Ultimate Guide on How to Grow and Care for a Hibiscus Tree

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How to Grow Hibiscus Tree

A lot of people are interested to learn about how to grow hibiscus. It’s a gorgeous plant that produces huge, colorful, bell-shaped flowers. Although it’s possible to grow the hibiscus tree indoors, these plants can thrive well in your garden outdoors. It can be used to create a hedge in your backyard and make your bare wall or fence look attractive. If you know how to care for a hibiscus tree, your hard work will surely be rewarded with beautiful blooms in no time. So here’s how to grow and care for a hibiscus tree.

How to Grow Hibiscus Step by Step

There are many ways to grow a hibiscus tree. You can grow it in a pot indoors or plant it directly into your backyard. Below are the steps on how to grow hibiscus in a garden. Make sure you plant it in an area where it gets direct sunlight since it’s a sun-loving plant.

1. Prepare the Plant

How to Grow Hibiscus

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Growing hibiscus from seed is possible but this will require a lot of work. There’s also a fewer chance that the plant will be successful. If you want to see immediate results, it is best to plant a pre-existing hibiscus plant. You can purchase a potted hibiscus plant from a local nursery, which you can then transplant into your garden.

2. Dig a Hole

Hibiscus Tree

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Use a shovel or trowel to dig a hole and prepare your garden for planting. The hole should be deep enough for the roots to spread well. Leave the loose soil around since this will help for better drainage. Do not tamp the soil down. If you are growing several hibiscus plants, make sure they are at least 2 to 3 feet apart from each other.

3. Plant the Hibiscus

Remove the hibiscus plant from the pot and carefully transfer it to the hole you dug. Be very careful not to damage the root ball or the plant won’t be able to grow. Cover the roots with soil and go as high until the base of the stem. Avoid covering the stems or the plant will be killed over time.

4. Water the New Plant

Hibiscus Water Needs

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Give your new plant heavy watering for 2 – 3 times in a row immediately after you plant it. This is to minimize the risk of transplant shock. Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Ensure that the soil is damp at all times. If the soil is dried out, the plant will die due to heatstroke.

Hibiscus Plant Care Tips

To ensure the successful growth of your plant, here are some hibiscus plant care tips to keep in mind.

1. Provide Optimal Lighting

How to Care for a Hibiscus Tree

Image Credit: Plant Addicts

The hibiscus tree would be able to thrive well when you expose it under direct sunlight. So before planting, look for an area in your garden where the plant can receive optimal lighting. While they can grow under partial sunlight, you cannot expect them to produce enough blooms. So to ensure optimal growth, plant your hibiscus tree under full sun.

2. Use the Right Fertilizer

How to Care for a Hibiscus Tree

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When fertilizing your hibiscus plant, use a liquid fertilizer to ensure even distribution to the soil. The best type of fertilizer for hibiscus is rich in potassium since it can aid the growth of the plant. However, avoid those with phosphorus because this mineral has the potential to kill the plant, especially if the mineral has accumulated in the soil. To encourage growth, add worm castings or compost bark to the soil at least once in a year.

3. Prune the Tree

Hibiscus Plant Care

Image Credit: Hortzone

Pruning might sound counterintuitive, but pruning the hibiscus tree can help to encourage new growth and will cause it to blossom even more. There are various ways to prune, but they all require cutting the branches just above the leaf joint in an angle that’s far from the center of the bush. Doing so will send a signal to the plant to produce more branches in an outward direction and away from the center of the bush. Propagating a hibiscus tree from the branches you have pruned is also possible.

4. Manage Pests

Hibiscus Plant Care

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The hibiscus tree could encounter issues with pests on some occasions, especially with the hardy varieties. If you notice any bugs or pests in your hibiscus, you should remove or kill them immediately before they can cause harm to your plant. Use an organic insecticide to treat any disease and to kill any bugs and pests.

Common Problems of Hibiscus Plant

1. Aphids on Leaves

If the leaves of the hibiscus tree are curled and discolored, this is an indication of the presence of aphids. Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects that have almost the same size as the head of a pin. These insects will not only attack the leaves, but also the tender branches and flower clusters of the plant. To remove, spray them with insecticidal soap every 2-3 days. For heavy infestations, spray the aphids directly with pyrethrum spray.

