Growing & Caring For Hibiscus Plants!

Growing & Caring For Hibiscus Plants!

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Tropical beauty and poolside décor standards, the gorgeous Hibiscus family features lush green foliage and those eye-catching colorful satellites that can pick up attention from miles away! The easy-going and carefree shrubs and trees, seem to exude summertime sun and fun!

Members of the Mallow family Malvaceae and originally native to tropical Asia. Those big bold blooms and their exotic appeal have caught the eye of garden enthusiasts since the 17th century. Deer and rabbit resistant, it’s easy to see why these have become such sought-after blooms for enlivening the garden and adding a tropical element to containers, landscapes and backyard porches across the country!

The Three Main Types of Hibiscus

Across the entire Hibiscus family, you’ll enjoy the beautiful green leaves that are glossy and have toothed or lobed margins. The big 5 petalled blooms are wide-open trumpet-shaped blooms that are huge, colorful, and have an extended pistil with colorful stigma and anthers. 

These are the perfect landing pads for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies that adore the nectar! Unfortunately only open for a day, then fade each night, the upside is that these plants are often covered in multiple blooms and rebloom in profusion all summer! 

#1 Native Hibiscus 

Native Hibiscus, also known as Rose Mallow and other types of tender perennials known as Hardy or Perennial Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) are very cold-tolerant throughout USDA grow-

rose mallow

ing zones 4-9, perennial shrubs that can be just as beautiful as their tropical counterparts, with big showy blooms in a wide variety of colors. Hardy

hibiscuses are native to North America and are very adaptable! 

Even though the plants have woody stems, they die back to the ground each winter and are classified as perennials. Beginning to bloom in mid-

summer and blooms until the first frost. Each flower lasts for only 1 day but each plant can produce hundreds of flowers and modern varieties can have blooms the size of dinner plates!

#2 Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) are woody shrubs included in the Hardy Hibiscus group. Available in both shrub and tree forms (single trunk and

 multi-trunk), these are profuse blooming shrubs with gorgeous silky petals and Nature Hills has many double flowering forms! Often with multiple blooms per stem, your whole plant will be covered in color! Hardy throughout USDA growing zones 5 through 9.

#3 Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) thrive in mild winters and warm climates and are often broadleaf evergreen shrubs and trees that can be kept outdoors year-round in USDA

rose of sharon

 growing zones 9 and up. Tropical Hibiscus varieties will continue to bloom year-round. 

Where is the Best Place to Plant Hibiscus?

With just a few basic needs, you’ll enjoy the biggest and most bountiful blooms and the healthiest plants!

  • Full Sun
  • Average to High Moisture
  • Rich, Organic Well-Drained Soil
  • Pruning For Shape
  • Blooming Plant Fertilizer

tropical hibiscus

Plant your Hibiscus in full sun to enjoy the boldest blooms. They flower best with at least six hours of direct sunlight. Well-drained soil that doesn't stay soggy is important. Don't forget the Nature Hills Root Booster for a lifetime of symbiotic support. 

Hibiscus are quite adaptable to most well-drained soil types. Providing a location with highly organic soil will greatly enhance growth and flower production. Plant in soil with increased organichibiscus infographic matter, that is kept moderately moist, consistently for the first year or two.

Established Hibiscus care includes watering on a consistent basis for best results and appreciates a 3-4 inch layer of mulch to hold in moisture more consistently and insulate the roots from the heat of the summer sun. Fertilize with a slow-release flowering plant formula in spring, and again in the summer if you have a Tropical Hibiscus. Once native Hibiscus are fully established, they can tolerate some drought or even excessive moisture.

Hardy Hibiscus plants are not prone to insect or disease problems, though Rose of Sharon and some Hibiscus blooms may see Japanese Beetle feeding. Check out how to combat these pesky pests in our Garden Blog Here.

Pruning Your Hibiscus

For Rose of Sharon, prune as needed to shape in early spring. Develop a pruning plan before you start with the young shrub to shape it the way you want from the get-go! Ensure you have no crossing or inward-growing branches. 

  • For full rounded and shrubby forms, retain all the lowest growing branches to the ground, especially if you want these shrubs for privacy. 
  • For tree-form shrubs, trim off these lowest branches to expose the multiple or single trunk of your Hibiscus. 

The Hardy/Perennial Hibiscus will go dormant in the autumn, and each of those stems can be cut to the ground each year in late winter or early spring. All new shoots will grow from the roots each spring but have some patience, these can be one of the last to emerge in the season. Once they get growing, you’ll enjoy watching the fast growth reach full height by mid-summer when they get ready to bloom!

Pruning Tropical Hibiscus should be done in in the early spring to shape, clean up the interior for air circulation, and to remove any branching from the stem if you have a tree-form Hibiscus

Exotic Landscape Uses

As lovely as backdrops in the garden bed, anchors, and low screening, en masse and in rows to pump up the color and season-long display! The dense shrubs are fantastic privacy and screening plants! 

Add a curved row behind your summer BBQ and seating areas, screen off a fire pit in flouncy blooms, and create a butterfly magnet hedge as a backdrop to your pollinator gardens while screening off the neighbor’s prying eyes.

Many of the smaller and columnar types of Hibiscus, and of course most Tropical Hibiscus are naturals in container gardening, planters around your sunny porch and patio, or in balcony garden pots! Indoors and out, Tropical Hibiscus looks fantastic and brightens your world as long as you have a location in the sun! Add colorful pots around poolside and seating areas for exotic blooms, or a pair astride your front door where they’ll soak up the sunshine and welcome you home! 

In USDA growing zones 9, 10, and 11, Tropical Hibiscus are often used as broadleaf evergreen hedges, foundation plants, and privacy that will knock your socks off each summer when they’re

in bloom! In colder climates, plant Perennial Hibiscus and Rose of Sharon around as property-defining living fences, foundation facer shrubs and specimen plants that catch the eye anywhere! 

Tropical Hibiscus can be grown as container plants as easily as they are grown in the ground, but Northern Gardeners can bring their Hibiscus indoors for the winter, or move them into a sunroom or greenhouse through the cold months of the year.

Try a spectacular focal point in the sun garden with a Head Over Heels® Perennial Hibiscus and its deep purple foliage and vivid hot pink blooms, or a romantic tree-form Rose of Sharon with a single trunk and impressive display of blossoms like the Pink Chiffon® Rose of Sharon Tree Form to add elegance to a cottage border! 

The spicy hues of the Luna Red Hibiscus are sure to turn heads and make you feel you are on an island resort! While the antique pink blooms of the Party Favor Hibiscus add their elegance to

backyard hibiscus

cottage borders. 

Big, Bold and Exotic Blooms!

No matter how you use these generous blooms, you’ll certainly want to run out and grab a hammock and a fruity drink with an umbrella next! Mix with other tropicals or let these fantastic accent plants shine on their own!

Easy care and incredibly impressive blooming ornamental plants, Hibiscus are just the in-your-face blooming shrubs to add some zip to your landscape this year, and every year afterward! 

Order one or more for yourself today - or brighten the landscape of someone that could use an exotic gift and lift their spirits! Nature Hills Nursery has an incredible selection ready for shipping in time for your summer get-togethers today!

Happy Planting!

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