How to Plant a Hibiscus Plant

"Cupcake" hibiscus image by Photo by B. Fahs

Overview

No matter which climate zone you occupy, there is a hibiscus that will look great in your garden. With its long blooming season of tropical flowers that range from white to carmine red, hibiscus provides interest and beauty to your yard. Even in northern areas, you can grow a hibiscus in a pot, which you keep outdoors in the summer and move indoors for the colder months. The Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is popular in many climate zones, because it is one of the hardiest varieties of this large plant genus. Decide whether you want to grow your hibiscus in a pot or in the ground, prepare your materials and get started.

Planting in a Container

Step 1

Choose a large container that has a drainage hole.

Step 2

Mix potting soil with a little peat moss and vermiculite. For each gallon of soil, use about one cup of vermiculite.

Step 3

Fill your pot about half full of the soil mixture, and then remove your hibiscus from its nursery pot. Gently loosen the roots, and then place the plant in the pot and fill it to within 3/4 inch of the lip with additional potting mix.

Step 4

Move your completed plant to an area that receives sun six to eight hours each day, and then water it well.

Step 5

Fertilize your hibiscus frequently with a fertilizer having a 7-2-7 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash.

Planting In the Ground

Step 1

Choose the area where your hibiscus will live: Make sure it gets full sunlight---if you can, choose an area under the eaves of your house or garage to provide a little protection from wind and frost.

Step 2

Allow sufficient space between plants and between plants and structures such as your house or a fence. This will vary according to the variety you have chosen. For example, the Rose of Sharon hibiscus needs four to six feet between plants because it grows quite large and can spread considerably.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is larger than the root ball, and then mix in one shovelful of compost and peat moss, and about one cup of Perlite or Vermiculite, which will help to give it the drainage it needs.

Step 4

Put your plant into the hole, fill it with the soil you have dug out, tamp down the soil and then water it well.

Step 5

Fertilize your hibiscus regularly with a 7-2-7 fertilizer, and avoid giving it too much nitrogen, which can result in too much foliage and insufficient flowering.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers because they will encourage leaf production over flower growth. If your hibiscus does not receive six to eight hours of sunlight every day, the chances of it contracting a fungal disease are increased.

Things You'll Need

  • Hibiscus plant(s)
  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Perlite or Vermiculite
  • Large pot with drainage hole (optional)
  • Purchased potting mix (for planting in pots)

References

  • About Hibiscus: Growing Hibiscus
  • Trop-Hibiscus: Fertilizer needs
Keywords: hibiscus growing, tropical plants, gardening flowers

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.

Photo by: Photo by B. Fahs