Hibiscus | How to Care for Hibiscus

Image of a healthy hibiscus plant in a greenhouse.

Hibiscus plants are tropical shrubs known for their large, colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers over a long season. The hibiscus plant’s exotic beauty is the way to attract attention to your garden, and it will make your yard look like a tropical paradise. But if you’ve come to this page, you’re interested in how to care for your hibiscus plants.

When you know how to care for hibiscus plants, you’ll be rewarded greatly with amazing flowers for long seasons. Although warm, humid conditions are ideal for tropical hibiscus, you can always grow hibiscus plants indoors in containers, if you are in a cool climate. It simply needs to have certain conditions met in order to thrive in your garden and your windowsill. 

There are so many different kinds of hibiscus to choose from when it comes down to flourish your garden. Ready to explore and find the right exotic beauty to showcase your sweet garden? Here’s what you need to know about hibiscus.


The Different Types of Hibiscus

There are over 200 different species of hibiscus plants, but luckily, many of the species of hibiscus can be separated into four 5 different categories: hardy and tropical specimens, native plants, annuals, and perennials.

  1. Hardy hibiscus: These are mid-size hibiscus shrubs created from some of our most beautiful North American wildflowers. These cold-tolerant, perennial shrubs can be just as beautiful as their tropical counterparts, with big showy blooms in a range of colors. Rose of Sharon is the most common tropical hibiscus in this family.
  2. Tropical hibiscus: These are summer-blooming plants that grow well in containers or in your garden. Potted hibiscus are bold flowering plants that add dramatic beauty to your home. Also, decorate them as focal points to accent your garden or your outdoor wall. These can be very large and showy, with bright and rich colors. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the most common tropical hibiscus in this family.
  3. Native hibiscus: Also known as rose mallows, there are about 35 different species and the scarlet rose mallow is the most common native hibiscus in this family. Its beautiful white or pink flowers bloom from mid-summer through early autumn. The leaves can grow to 8 inches in length and it grows as high as 7 feet tall.
  4. Annual hibiscus: These are not true annuals, but they are tropical and can be grown as annuals in slightly cooler climates. The former comes with a variety of colors, while red leaf is grown mainly for its deep red foliage.
  5. Perennial hibiscus: These are shrubs, which can range from smaller, dwarf varieties to large, tree-like bushes. The perennial hibiscus may be hardy or tropical, and include Rose of Sharon, scarlet swamp hibiscus, rose mallow, and confederate roses. They bloom from early summer to autumn or frost.

Image of a pink hibiscus flower in full bloom.


How to Plant Hibiscus 

The best location for a hibiscus plant is a sunny area with well-drained soil. Hibiscus requires six to eight hours of direct sun daily in order to thrive, and also does very well in containers. It requires temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So, container growing indoors in the winter is also an option. Perennial hibiscus grows best in moist soil that never completely dries out (it requires a bit more water than tropical hibiscus). If you have a low spot in the garden, perennial hibiscus is an excellent bet for mid- to late-season color.


How to Fertilize Hibiscus

Tropical hibiscus is a warm weather plant. Plant in spring, summer, or fall, spacing plants 4 to 6 feet apart. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. Carefully remove the hibiscus from its nursery container and put the bush in the planting hole. Backfill the planting hole halfway, and then water well to settle the plant and eliminate any air pockets. Finish filling the hole and pat down the soil gently. Apply PRO ORGANIC Tree & Shrub Food around the base of the plant, and then water again until the soil and PRO ORGANIC Tree & Shrub Food are well moistened.

The fertilizing process is an important step in how to care for hibiscus plants.


How to Water Hibiscus

Hibiscus needs moist soil to grow and it can’t survive in wet soil. So, it needs to be well drained. If the plant is under-watered, then it is possible that the blooming process would stop, since this is a method to protect the roots of the plant. All hibiscus plants need to be watered twice a week for the first growing season and once a week during the second growing season and beyond. Tropical hibiscus plants that are planted in containers need to be kept moist all the time, so you should water them 3 to 4 times a week.


How to Fertilize Hibiscus

Once hibiscus becomes established and growing rapidly, choosing the right plant food is the most important key to your growing success. Beginning a month after planting, feed every two weeks with PRO ORGANIC Tree & Shrub Food to promote colorful blooming and vigorous root growth. Also, spray with PRO ORGANIC All Purpose Spray directly onto their leaves, it will maximize the great result on color and cell development. This is called foliar feeding.


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