How to Start Hibiscus Seeds


The colorful hibiscus plant is a real beauty, with large, glossy, green leaves set on tall, thin stems and large, beautiful flowers that come in a wide range of colors and shapes. Some varieties produce flowers up to 12 inches in diameter, among the largest of any perennial. The plant grows well in the southern United States from hardiness zone 8 through 10 and can be propagated easily from seeds to make an interesting, and often flamboyant, addition to your garden.

Planting Seeds

Step 1

Choose hibiscus seeds for your hardiness zone, soil and climatic conditions. You can buy them from seed companies or collected from them from pods on parent plants.

Step 2

Cut the disposable cups down to around 3 inches and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill each cup with fine potting soil.

Step 3

Nick the tip of each seed with a sharp knife and remove some of the seed coat. This allows the seed to absorb water more easily, improving the chance of germination. You can also check to see if each seed is viable. Look for the white endosperm within each seed.

Step 4

Plant the seeds by making a hole in the soil about 1 inch deep. Place one seed in each cup and cover it with potting soil.

Step 5

Water the seeds lightly and place each cup in a medium sized, zip-top plastic bag. This helps to keep the seeds moist.

Step 6

Place the containers in the sun to encourage germination. Watch for growth within the next 2-3 weeks. Spray the seeds with water to keep the soil damp but not wet.

Step 7

Remove the plastic gags after the seeds have sprouted. Continue to water regularly.

Step 8

Transplant your seedlings, once the plants have grown to several inches. Plant them in larger pots or fertile, prepared soil in your garden.

Step 9

Fertilize your hibiscus plants and water regularly to encourage them to grow and bloom.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the flower that your seeds came from was pollinated from an unknown source, the resulting plants may not resemble the plant the seeds came from.

Things You'll Need

  • Hibiscus seeds
  • Sharp knife
  • Disposable drinking cups
  • Medium-sized, zip-top plastic bags
  • Potting soil
  • Flower pots


  • The Tropical Hibiscus
  • J.E. Ludick
Keywords: seedling, sprout, propagation, seed pod

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.