How to Grow Vibrant Hibiscus
Hibiscus blooms are some of the most stunning summer flowers.
Keep the soil surrounding the hibiscus moist but not soggy. For the first week after planting, water daily, tapering off to once every two days in the second week, and then about twice a week thereafter, when there is no rainfall. If the weather becomes especially hot and dry, water every other day. Avoid watering the foliage when irrigating hibiscus, as wet foliage can lead to foliar disease, such as mildew.4
Once hibiscus becomes established and new growth is seen, feed every two weeks with a fertilizer for blooming plants, such as Alaska Morbloom Fertilizer 0-10-10, which is designed to promote blooming and vigorous root growth. To ensure that hibiscus receives essential nutrients, also fertilize monthly with Alaska Pure Kelp Plant Food 0.13-0-0.60. To maintain dark-green foliage, applyPennington Epsom Salt monthly, as directed.1
Prune to Promote Blooming
Hibiscus blooms only last a day before closing and eventually falling off the plant. Keep the plant tidy by removing the spent blooms. For plants that you overwinter indoors or grow outdoors in a mild climate, prune the shrub back by one-third in late winter or early spring. Remove crossing and dead branches, and trim back the plant so that all of the stems are the same length.
Watch for Pests and Diseases
Hibiscus is susceptible to several pests and diseases. Insect pest damage to hibiscus includes premature dropping of flowers, failure to bloom and thrive overall, holes in leaves and petals, and a sticky substance on plants and nearby surfaces. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies.4
Check the hibiscus plant periodically for signs of pests and pest damage. Treat minor infestations by removing the pests with a strong spray of water. For recurring or more severe infestations, apply Worry Free Brand Insecticide and Miticide Ready To Use Dust.
Hibiscus are also susceptible to the leaf diseases, including gray mold (botrytis) and downy and powdery mildew.4 Such disorders cause white, gray or yellow splotches on leaves, and can lead to moldy buds that fall off before blooming. If symptoms appear, treat the plant with an appropriate fungicide.
Growing vibrant hibiscus that lights up your garden with blooms is a rewarding experience. Apply these planting and maintenance tips, and you can enjoy abundant, colorful blooms and healthy, vigorous hibiscus plants all summer long.
Total Time to Plant and Grow Hibiscus: 3-6 hours, depending on the number of plants.
Select and prepare a planting site: 3-5 hours
Plant: 1-3 hours
Maintain: 1 hour weekly
Effort rating on a scale of 1 to 4: 2 – Easy Does It
Always read the product label and follow the instructions carefully.
Lilly Miller, Worry Free and Alaska are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company. Pennington is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc.
1. “Tropical Hibiscus,” Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, July 2000.
2. “Vermicompost from pig manure grows healthy hibiscus,” American Society for Horticultural Science, December 17, 2009.
3. “Hibiscus,” National Gardening Association.
4. Don C. Wilkerson, et. al., “Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis),” AgriLife Extension Texas A&M System.
How to Plant And Care For Hibiscus
- Plant your hibiscus plants in any season except winter. Place them 3 to 6 feet (91.5 to 183 centimeters) apart, to give them room to spread out. Dig a hole and place the hibiscus roots in the hole. Water the plant thoroughly. Hibiscus can also grow indoors in flower pots.
- Water the plant when the soil feels dry. Don’t over water the hibiscus plant, as you may flood the roots. The hibiscus roots should be moist, not wet.
- Fertilize the hibiscus every two to three weeks with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. Steady feeding will keep your hibiscus healthy.
- Prune the hibiscus plant to maintain its shape. Cut the branch back just above its “eye” or side shoot to encourage multiple growths. Pinching off the tips of branches will also encourage multiple growths.
- Protect your hibiscus from cold weather. Hibiscus plants are very sensitive to the cold. If they’re inside, keep them in a warm place. If they’re outdoor plants, and the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), make sure to cover them well to insulate them from the cold. Leaving them uncovered may cause a delay in the spring blossoming.
- Protect your hibiscus from insects and bugs, using insecticide when necessary.
Friday, June 10, 2016 Hibiscus
Hibiscus Care Tips
Hibiscus add as much — if not more — tropical flair than any other plant. I love the way mine look around the edges of my back patio. Happily, hibiscus care is easy, too. You can enjoy their bold, beautiful blooms all summer long with these easy tips.
