Plant Clinic

Replanted hibiscus not doing well


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Q. Three weeks ago I bought some hibiscus. I replanted them in larger containers. The new flowers are deformed and small, and the leaves are yellow and fall off daily. I water them every 3 to 4 days.

O.C., Fort Lauderdale

Check to see if aphids are on the buds. Aphids are small, pear-shaped insects; usually they are grouped on new growth and flower buds. If you see them, hose them off or spray with insecticidal soap.

Hibiscus will drop leaves and flowers when conditions change, such as moving them or changes in soil moisture. Check moisture deeper than 2 inches. When it starts to dry at that depth, it’s time to water. If it’s still moist, leave it alone. Hibiscus will also drop flowers for other reasons.

Use a container that is slightly larger when repotting plants. Avoid changing to a much larger pot, since it will be more difficult to maintain the right soil moisture. The new potting “soil” will stay too wet, which increases the likelihood of root rot.

Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; e-mail

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