Decorating with Hibiscus Flowers

By Jill Gardiner , last updated March 19, 2011

Decorating with hibiscus flowers is an easy and fun way to add tropical style to any setting. The state flower of Hawaii, hibiscus need tropical growing conditions. Gardeners in zones 9 and 10 can plant directly in their gardens, but even in cooler climates hibiscus look great grown in containers or added to floral arrangements.

In Containers

Their long flowering period makes hibiscus excellent candidates for containers. If you have a pool, try flanking the steps with them, or group them on a deck or patio for a lush, colorful display that will make your backyard feel like a trip to the tropics. Hibiscus are also grown as standards; that is, trained into a tree-like form. Try placing one in the center of a perennial bed for an endlessly-blooming focal point.

Wherever you choose to use them, be sure the spot gets full sun and is not too windy. Hibiscus flower best when they’re slightly root bound so, when repotting, use only containers the next size up. Feed weekly to support their vigorous blooming. Gardeners in zones 8 or cooler should bring plants indoors after frost.

In Arrangements

Even though they flower on short stems, the large, papery blooms of hibiscus can still be used in floral arrangements. For an easy centerpiece, float a few blossoms in a bowl of water. For a water-free arrangement, pick a flower in the morning, just before it opens, and place in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Remove that evening, insert picks into the base of flower, and place in arrangements of fern fronds, ivy, or other interesting greenery. For a more dramatic arrangement, strip foliage from branches of a thorny plant, such as barberry, pyracantha, or an orange tree, insert blossoms directly onto thorns, then arrange in a vase. Use individual blossoms as decorations at each table setting for a tropical-themed dinner party; once your guests have sat down, they can tuck them behind their ears. Flowers won’t last more than a day or two at most, but there’ll be more on your plant tomorrow!

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