The hibiscus is a group of ornamental tropical shrubs and small trees known for exquisite, colorful flowers. The hibiscus genus includes an exceptionally wide variety of plants, including both annuals and perennials. In North America, the Chinese hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis) is commonly available in full-service garden centers and nurseries, and is excellent as an indoor potted plant or as an addition to a summer garden, though it is not very cold hardy. The hardy hibiscus (H. moscheutos) is rated to USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 10, so it can be grown as an outdoor perennial in many locations.
Typically, hibiscus can be purchased ready to plant in your garden or repot for indoor growing. Hibiscus can also be propagated by stem cuttings. Growing successfully from seed can be somewhat difficult, depending on the variety and the level of attention given by the grower.
Hibiscus is best grown in a rich, loamy soil. To avoid compaction, the soil should be slightly coarse and not too heavy. To prepare a suitable potting soil, mix two-fifths soil with two-fifths peat moss and one-fifth perlite.
Plant or repot your hibiscus in early spring. Carefully loosen the root ball from the current pot and lift the plant out. Loosen the root ball and cut away dark brown roots. If repotting, use a pot one size larger than the last. If planting in a garden, dig a hole one foot wider than the root ball and deep enough so that the plant maintains its former growing depth. When planting outside, ensure that temperatures have reached a suitable level for your variety of hibiscus.
Hibiscus plants need a minimum of four to five hours of direct light each day for best blooming results. Regular watering is required, but only enough to keep the plant’s soil somewhat moist. The hibiscus is not tolerant to standing water.
Feed your hibiscus regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Outdoor plants should take a half-strength application every two or three months during the summer, while indoor plants will require the same application only every four weeks.