Hibiscus Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Hibiscus
Hibiscus plants are most known for their large, crepe-paper like showy blooms or their rich, deep foliage colors. They are exotic and dramatic in the garden. Many are small enough to grow well in containers which can easily be moved indoors for winter protection if they are not a hardy variety. They are bold and standout in any landscape, and butterflies and hummingbirds love them too.
Hibiscus seeds should be started indoors 8 - 10 weeks prior to the end of frost season. The seeds do best with a gentle nicking of the outer coat and being soaked for 8 - 12 hours prior to planting.
Hibiscus plants thrive in bright light. In northern climates, full sun is best, and in southern climates, morning sun and afternoon shade works well. All Hibiscus plants need moist, well-draining soil that is fertile. Amending with compost is helpful. Smaller varieties can be grown in containers which make it easier to winter the plants if they are cold sensitive.
How to Plant Hibiscus
- Hibiscus seeds have a tough outer coat that needs to be nicked with a knife and then soaked several hours in water
- Fill trays with moistened seed starting soil
- Plant the seed into the soil and lightly cover
- Loosely cover the trays with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture
- A warm, consistent temperature is important, so heat mats are helpful
- Remove the plastic wrap each day to water
- Once seedlings emerge, remove plastic wrap and put the trays under grow lights for 14 - 16 hours each day
- Once there are true leaves, give a water soluable fertilizer at 1/2 strength
- As the stem begins to harden and become woody, harden off the young plants outside for 7 - 10 days before transplanting out
Care And Maintenance
- Hibiscus plants need regular water - daily as the plants are establishing
- Compost can be mulched around the base of the plant to help retain moisture
- For the best blooms, fertilize regularly during the blooming season
- Once hardy Hibiscus plants are established, cut them back after blooming
- The cold sensitive varities can be trimmed back and brought indoors for winter