Potted Hibiscus Care
The hibiscus plant is a beautiful blooming plant that is sometimes called the Hawaiian rose. Hibiscus blooms can be yellow, red, blue, or a combination of many colors. The hibiscus is a temperature sensitive plant which must be kept in a warm environment and watered carefully. The hibiscus is a striking potted plant. With the use of some simple care tips, a hibiscus plant has a long lifespan, and can thrive for up to 10 years.
The hibiscus plant grows well in plenty of light, including a moderate amount of direct sun. The hibiscus plant prefers a warm climate, with temperatures from 65 degrees F to 85 degrees F. Hibiscus can be damaged by temperatures below 55 degrees, and must be brought inside by nightfall if left outside to sun.
The soil should be very light, with added aerating agents like peat moss, perlite or vermiculite. Peat moss is a fibrous material that can be added to soil to make the soil mixture less dense. Perlite and vermiculite are minerals which also help aerate and drain the soil. Peat moss is often mixed with lukewarm water plus perlite or vermiculite before it is added to a soil mixture. Peat moss, perlite and vermiculite can be bought at nurseries or garden centers.
According to "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual" by Barbara Pleasant, hibiscus plants should be fertilized weekly with liquid fertilizer, and twice yearly with controlled-release nitrogen. Specially designed liquid fertilizer is available for hibiscus plants.
During the warm months, the soil of the hibiscus should always be slightly damp. In the winter, the soil should be allowed to dry to about an inch of the top of the soil.
Common problems in a hibiscus plant include flowers that die and fall off quickly, yellow leaves, and insect pests. Falling flowers or buds can mean that the plant was stressed. Movement or even slight underwatering during flowering can cause the flowers to fall. Yellow leaves can be the result of too much light, though it may seem it should be the other way around. If a hibiscus plant has yellowing leaves, it may thrive better in a shadier location.
A common pest on the hibiscus is the spider mite, which is characterized by a white fuzzy material on the undersides of the leaves. The spider mite can be treated by washing the undersides of the leaves and by cutting off leaves with too many spider mites.
- "How to Be a Gardener"; Alan Titchmarsh; 2003
- "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005