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Learn About Hibiscus Plant Care

Hibiscus plants add a high impact and tropical vibes to any patio or garden landscape.  They are perennial favorites with glossy, broad leaves and continuously producing exotic blooms that only last for one day. While they thrive in sultry regions, they can be grown in colder climates with proper care and protection.

When you learn about hibiscus plant care, the first thing to know is that hibiscus plants are easy to grow. The selection of colors and hibiscus flower varieties allows gardeners to impact their garden spaces dramatically. Check out our hibiscus plant care tips so that you can get the most out of these vibrant tropical gems for many years to come.

Hibiscus syriacus with water drops.

Hibiscus Soil Composition and pH

Use a well-draining loamy and sandy soil when planting your hibiscus plants. The ideal pH level should measure between 6.0 to 7.0. Use mulch to regulate soil temperature and retain moisture. As the plant matures, it may need to be repotted to ensure adequate growing space. This should be done every two to three years, but the pot should never be too big for the root ball. Hibiscus plants like to have a cozy root system.

Water and Nutrients for Hibiscus Plants

An additional thing to learn about hibiscus plant care is that hibiscus plants need a plentiful water supply throughout their root systems. They are not drought-tolerant plants, particularly when they are flowering. Check the soil daily and make sure that it is consistently moist.

Just as hibiscus are thirsty plants, they also crave nutrients. For show stopping blooms and a plant that will thrive for many years, fertilize plants with ‘Organics Palm, Tropical & Hibiscus Fertilizer’ once a month and water the plant in well. It can be used for indoor and outdoor hibiscus plants and contains these vital components for successful growth.

  • It contains beneficial microbes to build life in the soil
  • Added mycorrhizae for healthy root development and nutrient uptake
  • Feeds plants for several months
  • Use care not to fertilize your hibiscus too frequently; however, this will most likely promote lush green foliage and a reduction in blooms.
Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Flower on Tree in the Garden.

Light and Temperature for Hibiscus Plants

Hibiscus care requires gardeners to provide full sun exposure and warm temperatures to grow. If the plant or tree does not receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight, it may not bloom. Container plants can be placed in a sunny window or outside on a patio or balcony.

These tropical bloomers can withstand short dips into the low 40s but prefer temperatures that remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If potted, during the summer months, your hibiscus plant can go outside, but once the weather starts to get near freezing, it’s time for you to bring your hibiscus indoors.

Pruning the Hibiscus

The pruning routine for a perennial like hibiscus will depend on what climate you are growing your hibiscus plant. Traditionally, it is optimal to prune plants and trees about 1/3 of the way with pruning shears in the fall for both container and in-ground plants. However, a hardy variety grown in colder climates will die back completely to the soil level and regrow from new shoots each year. In this case, cut back the stalks to the base during the fall months.

Hibiscus Plant Pests and Disease

Hibiscus plants are primarily free from pests and disease if basic hibiscus plant care is given.

  • They can be prone to yellowing leaves if soil is allowed to become soggy or if the plant is subjected to excessive dryness.
  • In tropical climates, too much direct sun can cause sunburn on plant leaves during the summer months.
  • Container planting enables gardeners to relocate plants if temperatures threaten to dip too low or if lighting conditions change.
  • Aphids and Red Spider Mites are common pests of the hibiscus plant but can usually be kept at bay with the right soil conditions and a hose’s sharp spray.
Hibiscus garden at sunset.

Recommended Hibiscus Varieties

There are hundreds of varieties of hibiscus plants that have flowers that boast seemingly endless color variations. Many types of hibiscus plants should be grown only in tropical climates, while others are hardy in Planting Zones 4-9, but you may need to provide them with row covers and mulch for protection in colder areas. With a proper hibiscus plant care regimen, these lush garden sensations will give you years of vigorous blooms.

Check out some of these perennial favorites.

  •  ‘Cranberry Crush’
  • ‘Luna Pink Swirl’
  • ‘Red Darling’
  • ‘Hula Girl’
  • ‘Erin Rachel’
  • ‘Texas Star’
  • ‘Luna Rose,’ ‘Luna Red,’ and ‘Luna White’
  • ‘Rose of Sharon’
  • ‘Blue Chiffon’

Using Cuttings to Grow More Hibiscus Plants

Hibiscus plants are excellent candidates for propagation from stem cuttings. After a stem has bloomed, snip it about 7 inches down, right below a leaf notch. Remove the leaves from the bottom of the stem and place the branch in clean water in a sunny spot. Change water every few days. When the stem grows roots, plant it in a small pot and use the hibiscus plant care regimen as described above. Before you know it, you will have a garden full of prolific bloomers.


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close up of red hibiscus flower.
close up of pink hibiscus flower with water droplets.

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