Hibiscus is a tropical flower that can produce extremely bright and colorful blooms, but recently, the blooms on some of my plants have been budding, but they fall off right before the bloom opens. I have had these plants for years, but I have never had an issue with the blooms until recently. After looking into how to solve the problem, I decided to create this guide to help other keep their hibiscus flowers from falling off of their plant as well. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons that this could occur.
This is a plant that likes moist, well-drained soil, which means that even though you will want the soil to feel damp, you do not want it to be excessive. When the roots of the plant are too wet, root rot can occur, which will make the plant sickly and can cause the blooms to fall. This can also occur if the plant has too little water, which will cause the leaves of the plant to wilt and the blooms can fall. If your plant looks healthy, this is most likely not what is causing your plant’s flowers to fall.
It’s Too Hot
You may be thinking: hibiscus is a tropical plant; how can it be too hot for them to grow properly. Well, tropical plants are used to a lot of humidity, but the temperature in these parts of the world is typically less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity may make it seem much hotter, but the temperature is not so high that is scorches the leaves and damages the flowers that are budding. The hibiscus plant prefers to grow in an area where the temperature is always between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you have been experiencing a heat wave recently with temperatures of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, this could be the main reason that your plant’s flowers are falling. If this the case, as the temperature begins to ease with the arrival of fall, the flowers will stop falling from the plant.
Pests are Damaging Your Hibiscus
While there are a lot of potential pests like aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites that could cause your hibiscus plant harm, the two main pests that you will need to worry about are thrips and hibiscus midges. Let’s take a look at how to tell if these pests are a problem and some methods that you can use to get rid of them.
- Thrips– This is a very tiny insect that is often found in gardens. They are known for feeding on the buds of a hibiscus plant, which can cause the plant to do poorly. When the buds are attacked, they flowers can fall off of the plant before the blooms even open.
One way to determine if thrips are causing your issue is to take an unopened bud off of the plant before it falls. It should not be opened, and if you can get one that is turning yellow, it is already being damaged in some way, so it will be the best to inspect. Gently tap the bud on a piece of paper so that you can see if anything comes out of the bud. Thrips look like little black specs, so if you see them on the paper; they will also move when they fall out of the flower.
If you find thrips, controlling the source of the issue is going to be simple. All you need to do is spray liquid insecticide on the blooms. For the best results, you will want the insecticide to contain permethrin or bifenthrin.
- Hibiscus Midges – Another insect that can be cause for concern is gal midges. These creatures do not eat the plant as adults, but they do tend to lay their eggs in unopened blooms. When the larvae emerge, they feed on the inside of the bud, with is what causes the bud to drop from the plant. This is a very small insect that is nearly impossible to see with the human eye, which makes it very difficult to determine if they are the reason that your flowers are dropping.
Great way to get rid of these pests is to apply a liquid systemic insecticide to the plant so that it can kill the larvae that are embedded in the unopened blooms. You will want to look for a formula that contains acephate, disyston, or imidacloprid.
*Bayer Tree and Shrub can be used in the soil to kill the midges.
Over-Fertilizing Your Plant
The final concern that you will need to consider if your flowers continue to drop is the amount of fertilizer that you are using on the plant. Hibiscus tends to do well with a little fertilizer, but too much can cause the buds to drop. Make sure to choose a fertilizer that is high in potassium. Fertilizers with phosphorus can also damage the plant, so make sure that you find that will help your plant grow and not harm it. Once you are sure that all of these concerns are under control, you should see beautiful hibiscus flowers in no time.