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How to Plant Bare Root Hibiscus

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Create a tropical garden by planting hibiscus.
hibiscus image by adrimar imaging from Fotolia.com

The word hibiscus encompasses over 200 different species with thousands of cultivars that bloom in every color but blue and black When planning a tropical-themed garden, hibiscus should be one of the first plants considered as it is easy to grow and closely identified with tropical islands. Large garden centers and nurseries often sell the hibiscus as a bare-root plant which should be planted in the landscape in the spring.

Choose a location for the hibiscus. It needs sunshine, but afternoon shade is fine. It also needs room. Hibiscus needs air circulation in order to avoid fungal diseases, so give the plant 3 feet of space in all directions.

Remove any weeds within a 3-foot radius of where you intend to plant the bare root hibiscus.

Amend the soil for the hibiscus. Add a 3-inch layer of compost and a 2-inch layer of peat moss to the existing soil. Use the gardening fork to mix the amendments to a depth of 8 inches.

Dig a hole in the soil in which to plant the bare root hibiscus. It should be twice the diameter of the rootball and the 4 inches deeper than it was growing in the nursery. You can determine this depth by looking for the soil ring toward the lower half of the trunk. Throw 2 tablespoons of bone meal into the bottom of the planting hole.

Place the roots of the hibiscus into the hole and fill the hole, halfway, with soil. Add or remove soil from the hole to make sure that the bare root hibiscus is planted 4 inches deeper than it had been previously. Fill the hole with water, allow it to drain and then finish filling the hole with soil.

Water the soil until the water puddles. Do not water the hibiscus again until is has its first set of leaves.

Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to the base of the hibiscus and spread it around the plant. Keep it at least 2 inches away from the bark.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening fork
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Shovel
  • Mulch

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.