How to Grow Hibiscus


Hibiscus plants are popularly grown for their massive, exotic flowers. These specimens can be grown as perennials, in containers or as evergreen shrubs. Their long growing season and colorful presentation make this a perfect addition to any landscape. With proper care these plants will product beautiful flowers year after year.

Things You'll Need

  • Hibiscus plant
  • Prepared planting area
  • Shovel or other digging tool
  • Fertilizer
  • Compost or other organic matter
  • Mulch
  • Anvil pruners

How to Grow Hibiscus

  • Purchase hibiscus plants that are greenhouse grown or from an experienced nursery. The plants should be green, with no visible signs of disease or distress. Hibiscus plants come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and have different growing patterns according to the species. Keep this in mind when selecting a variety for the desired location.

  • Choose a planting location. The hibiscus plant will thrive in shaded areas, but for maximum results choose a sunny location. Full sun will ensure maximum growth and a wealth of vibrant blooms all season. Be sure to plan adequate space for growth. Read the accompanying growing instructions for spacing requirements, as these will vary according to species.

  • Prepare the planting site by thoroughly weeding. Add a layer of organic matter or compost to the soil. The organic matter or compost should be mixed with the soil to ensure proper drainage. It is essential that hibiscus plants have plenty of drainage to prevent root rot or plant collapse.

  • Remove the hibiscus from the original growing container by gently tapping the sides while holding the stem. Use extra care not to bruise or damage the foilage, as this may make the plant more susceptible to disease.

  • Dig a hole in the prepared planting area. The hole should be slightly larger and deeper than the original container. This ensures that the roots will have room to become established. This is especially important during the first year in the plant's new location.

  • Plant the hibiscus by placing the plant into the hole at the same depth as the soil in the original growing container. Replace the soil around the plant by hand. Carefully firm the soil around the root ball until the plant is stable.

  • Add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant., being careful not to let the mulch touch the plant to avoid fungus. This step aids in water retention and also helps reduce weeds.

  • Water the plant thoroughly, preferably with a sprinkler or drip hose. Using too much water pressure may wash the soil mixture away, potentially exposing the roots. The plant will need water every two to three days depending on the climate.

  • Fertilize the hibiscus regularly. Follow the manufacturers instructions for recommended dosage.

  • Prune the plant at any time of year to encourage new growth. This also encourages air circulation and light to penetrate the interior of the plant. Dead or diseased stems should be removed by cutting at an angle well into the green, healthy part of the stem. The flowers may also be cut and enjoyed indoors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some Hibiscus varieties may need to be staked. When staking, be sure to loosely tie the plant with nylon to protect the stems.
  • If the plant is showing signs of insect infestation, spray with insecticide. Use extra caution when using insecticides and follow manufacturers' safety instructions.
  • Never let the plant dry out. This can cause the roots to die, and the plant may not recover.
  • Hibiscus plants need to be covered during cold nights, especially when there is danger of frost.

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