Care and Culture of Hibiscus


Today we’re going to be talking about Hibiscus; in particular about Tropical Hibiscus. This is the genus rosa-sinensis of the Hibiscus family. There are many forms of rosa-sinensis in the trade, and they’ve been hybridized for a very long time. And the coloration of the flowers is really extraordinary. There’s so much diversity in the color, it could take years for one to collect or even become familiar with the amount of beauty that is found within this genus. So, the genus Hibiscus is a large family of plants that are found throughout the world. We have some that actually are in the temperate areas, but many of them grow in the tropical areas, and as I mentioned, there has been a great deal of hybridization on these. What we’re talking about today are some of the fancy-flowered Hibiscus; this is a variety called ‘The Path.’ It’s an older cultivar, but has never lost its glamour or en-amour of the gardener, with the beautiful coloration of the flowers.

So, basically, we need to ask, “How do we grow these?” – and they’re actually quite easy to grow. The requirements for growing any Hibiscus, or any of the Mallow family plants, generally, is that they need a very high light level, and that means full-sun exposure. Where these grow in tropical areas, they always are used outside in plantings where there’s full sun exposure. So, as a container plant, that is what we want to grow them; in a bright, sunny window, outside in the summer time on a patio. In cultivating, them, along with sun, they are plants that actually prefer warmer temperatures.

Now, they can take short dips down into the lower 40s, even 30s at times, but generally our rule of thumb is to keep them above 60 degrees. The soil needed for grow them is generally a standard potting mix. Here at Logee’s, we use a peat lite mix; they do fine with that. We’ll talk a little about fertilizer in a minute, but, generally, a well-draining mix. Peat moss, perlite, vermiculite; maybe some compost added. Also part of culture, is water. And watering of Hibiscus is pretty simple. Allow the soil to become visually dry, like we do with most of our plants, and then thoroughly saturate the soil. A little will never hurts; actually, a little wilt is good. Don’t let them go into a severe wilt. And remember that stress on a plant with dryness is reduced when you have proper fertilization. So, you get less damage even if you do forget to water it, if your plants are fertilized properly.

An elevated phosphorus level — that’s the middle number, where you might have a 7-9-5 — can help promote flowering on Hibiscus, but, generally, you want to make sure that you have a balanced fertilizer going into the plant throughout its growing season. They are relatively rapid-growing plants, so they do need to have a constant supply of fertilizer when grown in containers. Otherwise, the plants will actually yellow, slow down their growth, and your flower production will be reduced. So, thank you for watching today. There’s a little bit of information on how to grow some of these beautiful tropical gems. If you have more questions, or would like more information, you can find us online at

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