I woke up this morning to find my hibiscus to have lost its blooms and green leaves. It looks like clean breaks, not like they have been chewed, and I saw no sign of insects. It’s in plenty of sun and in my back yard. Is this normal? Yesterday it was beautiful. Today nearly bare.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Bianca in Texas: There is obviously something that has caused your hibiscus to defoliate. I assume that this is considered a hardy plant where you are gardening so winter temperatures would not be a cause for concern. Is this a new planting or an established one? If it is a newer addition to the garden, too much or too little moisture can result in leaf drop. It is normal for hibiscus to drop their blooms since they only last one day; it is not normal for them to lose their leaves overnight. Plants completely defoliate for many reasons, including environmental stress and insect and/or disease issues. Without seeing your plant I can’t say for sure what happened, but unless it was accidentally sprayed with a harmful chemical the decline would have been gradual. Some insects are hard to see and if it were issues with the roots then it would not have been evident in terms of the foliage. Did you notice it start to yellow? If you still have any of the foliage, you can take a sample of it to your county Cooperative Extension Service to have the horticulture agent identify any potential insect or disease issues, but since the plant has no foliage left to photosynthesize the chances of it making a comeback are slim. You might also want to pull the plant from the soil to inspect the roots. This way you will at least know if it was a result of moisture issues.