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How To Care For Hibiscus {A Simple Guide}

A Hibiscus is truly a thing of beauty. Lovely foliage and beautiful blooms, plus it’s fairly easy to care for. Without further ado, let’s look into how to care for Hibiscus.

This pretty plant, with the right care and attention, will be the envy of gardeners all around, and you can enjoy them sitting on your patio with a glass of something cool!

How Often To Water Hibiscus?

How Often To Water Hibiscus

Hibiscus like to be kept moist, but like most plants, they won’t like sitting in water with their roots getting soggy, as this can cause no end of problems.

  • Keep an eye on the dryness of the soil surrounding your Hibiscus. If it is bone dry, then it really needs a good drink!
  • If the soil feels moist to the touch, then your Hibiscus is fine and does not need any extra watering.
  • A good rule of thumb is to water your Hibiscus daily after it has first been planted. After the first week, switch to every two days.
  • Once your Hibiscus is well established, you can water it about twice a week. If the weather is especially hot and dry, switch to watering every other day.

How Much Sun Does A Hibiscus Need?

Although it is not a tropical plant as such, Hibiscus does come from hot climates. There is debate about whether it comes from China or India, but either way this plant likes to be warm!

Hibiscus plants like a full sun position. They can handle brighter and hotter conditions than many other plants, making them ideal for hot gardens.

These plants like a direct sun position, and they will thrive with 6-8 hours of full sun, so pop them in the brightest position in your garden.

You can still happily grow Hibiscus in shadier positions, but the lack of sunlight will produce fewer blooms.

How To Fertilize Hibiscus?

How To Fertilize Hibiscus

Hibiscus are a heavy feeding plant, and as such they will need the right balance of fertilizer, given at regular intervals.

These plants do best with a combination of liquid and granular fertilizer, which supports their long term growth and also the short time extra needs of blooming.

The best fertilizer for your Hibiscus is one that contains a lot of Nitrogen and Phosphorous, and less Potassium than some other plants.

You can buy ready made fertilizer that is specific to the needs of Hibiscus, which will make certain that your plant is getting everything it needs.

Or, you can choose to make your own – these plants thrive on vinegar, coffee grounds, banana peels and wood ash.

Liquid seaweed extract is another favorite of the Hibiscus plants, as it provides nutrients and plant hormones.

These hungry plants should be fed weekly during the peak growing season, tailing off to stopping fertilizing completely during the two coldest months of the year.

What Is The Best Fertilizer For Hibiscus?

Potassium is just about the most important nutrient for your Hibiscus plant, as this is the one they go through the most.

Potassium helps plants transform sunlight into sugars, and the whole of the Hibiscus plant, from roots to flowers and everything in between, uses a lot of this nutrient.

Nitrogen is another important nutrient for Hibiscus, as it is used in the metabolic processes of all plants.

A lack of Nitrogen causes stunted growth and yellowing leaves – not really the look you want for your gorgeous Hibiscus plant!

Phosphorous is another important nutrient, but it is important that you don’t give too much of this one to your Hibiscus.

Phosphorous is often used to help plants to bloom more vigorously, but in the case of Hibiscus, too much can cause a decline in the health of the plant.

You can buy fertilizers that are designed especially for Hibiscus plants, and these will give your plant the best boost and the healthiest flowers.

TIP: The best fertilizer for Hibiscus is one that has a ratio of 3 – 1 – 4 of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. This will give your Hibiscus the best chances.

Hibiscus also benefit from fertilizer that contains trace elements Iron, Magnesium and Copper. These should be in a slow-release, water soluble or time release fertilizer.

How To Care For Hibiscus In Winter?

As a tropical plant, Hibiscus like to be kept warm – in fact, the warmer the better for these beauties!

They can cope with slightly cooler than summer temperatures, but leaving a Hibiscus out in the winter is a recipe for disaster.

If your plant is in a pot, you should bring it indoors, placing it in a warm conservatory or a south facing windowsill.

Don’t place the plants near open fires or radiators – they like to be warm, but too much heat can burn them!

You should reduce the amount you water your Hibiscus in the winter, and stop fertilizing it altogether – the plant will be dormant, so extra food and water is not what it needs.

A hardy type of Hibiscus can be overwintered in the garden, and it will simply go dormant and halt its growing until the spring.

If you are experiencing a harder than usual winter, you could consider placing fleece around the roots of your plant to keep it warm.

Here is a comprehensive video that gives you lots of hints and tips for caring for different types of Hibiscus in the winter:

What Is The Lowest Temperature A Hibiscus Can Tolerate?

The ideal temperature for Hibiscus is between 60-85F. They are from tropical regions, and really need to be kept warm.

If temperatures start to drop below 50F, your Hibiscus will start to show signs of stress – such as reduced flowering, and even wilting and death.

Hibiscus will die completely if they are exposed to freezing temperatures, so you must make sure they do not sit out in a frost.

Now that you have a better idea of how to care for Hibiscus, you can spend your time tending your beautiful plants.

As you can see, it’s not too hard – and this plant really is so beautiful that all the effort you spend looking after it will be totally worth it.

Hibiscus Key Facts

NameHibiscus
Scientific NameHibiscus
FamilyMalvaceae
Light RequirementsFull sun
Soil RequirementsMoist but well draining, loam-based peat-free compost
Temperature RequirementsWarm, humid conditions. Minimum night temperature of 7 degrees
Water RequirementsTwice weekly in hot weather, once a week in wet weather
Fertilizer RequirementsHigh potash liquid feed every fortnight in the flowering season
Bloom TimeMid to late summer, for 3-4 weeks
PestsAphids, ants, coast flies, mosquitoes
Size3-7 feet tall, 2-4 feet wide

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