How to Grow Hibiscus


Hibiscus is a perennial flowering shrub that comes in a variety of colors, including pink, white, orange, red, yellow and lavender. Double-bloom hibiscus plants are ideal to purchase because they are stronger and will have two mixed colors in the blooms, making them even more beautiful. Hibiscus grows best in warm locations where they can bloom year-round, such as Florida, Texas, Hawaii, the Gulf Coast and California, but they can also grow in colder areas as long as they are protected in winter or brought indoors.

Step 1

Purchase 1-gallon potted hibiscus in single or double-bloom varieties from your local nursery.

Step 2

Decide where you want to plant the hibiscus, and clear the area. Use a shovel to dig holes that are at least 3 feet apart for each plant to set the root balls in. You need to plant them in a good drainage area where there is partial shade. If planting in pots, you can move them around as desired.

Step 3

Place each hibiscus plant into each hole. Fill in the holes with a combination of organic soil and peat moss, packing in securely around the roots.

Step 4

Cover the ground around the plant with cypress mulch. Make sure you keep the mulch back 2 to 3 inches from the trunk of the hibiscus. Don't use mulch for the planter pots.

Step 5

Water hibiscus shrubs heavily once a week during dry periods. Between March and November, fertilize the hibiscus plants often with a 10-10-10 fertilizer so they will bloom productively. Don't use a fertilizer that is higher in nitrogen, or you will get a lot of leaf growth with few blooms.

Step 6

Prune your hibiscus to encourage growth, maintain its shape and remove deadwood, especially if it is grown in a pot. Prune the hibiscus shrub as it becomes larger, as the leaf growth is quick on the plants. About a month after spring growth (and accordingly during the growing season up to October), cut back a moderate length of growing branches. Use very sharp shears or scissors to cut each growing branch about 1/4 inch above the eye (leaf node), where new growth will sprout from. (Leaf nodes are bumps on the stem where leaves once grew.)

Step 7

During freezing weather, cover hibiscus hedges with tarps or old sheets, or bring them inside in the planter pots to ensure they don't die. Move the plants to a warm, bright location where they get strong morning or afternoon sunlight coming in the windows. Use saucers under the hibiscus plants and provide ample water whenever they start to dry out. Half-strength fertilizer will help them get through the winter better.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure that all danger of frost is past before you prune the plants. Cold weather will damage the new growth that occurs after pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Hibiscus plants
  • Planter pots
  • Soil mixture of peat moss and topsoil
  • Water
  • Cypress mulch
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Sharp scissors or shears
  • Tarp


  • Growing Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus Information
Keywords: growing hibiscus, growing flowers, hibiscus care

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.