could do to get this fixed.
Your hibiscus leaves are drooping because of lack of water. It may also start drooping due to overwatering where the root rot has set in. The problem is that the plant is unable to get the required moisture and nutrients from the soil. So the leaves start drooping.
I’ve written a lot more details below that will help you figure out why your hibiscus leaves are drooping and what you can do about it.
1. Overwatering or underwatering
Hibiscus plants need regular watering like all other plants. But, as a beginner, we can end up either adding too little or too much water to the soil.
If you don’t provide enough water to the hibiscus plant, the roots won’t be able to provide the nutrients from the soil to the leaves. And this will cause the leaves to droop.
If you add too much water to the soil, you will end up drowning the roots. This increases the chances of root rot and the roots won’t be able to send the nutrients to the leaves.
This overwatering will also cause the leaves to droop. This is a more serious issue than underwatering because the roots can’t recover from this problem.
I recommend checking the moisture in the soil before you decide to water it. You can stick your finger 1-2 inches in the soil and feel the moisture with the tip of your finger.
If it does not feel moist, you need to water the soil well. Otherwise, there’s still enough moisture in the soil and you should not put any more water.
You can check the roots of the hibiscus plant by digging a little into the soil. If the roots are black and soggy, they are suffering from root rot. You will need to cut off the infected roots if you want to save the plant.
You may need to move the hibiscus plant to another location where the soil is in a better condition and will help recover the plant.
2. Lack of sunlight
Hibiscus is a plant that needs full sun which means you need to provide it at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. If the plant does not get this required light, the leaves will droop.
You need to be careful when choosing the location in the garden to grow the hibiscus plant. You don’t want to plant it in an area that is in shade due to a wall, another plant, or a tree.
If you’re growing hibiscus in a container, you can move it to a location in your garden that gets full sun.
3. Too much heat
Hibiscus plants do need a lot of sunlight but you need to be careful they don’t get too much heat. This can also lead to the drooping of the leaves.
Make sure that the temperature is between 55 to 70 degrees when growing a hibiscus plant. If the temperature goes beyond 85 degrees, the leaves will begin to droop.
If you’re growing the hibiscus in a container, you can either move the plant in the shade where it’s cooler or bring it indoors during the afternoon heat.
4. Lack of nutrients
Your hibiscus plant will need to be fertilized so it can grow well. If the plant is lacking nutrients like potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, the leaves will tend to droop.
I recommend adding compost to the soil as that’s the best organic material that provides nutrients to the soil. It also adds beneficial microorganisms that improve the soil’s texture and nutrients.
If you are unable to get compost, you can consider adding fertilizer to the soil. You can use a slow-release fertilizer that you apply every month during the growing season. Or you can use a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks on the soil and foliage.
5. Fungal disease
One of the most common issues with a hibiscus plant is being infected by a fungal disease known as Wilt disease that causes the leaves to droop.
You can prevent the chances of this disease on the plant by avoiding splashing water on the foliage. Also, prevent splashing the soil on the leaves when watering as such diseases may be present in the soil.
The moist conditions on the leaves can invite several fungal diseases to the plant. If you find that the leaves are infected by such a disease, it’s best to cut off the infected leaves and dispose of them.
Otherwise, the fungal disease will keep spreading until it infects all the leaves on the hibiscus plant.
I recommend watering the plant early in the morning. So when the sun comes out in the afternoon, it will evaporate all the excess water on the leaves.
If pests like aphids, mealybugs, and thrips attack the hibiscus leaves, they suck out the sap from them causing the leaves to droop.
You can get rid of such pests by spraying water on the leaves and knocking them on to the soil. They won’t be able to crawl back on to the leaves.
You can also use a mix of insecticidal soap and water or neem oil to spray on such insects and get rid of them. Another option is to grow plants that attract beneficial insects like lady beetles, wasps, and lacewings to your garden.
These beneficial insects will prey on the pests and their eggs and get rid of them from your hibiscus plant.
7. Transplant shock
You may have grown the hibiscus plant from seeds. Or you may have purchased the seedling from a local garden center or nursery. Before transplanting the seedling to your outdoor garden, you need to harden the plant.
If the plant is not hardened, it will not be able to get used to the intense sunlight and wind conditions outdoors. And the leaves can droop as a result due to the stress on the plant.
You need to move the seedling outdoors for 3-4 hours during the first few days. Keep it away from direct sunlight, wind, and rain. After a few days, you can keep it out for 5-6 hours and introduce it to sunlight.
After a week, the seedlings will have hardened and you can now transplant them outdoors in the garden.