How to Propagate Hardy Hibiscus


The hardy hibiscus is the perfect perennial plant for the tropical-themed garden. Although it is native to the eastern United States, the huge blooms of the this plant can't help but evoke thoughts of the tropics. Sometimes called rose mallow, this plant provides almost constant blooms throughout the growing season. Hardy hibiscus need lots of sun and moisture. They can be grown in containers and are perfect backdrops for smaller landscape plants. The hardy hibiscus is easy to propagate from either seeds or cuttings, and are hardy to USDA zone 4 to 10.

How to Propagate Hardy Hibiscus from the Plant

Step 1

Cut, at a 45-degree angle, a 4- to 6-inch piece of stem from the hibiscus; cut right below where the leaf meets the stem (the leaf node). Remove the bottom leaves. Using a knife, scrape some of the bark from the bottom of the cutting.

Step 2

Dip the stem in the rooting hormone, tapping lightly to remove any excess.

Step 3

Combine the sphagnum and vermiculite in a 50/50 mixture and pour it into the pot. Water it well, stirring it to be sure that all of it is wet. Allow the excess water to drain out of the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

Poke a hole in the soil and insert the bottom 2 inches of the cutting into the soil. Firm the soil around the base to ensure good contact with the planting medium.

Step 5

Place the pot in the plastic bag and secure it with a rubber band or twist-tie.

Step 6

Place the bag-covered pot in a sunny location or under grow-lights. It should get at least 8 hours of sunlight per day, more if possible. Your cutting should root within 6 weeks.

How to Propagate Hardy Hibiscus From Seeds

Step 1

Fill the planting tray with the sphagnum peat moss and vermiculite in a 50/50 mixture. Water the medium well, allowing the water to drain from the bottom.

Step 2

Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and cover them with the planting mix.

Step 3

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and place it in an area that gets full sun for most of the day.

Step 4

Remove the plastic wrap from the tray when the seeds begin to sprout, about 2 weeks after planting. Your seedlings should be ready to plant in the garden in 6 weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Planting pot, 4 to 6 inches with holes in the bottom for drainage
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Water
  • Plastic bag, transparent, large enough to fit over the pot or seed starting tray
  • Rubber band or twist tie
  • Seed starting tray


  • Iowa State University
  • University of Illinois Extension

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University
Keywords: how to propagate hardy hibiscus, rose mallow, growing perennials

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.