Hibiscus plants are beautiful flowering shrubs. 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.
Planting From Cuttings
Another option is to use cuttings. Trim the cutting just below where the leaf grows.
Apply rooting hormone to the bottom of the cutting. Then place the cutting in soil until roots grow. This should take approximately 4 weeks. Make sure to keep the soil moist.
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.
Tips to Make Your Hibiscus Bloom
Now, you may have successfully planted your hibiscus plant, but you realize it has no flowers. There are a few tips you can use to encourage it to bloom:
- Use compost-rich soil. This will provide the nutrients necessary for the plant to flower.
- Deadhead consistently. This involved plucking wilted or faded blooms.
- Provide enough fertilizer and water after fertilizing.
- Move the plant to a sunnier spot if necessary. If your plant does not receive enough sun, it is unlikely to bloom.
- Water the plants until moist. Avoid overwatering and do not let the plant wilt.
One way of enriching your compost is to add coffee grounds to it.
Using Coffee Grounds as Compost
Coffee grounds are an additional nutrient that benefits most plants, especially acidic plants. They make an excellent organic compost with a high nitrogen content which allows materials to break down.
You can also use them in vermicomposting. This is the use of worms to breakdown compost.
Do not feed your worms coffee by itself as it could be harmful. Mix it with other kitchen waste like banana peels and vegetable scraps.
You can make your own mulch but be careful not to lay down too much of it. An excessive amount will harm your plants.
For indoor hibiscus, pour a small number of coffee grounds on top of the potting soil. Do not overdo it as it will make the soil too acidic and could prevent the plant from receiving the water it needs.
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.
Our professional guidance at the Gardening Channel will get you started.