Every Reason Why Your Hibiscus Buds are Not Opening

Have you ever noticed that hibiscus buds never seem to open fully? That they start developing properly but then turn brown and drop off before opening? Or maybe you just see all the petals hanging down, even though the bud is ripe.

There are several reasons for this, so let’s take a closer look at what might be happening.


1) Getting too much sun

Hibiscus Not Budding

If you look closely at the photo directly above, you’ll see that these buds were exposed to quite a bit of sunlight while they were still in development; some of them got scalded and the petals dropped off.

2) Exposure to cold, wet weather

If the buds get exposed to cold or rain when they are nearly ripe, some of them will turn brown and drop off. This can also happen if you leave your hibiscus outside in cold weather for too long during the end of the season.  This can lead to the hibiscus buds not opening, or turning brown and falling off.

3) The flowers are not pollinated

Hibiscuses are usually pollinated by butterflies and bees. But a lot of times a large number of flowers will not get pollinated properly, or at all.

4) The buds are not mature enough

Hibiscus Buds

Sometimes the leaves start changing color quite early in the season but the flower doesn’t enlarge because it is still too small. This can happen when your plant doesn’t get enough nitrogen during the growing season.

5) The flower’s reproductive organs haven’t matured yet

Hibiscuses won’t form pollen before the stamen and pistil are mature, so if they are not pollinated by insects or hand pollinating at the right time, they might never develop any seeds. If you see small white bumps on the flower, it means the flowers are not yet mature and won’t produce seeds.


You can see how these five factors interact with one another and contribute to hibiscus buds not opening.  It’s possible for two or more of these conditions to be happening at once. But keep in mind that if you expose your hibiscus to cold or wet weather while they’re still developing, the flower will never get a chance to mature properly. If this happens, you’ll notice the petals turning brown and falling off when they are still green in color. So don’t spend time worrying about exposure to cold or rainfall when your hibiscus flowers are developing; if this happens, there’s nothing you can do except be patient and wait for the next flowers to grow.

A lot of times, these five factors are interrelated, so if you figure out what’s causing your particular problem(s) with your hibiscus plants it might be possible to fix them in one step.

Please keep in mind that this is not always possible; if the main reasons for your hibiscus dropping its petals are to do with sunlight, cold, wet weather or being exposed to too much winter weather in general, there’s not a lot you can do. One possible exception is if the flowers are getting cloudy white spots on them before they drop off; then you can definitely use fertilizers that contain nitrogen.


World’s Most Expensive Plants, Painted Lady Hibiscus