2. Japanese Beetle on Leaves and Flowers

Japanese beetles are among those insects that are known to attack the hibiscus flowers. You’ll know that your hibiscus tree is infected with these pests if you see holes on the leaves and flowers. The best way to remove them is to handpick the insects and knock them off with soapy water.

3. Reddish Brown Spots on Leaves

If you notice reddish-brown spots on the leaves of your hibiscus plant, this could indicate the presence of scale. These pests would seep into the leaves and twigs, which explains the spots. The white scale will become evident if the leaf tissues are ruptured. The best way to treat these infestations is to spray the affected leaves with Carbaryl, a manmade pesticide that’s toxic to pests.

Hibiscus Tree FAQs

Q1: Is Hibiscus Plant an Annual or Perennial?

A1: There are several varieties of hibiscus plants and some of them are annuals while others are perennials. The tropical varieties can be grown as annuals in places with slightly cooler climates. On the other hand, the perennial hibiscus comes in the form of shrubs that range from smaller dwarf varieties and larger tree-like varieties.

Q2: How often to Water a Hibiscus?

Hibiscus Water Needs

Image Credit: Indoor Garden Nook

A2: Water the hibiscus tree regularly. Try to keep the surrounding soil moist but not soggy. During the first week of planting, it’s recommended to water daily, then on the second week, you can water after two days. After that, you can water the plant twice a week.

Q3: What Type of Soil is Best for Hibiscus Flowers?

A3: The hibiscus tree can’t thrive well in wet and waterlogged conditions and will prefer moist and well-drained soil. Loam and sandy loam soils are the best types of soil to use in growing hibiscus. If the soil in your garden has too much sand, you can improve its condition by adding mulch or some organic matter to it.

Q4: How Fast do Hibiscus Grow?

How to Grow Hibiscus

Image Credit: Online Plant Nursery

A4: The hibiscus tree is known for being fast growers, although this will also depend on the variety of the hibiscus plant. For instance, the tropical hibiscus can grow up to 12 feet tall in only 2 – 3 years and will remain blooming all throughout the year. Other varieties can grow at an average of 3 to 8 feet within a span of 2 – 3 years.

Q5: How Big Does a Hibiscus Get?

How to Grow Hibiscus

Image Credit: Culture Trip

A5: Depending on the variety, the hibiscus tree can grow as high as 12 feet. Some of the perennial varieties can grow between 3 – 7 feet tall. There are also petite hibiscus plants that can only grow up to 2 to 3 feet. These are the best varieties to choose if you are growing hibiscus in pots. But if you want something that can grow really tall, you should opt for the Chinese hibiscus or Rose of Sharon.

Q6: How Long do Hibiscus Flowers Last?

A6: The hibiscus flowers are recognized for their colorful blooms. However, for most varieties, their blooms will generally last only a day or two. The flower will open early in the morning but will wilt come late afternoon. But even though most hibiscus blooms are only short-lived, a lot of the tropical hibiscus varieties will continue blooming all year round and will provide a feast of color especially when the blooming season for hibiscus comes.

Q7: Which is the Best Compost for Hibiscus?

A7: Commercial fertilizers are not necessary to grow a hibiscus tree. However, adding a generous amount of compost and other organic matter to the soil before planting can be a big help. The best fertilizer to use for the hibiscus tree is the EarthPods Premium Hibiscus & Tropical Flower Plant Food Fertilizer. It can boost flower production, root growth, and color vibrancy for Hibiscus.

Q8: How to Keep Hibiscus Blooming?

Blooming Season for Hibiscus

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A8: Although the hibiscus plant can tolerate some partial shade, it will bloom at the greatest if it’s exposed under full sunlight. Feeding it with fertilizer can also help it to bloom plentifully and remain healthy especially during its blooming season.

Q9: How to Grow Hibiscus Plant from Cutting?

A9: It’s easy to grow the hibiscus tree from cutting. Start by dipping the tip of the cutting in rooting hormone then plant it in well-draining soil. Make sure that the rooting soil is thoroughly wet. It is best to use a 50-50 mix of perlite and potting soil when growing hibiscus from cutting.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re growing the hibiscus tree indoors or outdoors, make sure you provide it with the care that it truly deserves. The hibiscus plant care tips above should help you with this. Make sure you follow each of the steps on how to grow hibiscus tree to guarantee successful results. It might require a bit of an effort at first, but once it starts flowering, you’ll realize that all your efforts are truly worth it.


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