Hibiscus Care & Maintenance

Overview

There are nearly 300 species in the hibiscus group of plants, according to information published by the University of Minnesota. These range from tropical plants to perennials, and from wildflowers to neat, cultivated shrubs. Some are frost-hardy, while others die in freezing temperatures. Many are continuous bloomers. Something they do have in common are gorgeously large, brightly-colored flowers and the same basic culture requirements.

Soil

Plant container hibiscus flowers in nutrient-rich potting soil. The planting medium should contain some peat moss or other organic materials, as well as some perlite to aid in drainage. The soil for in-ground hibiscus plants should be well-draining. Amend poor soil with peat moss and coarse sand or perlite.

Light

Hibiscus is one plant that will thrive in full sunlight, whether indoors or outdoors, according to information published by the University of Minnesota. This is also true whether the plant is a perennial hibiscus or tropical plant. The more sun exposure hibiscus plants receive, the better the growth and bloom production.

Water

Hibiscus plants need plenty of water in order to thrive. Some cultivars can even tolerate periods of flooding, but the vast majority prefer soil that is allowed to dry slightly between each watering. In fact, overly saturated soil can cause root rot, according to information published by Clemson University. If the plant begins to wilt, it needs to be watered more frequently. Newly planted hibiscus bushes need more frequent watering than those that are established.

Temperature

Hibiscus plants vary widely in their temperature hardiness. Tropical hibiscus plants cannot tolerate cold climates at all and will die if exposed to temperatures below freezing. Perennial hibiscus plants will die down to the ground after the first hard freeze, but will grow again the next spring. Indoor hibiscus plants, which are always of the tropical variety, should be kept in warm temperatures averaging in the high 60s to low 70s degrees Fahrenheit. They should not be placed near any hot or cold drafts.

Fertilizer

Hibiscus plants need lots of food in order to thrive, according to information published by the University of Minnesota. Feed every two or three weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20 or 10-10-10), but use only half the dose recommended on the label for the size and age of your plant, recommends the University of Minnesota. Indoor plants should only be fed once a month during the growing season. Both indoor and outdoor plants should only receive one or two feedings during the winter.

Pruning

Maintain the look of your hibiscus by pruning it in late winter. This will give it a fuller shape, according to information published by the University of Minnesota. These plants can tolerate heavy pruning, so don't be afraid to really cut them back if you want a smaller shrub.

Keywords: growing hibiscus shrubs, hibiscus maintenance, hibiscus plant care

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.