I have an indoor hibiscus 3 years old. 2 years ago we went away and it lost its leaves. The stock is 14″ and leaves have not come back. Plant has no problem blooming. How do i get the leaves to grow back or should i be cutting back the plant?
Losing leaves on an indoor, tropical hibiscus is generally an indication that the plant is under stress. There are various possible stressors. Perhaps, the plant did not receive enough water while you were away, or it received too much water and it sat in water too long. Another possibility: over-fertilization, especially in winter when plant growth slows. Or, possibly the plant is not receiving enough light.
Here are some suggestions for rejuvenating your hibiscus.
- Ensure that the plant is situated in a sunny window and remains in an area where the temperature is above 10 C.
- Water the plant regularly when it dries out.
- Fertilize the plant with an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Reduce fertilization to once a month in fall and winter when growth slows down.
- If you haven’t repotted the plant in some time, repot it using fresh potting soil labelled for tropical plants. The new container should be only slightly larger than the existing one as hibiscus bloom best when slightly crowded in the pot.
- Prune the plant now to encourage new stem growth during the summer growing season. Flowers will blossom on new wood.
- Prune the plant regularly to maintain its shape by cutting back about a third of the longest branches every four to six weeks. Make the cuts above outward-facing buds to encourage outward growth.
More information on hibiscus leaf loss can be found in these articles: