Hibiscus Plant Care

How to Recognize Mineral Deficiencies

Extra Minerals Hibiscus May Need

Generally hibiscus stay green, healthy, growing, and blooming with a good fertilizer program. But sometimes issues with soil or water or age of the plant can cause mineral deficiencies, so it is good to know what they are and how to treat them. These are deficiencies that hibiscus plants sometimes experience, with links to information about how to recognize and treat them.

Iron Deficiency - Yellowing from top down.
Young upper leaves are yellow with dark green veins.
Old lower leaves stay green longer.



Iron Deficiency

When hibiscus are deficient in iron, the youngest leaves at the tips of each branch turn yellow with dark green veins, while the lower leaves stay green. If iron deficiency goes on long enough, the entire plant will slowly turn yellow.

Read all about Iron Deficiency and how to treat it here.

Magnesium Deficiency - Yellowing from bottom up.
Old lower leaves are yellow with dark green veins.
Young upper leaves stay green longer.



Magnesium Deficiency

When hibiscus are deficient in magnesium, the leaves lose their gloss and their dark green color. The youngest leaves at the tips of each branch still look green and shiny, but lower leaves get yellower and less glossy. A telltale sign of magnesium deficiency is lower yellow leaves with dark green veins.

Read all about Magnesium Deficiency and how to treat it here.

Alkalinity or Water with High pH
can cause many types of deficiencies
in desert climates with imported water.



Alkalinity & High pH

Alkalinity and water with high pH are not deficiencies, but they can cause many kinds of mineral deficiencies that worsen over time. If you live in a desert climate and use water that is brought in over long distances, you should be aware of these problems in order to correct for them before they can damage your plants.

Read all about High pH, Alkalinity, and how to treat them here.

NOTE: If you use the HVH Houseplant Formula as the main fertilizer for your hibiscus, you should not experience mineral deficiencies or alkalinity. The HVH Houseplant Formula contains high doses of chelated magnesium and FeEDDHA iron, along with pH correctors, in order to provide the extra nutrition that plants in less-than-optimal growing conditions need. A high number of yellow leaves on indoor hibiscus are almost always Spider Mites.