How to Grow Hibiscus in a Container or Pot
Tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is known for producing shiny dark green foliage and large, showy blossoms in an assortment of colors. However, this evergreen shrub will only grow outside in warm regions in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 and 10. Growing hibiscuses in containers allows you to enjoy this tropical beauty no matter where you live in the country. Provide basic care to your hibiscus and reap the rewards for many seasons.
Place the hibiscus in a location with six or more hours of sunlight. Select a location inside near a window or door to grow the hibiscus indoors or find a sunny location on the balcony, porch, patio or other outside area. If you are relocating the plant to an outside area for the summer, choose a site and keep the plant there until winter.
Check the soil often and water the hibiscus when the top 1 inch is dry. Add water until you see it drain from the bottom and then remove excess water from the drainage tray.
Apply a water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 12-4-18 twice a month while the hibiscus is actively growing.
Pinch or cut off the ends of the hibiscus branches to encourage branching and more blooms during the growing season. Prune the hibiscus back by half each spring to control the plant’s overall size.
Move the potted hibiscus indoors in areas where temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. Keep the plant in a place with temperatures around 60 F and wait until the soil dries before watering throughout the winter.
Grow And Care For Hibiscus
Hibiscus plants are prized for their large and colorful blooms as well as their versatility. In cooler climates, you'll need to opt for hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos). To protect against freezing, you can plant tropical hibiscus up to four inches deeper than they were in their nursery pot. Keep the soil evenly moist rather than constantly wet. Container grown plants will need water more often than plants grown outdoors. Feed established plants with a slow-release 12-4-18 granular fertilizer applied every three to four months. Repeat applications weekly, if required. If you desire bushier plants, you can also pinch off the tips in the spring when they reach 8 and 12 inches in length. Hardy hibiscus should also be deadheaded throughout the growing season.
- Hand shears
- Floridata; Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis; Steve Christman; August 1997
- Guide to Houseplants: Growing Hibiscus Indoors
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Hibiscus Moscheutos 'Luna Red'
- LSU AgCenter: Tropical Hibiscus
- Tampa Bay Times: Hedge Your Bets With Hibiscus
- The National Gardening Association: Hibiscus: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties
- Hidden Valley Hibiscus: Pruning Hibiscus