How To Stop Hibiscus Leaves From Curling

Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Stephanie

Tropical hibiscus are fairly easy to care for plants, provided that the conditions are suitable. What happens if the leaves of your hibiscus start to curl? This could be a sign that something is negatively impacting the plant.

The most frequent reasons for hibiscus leaves curling are insufficient water, nutrients sunlight, temperature and soil pH. The reason may also be due to external stress, such as pests or diseases. A proper watering schedule and indirect sunlight, temperatures between 60 and 95 degrees (15-35degC) and meticulous maintenance can guarantee optimal health and development for your hibiscus plants.

Its not easy to determine the root cause of the hibiscus plants curly leaves, therefore youll have to look over your plant in order to determine the cause. This article outlines the various reasons for curling, the symptoms to be aware of and the best way to address the problem at hand.

Causes of Hibiscus Leaves Curling

Based on the kind of deformation, it is important to determine the root of the plants problem and then the best way to treat your plant!

Improper Watering

The hibiscus that is under water will begin to curl to hold the moisture in their leaves. However, plants that are overwatered may also curl and wilt because it could cause root decay.

A damaged or damaged root system will not absorb nutrients and water and leaves can show signs of underwatering. It is therefore vital to ensure that the balance is at a good level.

Hibiscus leaves that curl up typically indicates a lack of water, while leaves that curl downwards suggest excessive water. If youre not sure what to look for, try the followingsigns:

If youve submerged your plants the soil will be dry and could be able to pull off from your pot. The leaves could turn brown and appear light and crisp while lower leaves may turn become yellow and curl. In addition, their growth could be slowed down, as will stiff, crisp stems.

However If youve overwatered your plants the soil will be damp. The leaves will be limp and soft, perhaps with edges that are browning.

It is also possible to see the leaves turning yellow, accompanied by new growth. Alongside these signs it is possible that there is mildew, mold, or fungal growth that could cause illness on your plants.


If your hibiscus has been underwatered make sure to completely submerge the pot in water for 20 minutes to revive the plant. If your plant isnt potted then increase the frequency of watering not the amount of water up to three or two every day.

If youve overwatered your hibiscus plant, dont water it for a period of one or two weeks in order to dry the soil. You can test it by sticking your finger 2 inches deep in the potting mix and checking. Additionally, reduce the normal amount of watering after it has dried out.

If the hibiscus that was overwatered developed its roots decay (you must examine your roots) then it could be difficult to save the plant.

However, you may be able to keep it from spreading if the problem is restricted to a small portion that are part of the root. Simply trim the affected portion and treat it with an fungicide based on copper. Repot it in an entirely new pot using new soil mix.

two hibiscus blooms


The plants require sun. Based on the type of plant theyll need indirect or direct sunlight, but none. For hibiscus, they require indirect sunlight to ensure optimal growth.

The wrong lighting type can affect different aspects of the hibiscus plant. The direct sunlight can cause burns, curling and even yellowing in midday. Insufficient sunlight can cause the plant to shed its leaves.


Make sure you put your plant in a place that isnt directly exposed to the sun during midday hours or completely in darkness. It is possible to place your plant in front of west or east-facing windows, or in windows with blinds that block some of the suns radiation.

Temperature Stess Cause Leaves Curling

The Hibiscus is a tropical plant that are tolerant of frigid temperatures. They prefer temperatures between 60 and 95 degrees (15-35degC). Anything lower than 50degF (10degC) can cause slow growth, curled leaves curled and shed.

Conversely, temperatures that remain constant over 100degF (38degC) could cause stress to your plant. This heatwave can cause excessive transpiration within your plant.

Transpiration occurs when leaves release water out of their leaves. The release of excessive water can cause curling, withering, and wiping.


If the temperatures are low If it is cold, bring the plant inside and put them in a sunny spot. This is why its best to plant your hibiscus plants in a pot regardless of the species.

Potted plants give you the option of moving it inside during winter months to shield it from the drop in temperatures.

If temperatures are too hot, transfer the plant to a shaded area and mist the leaves with water to aid in cooling it down and ease the strain on the roots.

