The hardy hibiscus, or rose of Sharon, is tolerant of far lower temperatures than its tropical cousins in the Hibiscus genus of plants. Hibiscus syriacus succeeds as far north as Iowa and southern Illinois (USDA climate zone 5) and is often grown as a perennial flowering hedge. It also makes a nice potted plant, with its pink flowers adding color and interest to outdoor porches and deck areas. This relatively carefree plant might help to convince you that you have a green thumb after all.
Things You'll Need
Pot with drainage hole
Purchase a young hardy hibiscus at your local nursery or garden supply store. Also purchase a pot with a drainage hole; choose an attractive pot that complements your outdoor decor and that is at least 2 inches larger in diameter than the nursery pot your hibiscus is in.
Fill your pot with a good-quality, all-purpose potting soil to a level that will allow your hibiscus to sit comfortably on the soil surface. Then take your hibiscus from its nursery pot and set it into the larger pot.
Fill your pot to within 1/2 inch of the top with additional potting soil, patting it down gently around the base of your plant. Then water it until the water drains out the pot's hole.
Keep your potted hardy hibiscus in a sunny area year-round. Water it when the soil becomes dry.
Fertilize your hibiscus once a month during its active growing season with a plant food having a 7-2-7 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Do not fertilize it in winter.
Prune your potted hibiscus to keep it compact and tidy. Be diligent in keeping dead branches cut back and also trim long, stray or gangly branches back to the main stem. For optimum flowering, leave two or three nodes on each healthy branch. If your plant suffers frost damage, cut it back to healthy growth in spring.
Although it is possible to start hardy hibiscus plants from seed, your hibiscus will bloom sooner if you begin with a bedding plant.