No other flowering plant quite represents the tropics as the hibiscus and its large, colorful blooms. Landscapes located in warm areas of the United States utilize the hibiscus to add year-round color to their flower beds. Gardeners living in USDA planting zones five through 11 have choices in the native rose mallows, or the Hibiscus mocheutos, to the tropical hibiscus, or Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, preferring the warmest growing conditions. Hibiscus plants have multiple uses in the landscape from specimens, hedges to sprucing up containers.
Hibiscus plants grow quite well inside of containers and work well for gardeners living in cooler regions of the United States where frosts and freezes are an annual event. Gardeners can bring containers inside to a warm location when cold weather approaches. It is best to grow the hibiscus inside a container that drains and in a well-draining, organically based potting medium. So frequent repotting is not necessary, it is recommended to plant the hibiscus into a container that is approximately three times larger than the root ball. The container should be places in a sunny area for best blooms and growth and be watered one to two times per week depending on local weather conditions.
If your landscape is in need of a colorful specimen, add a hibiscus to the area. Hibiscus plants are trainable through pruning to be tree-like. By removing the lower branches flush to the main stem, you can create a main trunk. Depending on the cultivar, hibiscus plants grow anywhere from 6 to 15 feet in height, making them suitable for creating a medium-sized tree. Plants take well to pruning, so gardeners can prune the canopy to a desired shape allowing the hibiscus to become fuller and produce more blooms. They work well in areas receiving partial to full sun and require weekly watering for best growth and blooms.
Due to the hibiscus plants noninvasive root system, they work well planted inside of pool areas desiring year-round color and a tropical feeling. Plants have one to two main roots that are relatively shallow. An extra benefit to using hibiscus plants inside of pool areas is they are relatively mess-free, shedding very little. Gardeners should select a cultivar that does not grow large so frequent pruning is not necessary. As with all areas where hibiscus plants are growing, weekly watering is required for best growth and blooms.
Hibiscus plants work well for gardeners desiring a colorful hedge or screening plant. With some cultivars growing 15 feet high and having a spreading habit of 10 feet, the fast-growing hibiscus is suitable for hedges in warm areas that do not experience annual frosts or freezes, as the plant is cold hardy to 28 degrees F. Gardeners should consider the particular cultivars spreading habit when figuring out how far to space each plant. For example, cultivars that grow approximately 5 feet wide should be spaced approximately 4 feet apart in the landscape. Frequent pruning will create a fuller hedge and promote more blooms. Weekly watering of the hibiscus hedge is required for the best growth and blooms.