How to Care for Hibiscus Plants & Soil


Hibiscus shrubs encompass a wide range of plant types and climates, from evergreen to deciduous, tropical to temperate. There are so many different species of hibiscus that they can be grown in almost any climate save those that are very cold. Most, however, grow best in frost-free zones, according to information published by the University of Arkansas. Desirable for their large, brightly-colored blooms, hibiscus plants also attract butterflies and hummingbirds. While these showy beauties can vary in their specifics of care according to type, the basic culture of hibiscus plants and their soil is consistent even across the different species.

Step 1

Amend the soil with organic materials such as leaf mold before planting your hibiscus. These shrubs grow best in soil that is rich in nutrients, according to information published by Clemson University. In addition, make sure you choose a planting site with very well-draining soil. Hibiscus shrubs do not grow well in very soggy soil and can suffer from root rot if the soil is overly wet.

Step 2

Choose a sunny location for your hibiscus. Even the non-tropical species thrive with exposure to at least six, but preferably more, hours of full sunlight per day.

Step 3

Water the soil enough so that it is consistently damp, but not soaking wet. These plants require a minimum of 1 inch of water per week, according to information published by the National Gardening Association. If these plants do not receive this in the form of rain, they should be irrigated.

Step 4

Fertilize your hibiscus every other week with a fertilizer formulated for flowering shrubs. Monitor often for insect pests, especially on container-grown hibiscus plants, and treat with an insecticidal spray or oil if necessary.

Step 5

Prune your hibiscus plant back by a third after the flowers have faded. This will encourage the plant to bloom again.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant hibiscus plants in windy locations, as they have long stems which will easily break in strong winds, according to information published by Clemson University.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic materials or compost
  • Watering tools
  • Pruning tools
  • Flowering shrub fertilizer


  • University of Arkansas: Hibiscus
  • National Gardening Association: Hibiscus
  • Clemson University: Hibiscus

Who Can Help

  • North Dakota State University: Questions on Hibiscus
Keywords: care of hibiscus, hibiscus soil care, growing hibiscus plants

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.