Start with Sun
Be sure to give your tropical hibiscus lots of sun. In fact, the more direct sun they get, the better they’ll bloom. At least 6 to 8 hours is optimal for prime flowering, but you can grow them in a little more shade (if you don’t mind seeing fewer flowers over the summer). Afternoon sun is stronger than morning sun, so a spot that has shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon should yield more flowers than a spot that has sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
Splash on Some Water
Watering is the most common question we get when it comes to hibiscus care. In general, add moisture when the top inch or so of the potting mix is dry to the touch. It’s best to water your hibiscus plants before the leaves start to wilt; once the plant starts to wilt, it’s stressed — and has less energy for flowering. A lot of folks ask us how much they should water their hibiscus. That’s a tough question because frequency of watering depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the plant and the size of its pot, the type of potting mix it’s growing in, how much sun it gets, and temperature. But you can’t go wrong with the guideline of watering when the top inch of the potting mix or soil is dry.
Get the Soil Right
While we tend to focus on the parts of the plant that we can see, it’s the root system that keeps everything running. So a key part of hibiscus care is making sure the roots are happy. Start with good soil. If you’re growing a hibiscus in the ground (garden or landscape), that means a moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter for best results. If you have soil that has a lot of sand or clay, add plenty of compost at planting time to optimize your hibiscus’ growth.
If you’re caring for your hibiscus in containers, then avoid garden soil. Instead, use a potting mix designed for use in containers. The product packaging should say “potting soil” or “potting mix” or “for container gardens.” Most potting mixes are primarily made of peat or coir (recycled coconut husks), which holds water well, but still allows for the roots to breathe. Other soil amendments help improve the potting mix. One common amendment is perlite, the little white pieces of puffed rock that help add air to the mix.
Fertilize Like a Pro
Ever wonder how much to fertilize your plant? That’s another common hibiscus care question we receive. Again, it depends, but this time the type of fertilizer you use matters. Timed- or slow-release fertilizers are easiest; you simply use them at the beginning of the season when you plant and they contribute small amounts of nutrients throughout the growing season. The effect is just like giving your plants regular snacks, keeping them well-fed and happy.
The other type of fertilizer delivers nutrients all at once, like hitting a buffet restaurant and is typically mixed with water. How often you use a water-soluble fertilizer like this depends on the brand and formulation. Always read and follow the directions on the product packaging to avoid issues with over fertilization.
Learn more about fertilizing.
Use these hibiscus care tips and you can enjoy gorgeous, colorful hibiscus in your favorite outdoor spaces!
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Light Requirements For Hibiscus – How Much Light Does A Hibiscus Need
Growing hibiscus plants is a great way to bring the tropics into your garden or home. But planting tropical plants in non-tropical climates can be tricky when it comes to light, water and temperature requirements. The amount of sunlight you get in your garden may not be what your new tropical plant is used to getting. Keep reading to learn more about light requirements for hibiscus plants, both indoors and out.
Light Requirements for Hibiscus
How much light does a hibiscus need? As a rule, a hibiscus plant needs about 6 hours of full sun per day in order to bloom to its fullest potential. It will still grow perfectly well in partial shade, but it won’t fill in as fully or bloom as spectacularly. The more light a hibiscus gets, the better it will bloom, up to a point.
There is such a thing as too much light, especially when it’s combined with hot and dry weather. If you live in an especially hot and sunny zone, your outdoor hibiscus will actually benefit from a little bit of shade, especially to protect it from the bright afternoon sun. This can be achieved well by the dappled shade of leafy trees planted to the southwest of the hibiscus.
Despite the light requirements for hibiscus plants, it’s possible to grow them indoors. You just have to make sure conditions are bright enough. Always place your container grown hibiscus in a south or southwest facing window where it can get the most light possible. Being positioned in a sunny window is usually enough to keep a hibiscus plant growing and blooming well. If you simply can’t meet hibiscus light requirements from sunlight alone indoors, you can always supplement with artificial lights.
And that’s basically the gist of it. Keeping your hibiscus healthy and happy is easy when you provide what it needs – adequate water, warm temperatures and plenty of light.