How to Care for Hibiscus Flowers

Overview

The hibiscus plant, with its large, beautiful blooms, is available in 220 different species, according to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In annual, perennial or tree form, a healthy hibiscus is always more resistant to insect attacks and climate changes. While the hibiscus is typically considered a hardy plant to zone five, it flourishes when soil and sun conditions are optimal.

Planting and Growth

Step 1

Keep newly purchased plants in partial shade for seven to 10 days. This will acclimatize the plant to full sun.

Step 2

Plant hibiscus plants in well-fertilized and loose soil, with a pH between 6.2 and 6.5. The chosen area should receive at least 50 percent sun throughout the day.

Step 3

Place indoor hibiscus in front of a south- or west-facing window with direct sunlight.

Step 4

Add mulch to the soil regularly to keep the soil organic. Mulch should be no closer than two inches from the hibiscus' trunk.

Step 5

Allow soil to dry before watering. For hibiscus plants in planters, water should disappear into the soil within a half-hour of watering.

Insect Protection

Step 1

Water the hibiscus plant thoroughly before applying any insecticide.

Step 2

Spray for insects in temperatures under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The early morning or evening is best.

Step 3

Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of Orthene, unscented soap and fertilizer. Mist tops and underside of all the hibiscus leaves.

Step 4

Repeat application every five to seven days for heavy insect infestations.

Pruning Hibiscus

Step 1

Prune a hibiscus using sharp pruning shears from early spring to early fall.

Step 2

Make a cut one-quarter inch above an eye growing in the direction you wish to encourage new growth.

Step 3

Prune to encourage the growth of three to four main branches. Also, prune excess main branches, as well as weak or misdirected branches.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use Malathion, the chemical used to spray for mosquitoes, on your hibiscus plants. It will kill the plant. Hibiscus leaves are prone to wind burn. If you live in a dry, windy locale, place your outdoor hibiscus plants in a sheltered area. Hibiscus plants do not tolerate the cold. Cover plants with blankets or cardboard to protect from night frost. Bring indoors during winter months.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Orthene
  • Unscented liquid soap
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Blankets or cardboard

References

  • Hibiscus Care
  • Growing Hibiscus Plants
  • Hibiscus Plant Care

Who Can Help

  • Hibiscus Facts
Keywords: hibiscus plant, pruning hibiscus, outdoor hibiscus plants

About this Author

Sophia Darby is a former professional hairstylist who has spent the last six years writing hair-related articles for both online and print publications. Her work has appeared in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine, as well as multiple websites.