Growing Hibiscus &
Caring for Hibiscus Plants Organically

Growing Hibiscus plants will reward you with wonderful flowering forms that can be grown in containers or your outdoor bed borders. Plant as single specimen plants or as a wildlife-friendly hedge that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii and blooms are often strung together as leis that are warn around the neck.

Growing Hibiscus: Plant Snapshot

Growing Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus (Hibiscus)
  • Annual or perennial? Perennials (some tender varieties)
  • Recommended varieties (by color):
    • Lavender: Oiseau Bleu
    • Pink: Woodbridge
    • Purple: PlumCrazy
    • Red: Coccineus
    • White: Diana, Blue River II
  • Recommended USDA Hardiness zones: 04a to 11a
  • Mature Height: 36 to 120 inches (91 to 305 cm) depending on variety
  • Mature Spread: 24 to 120 inches (61 to 305 cm) depending on variety
  • Sun Requirements: partial shade, partial for full sun
  • Blooming season: mid & late summer, early & mid fall
  • Cold tolerance (tender varieties only): Half-Hardy - can tolerate cold, wet, damp weather but can be damaged or killed by frost.
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Growing Hibiscus: Hibiscus Propagation from Seed, Transplanting and/or Root Division

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

The following resources offer effective, healthy and/or well-rounded options. Click the links to go there now...

Soak hibiscus seed overnight before sowing. Plant 1 inch (2.5cm) deep in your own sieved compost or a nutrient-rich organic seed starting mix. Water lightly and place in a bright area with good ventilation. Repot when at least two sets of real leaves have appeared. As it grows, nip out the top growth to promote a bushy shape.

It’s possible to take tip and hardwood cuttings from hibiscus. For tip cuttings, choose a healthy stem and cut at 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15cm). Dip in an organic rooting gel and push into a pot filled with a nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Place in a warm, bright place avoiding full sun. Keep moist.

Snapshot: Planting Hibiscus Perennial

  • Germination soil temperature: 55-64 degrees F (13-18 C)
  • Distance between plants: about 3 to 6 feet apart (90 to 180 cm)
  • Planting depth: 2 to 4 inch(es) (5 to 10cm)
  • Days to germination: 15 to 30 days
  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6 to 8
  • Root division information (perennials only):
    • Root system type (clumping, spreading, rhizome or tuber): spreading
    • Roots division frequency: Every 3 to 4 years
    • In which season should dividing occur? Spring only
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Caring for Hibiscus Plants, Pruning Hibiscus & Hibiscus Fertilizer

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

For effectice, healthy and/or well-rounded options, click the following links...

Use a stake driven 12 inches (30 cm) into the ground to support the growing plant, but be careful to not damage the roots. Tie the main stem of the plant to the support. This is to prevent wind rocking and give the plant a chance to anchor itself effectively.

Encourage bushy growth by pruning in late winter. Hibiscus pruning consists of cutting out any deadwood or crisscrossing stems. Make sure you use sharp shears, making an upward slanting clean cut an 1/8 inch (5 mm) above an outward pointing bud. Be careful not to overwater after pruning.

Hibiscus will benefit from a mulch of organic matter over winter. Be careful to leave a space where the plant enters the ground as mulching here may encourage root rot and other viruses.

Standard flower watering guidelines apply.

Snapshot: Hibiscus Plant Care

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Growing Hibiscus: Harvesting/Cutting Time

Hibiscus blooms are a florist’s dream as they last can last for short times without water. Pick early in the morning and place in the fridge to keep fresh if necessary. You only need two or three stems to create a lovely display for your table.

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Growing Hibiscus: Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye on the overall health of hibiscus plants, removing and destroying damaged leaves and stems before viruses take over your plants.

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Hibiscus Perennial (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Spider mites
  • Whiteflies

Diseases

  • Leaf spots
  • Root and collar rots
  • Viruses
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Hibiscus

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Hibiscus Perennial photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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