How to Care for Hibiscus Plants

Hibiscus blooms appear in mid- to late summer.
Hibiscus blooms appear in mid- to late summer. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Hibiscus plants come in both annual and perennial varieties. Some are low-growing, reaching heights of only 2 feet while others grow up to 8 feet. The flowers also vary in size, with some varieties boasting blooms nearly as big as dinner plates. Hibiscus grows best in full sun, although they can tolerate some shade. Frequent watering is necessary to promote long-lasting, abundant blooms.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Organic compost
  • Garden spade
  • 20-20-20 fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

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Loosen the soil at the planting location to a depth of 12 inches. Add 2 to 3 inches of organic compost and mix well with the turned soil.

Dig a planting hole the same depth and 4 to 5 inches wider than the plant's root system. Plant the hibiscus at the same level it was growing in its nursery container.

Water until the soil is moist 12 to 18 inches deep. Continue to add moisture anytime the top inch of soil feels dry during the first month after planting. Once established, water whenever there has been less than 1 inch of rainfall in a week.

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants. Keep the mulch at least 4 inches from plant's base.

Feed once every two to three weeks with 20-20-20 fertilizer mixed at half the recommended strength. Stop fertilizing in early fall if you are growing perennial hibiscus.

Clip off damaged foliage, drooping growth and rubbing branches as they are noticed.

Prune perennial hibiscus to control size and shape in early spring.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant tall hibiscus varieties in a location that is protected from strong winds.
  • Propagate hibiscus from seeds or cuttings.


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