Care For a Hibiscus Plant

Hibiscus Basics

You can consider the hibiscus a small tree or a large bush. These plants produce the hibiscus which is a large, vividly colored, horn-shaped flower.

Today’s hibiscus are descendants of the natural ancestors that were native to Fiji, Madagascar, Mauritius, China and, yes, Hawaii. These plants are self-flowering (pollinating) that grow tall and willowy, almost like large green cotton.

There are many different color variations available with today’s hibiscus. These colors include: yellow, orange, red, white, brown and lavender. There are also a vast amount of color combinations, shades and flower forms.

Care and Growth

The hibiscus is highly susceptible to colder temperatures. If the temperature where you live falls below the 35 degree Fahrenheit mark then your hibiscus is probably going to be in trouble. You may be able to protect a hibiscus plant for a few cold days and nights with frost cloth but not much more than that.

Hibiscus requires a 50/50 split of sun and shade during the days at a minimum. Make sure your hibiscus is planted with plenty of sunlight for the proper care and growth.


Keep in mind, hibiscus have a very low tolerance for salty soils. Many gardeners will add salt to soils to discourage slugs from pestering their plants so that would be a bad move in a garden with hibiscus growing in it.

It’s also important that hibiscus have soil that is well-drained and well watered. Don’t mistake “well drained” for lack of water. They are two totally different things. Ensure that you water your hibiscus regularly but that the water has somewhere to go. Standing water on the top layer of soil is a sure sign that it is not draining properly enough for hibiscus.


Fertilize early, lightly and often for a perfect hibiscus growing environment. For the hibiscus to maintain a good growing cycle it is important that it is done regularly… but lightly. Try to avoid applying fertilizer near or on the trunk of the plant, instead fertilize your hibiscus high nitrogen and multi-nutrient products under the canopy of the plant.

Pruning and Picking the Hibiscus Flowers

As a best practice, it’s best to prune and pick the hibiscus during the spring and early summer. Try to avoid the winter and fall. If you’re truly growing a tropical garden where the seasons stay the same all year round just follow the typical “four season” times of the year. The bottom line, though, is that you know your plant the best and the time to prune and pick flowers is when needed and available.

Hibiscus Pest Enemies and Disease

If you’re¬†tropical garden¬†includes edible fruits and vegetables try to stay away from non-natural insecticides or be sure that your hibiscus plants are well away from any edible growing that you’re doing.

Natural pests to hibiscus include: spider mites, fungus gnats, shoreflies, thrips, snow scale, mealy bugs, white flies, aphids and caterpillar. Basically, anything that sucks or eats foliage.