Soil Acidity

Acidity in soil is often ignored by new growers however it can adversely affect the water levels of your plants as well as intake of nutrients. Hibiscus thrives in pH-acid soil (between 6.5 to 6.8 pH).

The pH of the soil influences the solubility of minerals and compounds, which means how easy they dissolve in water. Acidic soils cause harmful minerals such as manganese and aluminum to be more soluble.

Contrary to alkaline soils, essential minerals such as iron and phosphorus are not available in the quantities required. This kind of soil could cause deficiencies in nutrient levels within your plants.


Before you plant, test the soils pH using an acid strip or other test equipment.

If the test of pH in soil indicates it is greater than 7.5 Use sulfur, iron sulfate, manganese sulfate or aluminum sulfur to reduce the pH. When the pH falls lower than 5.5 it is possible to apply dolomite or an agricultural lime.

Two weeks later, you can test the soils pH to make sure that the conditions are perfect prior to planting your hibiscus.


If you dont have the right nutrients, your plants leaves will not be able to develop properly. Deficiency in minerals can lead to curled leaves and stunted growth of your plants, which is why it is essential to provide them with the right nutrients. For optimal development, most garden plants need:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Sulphur (S)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Magnesium (Mg)

But, hibiscus plants can not process phosphorus as other plants. This mineral could cause harm to the hibiscus plant.

Phosphorus is a mineral that can be added to the soil by fertilizers, or even in the water used to water. Plants that have excessive amounts of phosphorus isnt easily regenerated!

Hibiscuses require a significant amount of potassium sulfate, a moderate quantity of nitrogen and low quantities of phosphorus as along with small quantities in Iron (Fe) and Copper (Cu), as well as Magnesium (Mg).

However the overfertilization process can result in curly leaves, browning and wilting, stress, and much more. The majority of these symptoms are a result of the effects of overwatering.


If your plant is suffering from nutritional deficiencies, you should fertilize it with the right minerals. Mix your own mix or purchase an appropriate fertilizer for the hibiscus plant. Look at the label for the minerals listed above. The kind of fertilizer you choose to use could be water-soluble or the chelated.

If your plant has been over-fertilized or are experiencing excessive build-up, remove it from the soil by giving it a good watering for a long period of time. This process pulls the fertilizer and away from roots. Make sure that the container has adequate drainage.

If its in the middle of the ground it is possible to remove the fertilizer on the top of the soil. Do not remove more than a quarter-inch from the soil below it.

Take away any dead or rotten leaves to allow your plant to concentrate its energy on healthier leaves.


There are three types of plant diseases that your plant could suffer from. Unhealthy soils or a lack of acidity could cause problems for the hibiscus plant.

  • Brown spots with a yellow Halo indicate fungal infection that eventually causes black spots or yellow leaves. Fungul attacks reduce leaves capacity to photosynthesis and eventually the leaves will curl to conserve energy.
  • Dieback disease may adversely impact the stem or branch or stem of the plant. Dieback disease is typically due to a fungal infection which is introduced through cracks or tears within one of the stems or branches or stems of the plant. It is easy to spot since youll only notice one of the stems or branches of your plant are affected.
  • Root rot is one of the most serious and most difficult to spot since its beneath the soil. But, plants with rotten roots the ability to absorb nutrients or water and cause the leaves to curl and then wilt. If you notice a foul smell from the soil, it could be a sign of root rotthat results due to excessive watering.

If you are concerned it is possible to remove your plants and examine the roots. Healthy roots should have white, and rotten roots are slim, soft black grey or brown roots.


Certain diseases are more dangerous than others. If you dont treat it your hibiscuss health will become worse and youll have to aid in bringing it back to health.

To treat chlorosis, take off any of the affected leaves. The removal of dying leaves prevents the plant from burning the energy of leaves which are likely to be able to fall off in the future.

It helps them concentrate their efforts to the leaves, giving them the greatest chance of recovering. In general, the plant will recover itself if it is treated properly.

To treat the disease, cut the affected area with an ad-hoc set of sharp scissors. Be sure to disinfect the cut areas afterward to prevent future use. In the process of removing the infection it prevents spreading to the other areas of your hibiscus

For root rot, in the final instance it is possible to help the affected hibiscus by cleaning its roots. The roots can be cleaned by gently running water over them. Then, remove the roots that are rotten with sharp scissors, cutting close to the area that is damaged. Then, you can repot the plant.

