Hibiscus plants are beautiful flowering bushes that also have medicinal benefits. With their large, trumpet-shaped flowers, hibiscus plants make for a bright addition to any garden.
A quirk of this plant is its extremely short blooming life. It usually opens up early in the morning and will wilt by late afternoon.
This may make you think the plants are dying. Worry not, new blooms follow a few days later.
If you’re thinking of growing hibiscus plants, they can thrive in your garden and you may also plant hibiscus indoors.
Keep reading for the most comprehensive tips and advice.
Types of Hibiscus Plants
There are over 200 types of hibiscus plants, and it’s not easy to differentiate them simply from the flower. They can, however, be divided into four broad categories.
Let’s explore each one to help you choose which will work best in your garden.
Usually found in warm, tropical areas, these plants cannot stand cold temperatures.
Known as Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, tropical hibiscus produce large, attractive flowers. Many people prefer growing tropical hibiscus plants indoors.
With a long staminal column, this hibiscus flower has a ruffled edge with dark green foliage.
Also known as rose mallows, they thrive in wetlands and can survive drier areas. There are about 35 species in the United States.
They can be identified by their long, jagged leaves and they usually flower in mid-summer.
Compared to their tropical relatives, these are tolerant of cold temperatures and they bloom in a variety of colors.
Rose of Sharon is the most popular plant with its large flowers. Hardy and tropical hibiscus flowers can be white, red, pink, or purple.
This type of hibiscus is not grown for its beauty, but rather the taste. This is the type that is used to make hibiscus tea using the leaves and calyces.
Tips to Growing Hibiscus
Depending on the type of hibiscuses you plant, the process may differ.
Here’s how to grow stunning hibiscus plants.
Choose the Correct Location
- Choose a garden area with full sun. These plants require a minimum of six hours of full sun daily.
- To be healthy, they require a temperature of 45°F. Grow hibiscus indoors if you live in colder areas.
- The leaves of hibiscus plants are very delicate so protect them from strong winds.
Prepare Your Soil
- Every hibiscus plant, especially tropical hibiscus, requires rich, red soil.
- Make sure to fertilize with compost or worm castings. A study shows that hibiscus grown in worm castings are healthier.
- When growing hibiscus in a pot, make sure to use a well-draining pot to drain the water.
Planting From a Grown Hibiscus Plant
- You can buy mature or young hibiscus from most nurseries.
- Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and about three times as wide.
- After inserting the root ball, fill the hole with garden soil until halfway full.
- Water well and allow the soil to settle.
- Fill up the hole and place a one-inch layer of worm castings.
- Water well until fully moistened.
- Space each plant at least 3-feet from the next one.
Planting From Seeds
- If you are planting using seeds, soak them in warm water for an hour.
- Do not plant until after the last expected frost date.
- Sow the seeds in well-fertilized soil at ¼ inch deep.
- Keep the soil moist and you can expect shoots between 2-3 weeks.
How To Care For Your Hibiscus
After planting you obviously want to promote healthy growth and lots of blooms. Here are a few tips to keep your plant in tip-top shape.
With the hibiscus flowering, it needs a lot of water, especially in the hotter months. As it cools down, it will require less water. Be careful not to overwater tropical hibiscus as that could kill them.
If you choose to use a store-bought fertilizer, your plant can survive on four doses per year. Space them out as follows:
- Early spring
- After the first buds sprout
- In midsummer
- In early winter
After fertilizing, water the ground well to avoid root burns.
Mulching is good for the hibiscus flower as it keeps the roots cool. Clear the area and apply 3-inches away from the plant stem.
Prune your plants in early spring to promote the growth of new blooms. Do not prune them in winter as the cold could damage the plant.
Pests can ruin all your hard work and you could lose your plants. Some of the common pests include:
- Aphids: These insects suck juices from the foliage. You can control them with insecticides and horticultural oil.
- Whiteflies: They are usually found on the underside of leaves. Deter them with insecticides, sticky traps, or horticultural soap.
- Thrips: These are extremely harmful as they lay eggs inside buds causing them to fall off. Control them horticultural oil.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus
Not only is it a beautiful plant, but hibiscus also has a number of health benefits. The specific type of hibiscus used in these cases is the roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa.
To make tea, use the hibiscus flowers or sepals which you can dry, or use fresh. See the full recipe here.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of hibiscus.
- Lowers high blood pressure:
A study has shown that hibiscus reduces high blood pressure.
Participants in the study drank three servings of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks. They showed a significant reduction in their systolic blood pressure.
- Lowers cholesterol:
Research shows consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa decreases cholesterol.
In people with high cholesterol, two capsules of Rosette were administered. After tests had been done, results showed that cholesterol levels had lowered.
- Aids in weight loss:
A study has shown that hibiscus aids in reducing body weight and overall BMI.
The study gave 36 participants either hibiscus or a placebo. The test group showed reduced lower body fat and waist-to-hip ratio.
- Helps with hair growth:
You can make a hair growth formula at home by mixing coconut oil with a paste of fresh hibiscus leaves and the flower.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the best hibiscus plant variety to use in this case. Rub this in and leave to set on your hair for 30 minutes, then wash off with a normal shampoo.
Are You A Garden Enthusiast?
Why not begin your journey to growing your own hibiscus? You can enjoy varieties of tropical hibiscus and reap its many health benefits.