My hibiscus has developed a serious problem


We have a beautiful hibiscus that we bought with three intertwined stems. We brought it in last winter and took it out this week. Terrible white spots turned most of the leaves silver. It is crazy. What happened to it and Can it be fixed


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

From your photo it appears as if your plant is scorched from too much sun too quickly. Sunlight and wind are one of the biggest factors contributing to plant shock once plants are moved outside in the summer. The intensity of sunlight outdoors is far greater than what the plants have experienced all winter long. In order to make this transfer more successful and with the least amount of plant stress, you shouldn’t place any houseplant in direct sunlight outdoors. Instead the plants need to undergo a “hardening off” process.

“Hardening off” is the process of slowly transitioning plants from a protected indoor environment to outdoor conditions of fluctuating temperatures, and exposure to sun and wind.  This gradual introduction to the elements allows plants to build up root structures, accumulate carbohydrates, reduce water in the plant, and to thicken cell walls.

For most plants, this process should take place over about ten days to two weeks. Initially, plants should be placed in a shaded and protected area  for two or three hours.  Over the hardening period gradually increase the time the plants are exposed to the sun and wind by moving them into a sunnier spot for a few hours, in the morning or late afternoon, for a bit longer each day.