A Hibiscus plant is an outdoor plant in tropical and sub-tropical areas throughout the world. However, a hibiscus plant also does well as an indoor plant in warm, temperate climates. There are hundreds of varieties of hibiscus and all bloom indoors if cared for correctly. However, the flowers may be smaller than when the plant is grown outdoors. Many new hibiscus varieties are hybrids; this means they are grown from tissue cultures in greenhouses.
Hibiscus plants, upright, woody bushes with dark glossy maple-leaf shaped foliage, produce large, beautiful flowers in orange, red, yellow, pink, and white. The size of the blooms may be as small as 2” or as large as 10”-12.” A Hibiscus plant can be 1′-15′ in height depending on whether it’s growing in a pot or planted outside. Hibiscus plants also make beautiful topiaries and bonsai plants.
Hibiscus require very bright light and several hours of direct sun in order to bloom as indoor plants.
During the spring and summer, when a Hibiscus is actively growing, keep the soil moist but never soggy. In the fall and winter, allow the top 2” to dry out before watering.
Hibiscus need a great deal of plant food. Fertilize every two weeks in the spring and summer and monthly the rest of the year with a basic houseplant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.
Hibiscus Plants do well in temperatures between 65°-85°F (18.3°-29.4°C). If the temperature goes below 40°F (4.4°C) for a prolonged period of time, the new growth is ruined.
Hibiscus grow better and produce more flowers in high humidity.
Although Hibiscus plants produce large beautiful flowers, the blooms usually last for a day. Cool themperatures help the blooms last longer.
Hibiscus attract aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and spider mites. Spray frequently with a mild solution of warm soapy water to prevent insect and disease problems.
Leaf Spot and several other types of fungi may cause brown or black circular or irregular shaped spots on the leaves of Hibiscus plants.
Use a rich organic soil that holds the water but still drainsquickly. Hibiscus plants grow better if the soil is a little acidic so try adding a teaspoon of vinegar to your water once a month or watering with leftover tea.
Aggressively pinch and prune Hibiscus plants especially when they are small. By pruning one branch that’s blooming, you’ll be rewarded with three branches that bloom as the plant matures.
Propagate using stem cuttings or air layering. If using stem cuttings, try to put at least 15-20 cuttings into a 6” pot. i
Poisonous Plant Info
Hibiscus are non-poisonous plants.
Buds fall off a Hibiscus if the plant is stressed by a change in location, temperature, too much fertilizer, or water. The double bloom variety of Hibiscus plants is especially prone to bud drop.
The majority of the flowers on Hibiscus plants last just one day. There are a few Hibiscus varieties that have blooms that live 2 or 3 days. In cooler weather, Hibiscus flowers may last a little longer.
I would try something less harsh to get rid of Aphids such as the green solution (recipe in the Glossary), yellow sticky cards, or insecticidal soap. You may get rid of the Aphids by putting Hibiscus plants outside in cold temperatures, but you’ll also kill all the new growth and probably some of the mature leaves as well.
Using the right fertilizer is very important if you want Hibiscus plants to produce flowers. You may be using a plant food that has too much nitrogen and not enough potassium. The first number on the fertilizer label represents nitrogen, the second number phosphorous, and the third number potassium. 10-10-10 is a basic balanced plant food. Look for a fertilizer that is 10-5-15, one that is high in potassium. Also, giving a Hibiscus plant more sun, pruning them frequently, and keeping them root bound in smaller pots helps to produce more flowers.