How to Grow & Care for Hibiscus


The hibiscus is a large deciduous shrub that's grown for its brightly colored flowers that are trumpet-shaped with long stamens and can grow up to 6 inches in diameter. The blooms vary in color from bright yellow to deep red. Hibiscus shrubs can grow up to 15 feet tall in warm-winter regions, often planted as individual specimens or as hedges. Some hibiscus species are tropical, while other species are slightly hardier. For the most part, however, hibiscus plants are sensitive to frosts and freezes.

Step 1

Water your hibiscus once or twice each week when rainfall is less than 1 inch. Water the hibiscus deeply to thoroughly wet the soil down to and around the roots, keeping the soil moist at all times.

Step 2

Feed your hibiscus once every two weeks from spring until fall with a water-soluble shrub fertilizer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Step 3

Prune your hibiscus shrubs while they're actively growing to remove any crowded, dead, damaged or unsightly branches back to right above a side shoot. You can also trim to shape the hibiscus, but never remove more than one-quarter to one-third of the total growth in a single pruning.

Step 4

Remove all old, faded flowers from your hibiscus shrub when they're finished blooming and before they grow seed heads. Doing so will encourage re-blooming of the hibiscus plant.

Step 5

Protect your hibiscus shrubs in winter when temperatures dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the hibiscus with a blanket or cut the old stems back to the ground in fall to encourage new stems to grow the following spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant a tall hibiscus in a location where it's exposed to high winds. Tall hibiscus shrubs grow best in areas that are protected from winds, because their long stems are susceptible to breakage. Watch out for aphids, mealybugs and whiteflies infesting your hibiscus. If you detect any pests, apply an appropriate insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to get rid of the insect infestation, following the directions on the label.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Water-soluble shrub fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Blanket


  • National Gardening Association: Plant Care Guides -- Hibiscus
  • Clemson University Extension: Hibiscus

Who Can Help

  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service: Hibiscus
Keywords: grow hibiscus shrub, hibiscus care, plant hibiscus

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.