It is important to sterilize the scissors following the cutting to prevent infecting the other plant species!

For all diseases it is recommended to transplant the plant to healthy soil that is suitable in pH and fertilizers. Fresh soil mix will make sure the absence of harmful microbes living in the soil.

In case of emergency do not water your plants with tap water that is hard. The minerals present in the water can increase the soils acidity.

Insect Infestation

Pests and insects pose the most significant danger to your hibiscus plants when they are outside. Many pests can cause your plant stress, curled, as well as yellowing of leaves.

  • Aphids are common insects which eat away the nutrients of your plants and cause leaves to turn yellow and curled. Aphids are reddish brown or green bugs that are difficult to spot until they become more noticeable.
  • The caterpillars and worms that live in the leaves on your hibiscus can be typically detrimental to the flowering hibiscus. If this happens there will be a white layer that will form on the leaf veins.
  • Spider mites are tiny and red, which leave tiny cobwebs on the plant. The yellow dots appear on the leaves, where insects feed. The affected leaves will slowly turn yellow before drying up.
  • Japanese beetle larvae can consume rootstocks of your hibiscus plant. Theyre usually planted in soil, and will eat larger roots as they develop. The loss of the plants root causes it to not be able to absorb nutrients, particularly when the larvae grow large.

Always inspect the leaves underside. This is the area where the majority of insects will be able to be found.


You can purchase chemical solutions for getting rid of pests, but chemicals can have negative consequences for you as well as your plants.

Natural remedies include washing the bugs off by running water over the plant , and then rub the bugs away from the plant.

Alternately, you can introduce natural predators such as ladybugs in your garden, but this isnt feasible for the majority of people.

Personally, I make a mix of one-third of neem oil and two thirds water. The oil of neem is an effective natural insecticide, and its oiliness assists in keeping caterpillars and worms away. It is also appropriate for plants and provides them with an attractive shine.

Spray the mix on your plants and scrub off the pests using the help of a toothbrush. It is recommended to spray regularly your plants in case they are susceptible to pest infestations.

What is the reason why Hibiscus Leaves Curl After Repotting?

Hibiscus plants prefer roots that are more compact Therefore, you may be repotting your plants more frequently than other garden plants. However moving and uprooting could cause transplant shock to your plants.

Transplant shock is caused by inadequate repotting. The sudden changes in conditions can strain your plants, causing the leaves of your plants to curl and turn wilt.


In general, you should maintain the same conditions for your plants, which means the soil and lighting needs to be similar to the ones previously employed. When you move your hibiscus plant, be careful so as not to hurt the roots.

Other issues could result due to letting your plant sit for too long prior to transplanting it. The roots being exposed to the air for too long or transferring in the wrong way can cause the leaves curving or turning wilting.

Be sure not to change the pots of your plant in the spring, as they are the most vulnerable before they begin to bloom. Also, put your soil in your new pot prior to removing your hibiscus plant from its previous pot.

How to Prevent Hibiscus Leaves Curling?

Prevention is easier than treatment. You can stop the leaves of your hibiscus from curling by ensuring that the conditions are ideal for your plant.

The first step is to select the correct size pot that for hibiscus, is one that drains well. Then, select a great soil mix that includes materials such as perlite, composted bark, coco coir, and moss. It is essential to ensure that the soil is porous , so that the roots of hibiscus have sufficient oxygen.

After youve located a suitable container, select the perfect location for your hibiscus. Hibiscus require indirect sunlight and they dont like winds. Therefore, put the plant in a place that gets indirect sunlight , but not close to the fans or AC vents.

Finally, ensure that you are watering your hibiscus correctly. Dont apply too much water or pour in the dirt directly, instead of watering your plants using a watering can, sprinkler or pouring it over your fingers.

In summer the hibiscus needs frequent watering. However you should water your plant less often during the winter months.


Leaf deformation or curly leaves could be the sign of a variety of issues. But, provided you provide the right environment for the plant you want to cultivate, it can flourish beautifully without any issues.

Following this article, youll be equipped with the right information to identify your plant and assist in bringing it back to health!



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)