How to Treat a Hibiscus Plant


The glossy foliage and brightly colored blossoms of the hibiscus shrub add a tropical flair to any backyard. The warmth-loving shrubs can be grown anywhere the temperature doesn't drop below 30 degrees F, according to the University of Florida, with the University of Minnesota suggesting an optimal temperature of 65 to 75 degrees F. Whether you grow your plants indoors or outdoors, provide the hibiscus plant with the treatment it needs to experience optimal growth.

Step 1

Choose a gardening site. Hibiscus plants need a minimum of half a day of full sunlight, according to the University of Florida. Anything less, and the hibiscus plant may have lackluster foliage and poor blossom production.

Step 2

Prepare the gardening space where your hibiscus plant will grow. Hibiscus thrive in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic content. If growing hibiscus in the ground, mix 3 to 4 inches of aged compost into the gardening area. If growing hibiscus in a pot, the University of Minnesota recommends a potting mixture made of 1 part peat moss, 1 part potting soil and 1/2 part vermiculite or perlite.

Step 3

Water the hibiscus plant. The University of Florida recommends watering it once every seven days, using enough water to moisten the dirt at a depth of approximately 1 foot.

Step 4

Fertilize the hibiscus plant to ensure adequate foliage growth and flower production. The University of Minnesota recommends feeding outdoor hibiscus plants every couple of weeks during the summer growing season, applying a 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer at 50 percent the recommended strength listed on its label. Indoor plants need less feeding, with the university suggesting fertilization every four weeks.

Step 5

Prune the hibiscus plant every spring, because flowers are only produced on new growth, according to the University of Florida. Trim with pruning shears, slicing off the ends of the branches at a point just past a leaf bud (the knob on a branch where leaves emerge). Hibiscus plants are hardy and you can trim them into any shape or form that you wish.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Potting soil
  • Vermiculite or perlite
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Pruning shears


  • "Hibiscus: Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden"; Barbara Lawton; 2004
  • University of Minnesota: Hibiscus
  • University of Florida: Hibiscus in Florida
  • North Dakota State University: Questions on Hibiscus

Who Can Help

  • International Hibiscus Society
  • American Hibiscus Society
Keywords: growing hibiscus plants, hibiscus plant care, raising hibiscus plants

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.