How To Grow & Care For Hibiscus Flowers At Home

mbg Contributor By Leigh Weingus
mbg Contributor
Leigh Weingus is a New York City based freelance journalist writing about health, wellness, feminism, entertainment, personal finance, and more. She received her bachelor’s in English and Communication from the University of California, Davis.
How To Grow & Care For Hibiscus Flowers

If you think hibiscus flowers are only good for brewing a delicious cup of tea, think again: Hibiscus also make for fragrant, colorful flowers that you can grow and care for in your home or your backyard. As for where hibiscus flowers can be grown, what they look like, and what the best ways to care for them are, here's the breakdown:

What do hibiscus flowers look like?

There are over 200 species of hibiscus flowers and though they are often trumpet-shaped, they come in all types of colors. Rose of Sharon, for example, is white with a pink interior, while rose mallow is a bright shade of pink, as is hardy hibiscus. Tropical hibiscus, on the other hand, is a vibrant shade of red. Thanks to their vivid colors, hibiscus flowers tend to attract wildlife like hummingbirds.

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Where can hibiscus flowers grow?

While hibiscus flowers are typically known for being tropical flowers, they can actually grow in a variety of climates as long as they get at least a little bit of sunlight in the winter months. Here's an introduction to the kinds of environments where four of the most popular hibiscus plants can thrive:

Hardy hibiscus.

This hibiscus does best when it's in a wind-sheltered environment that's full of sun and does well with lots of humidity and heat. While this type of hibiscus does best in super-moist soils, it can also thrive in soils that are less moist naturally as long as it's watered regularly.

Rose mallow.

Rose mallow is native to North America and will do best in full sun with moist soil. The flowers of rose mallow, which typically appear in midsummer and live on through fall, are vibrant and colorful. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies, making them all the more beautiful.

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Rose of Sharon.

While it may have a similar name to rose mallow, this type of hibiscus flower is native to China and grown on a shrub. Unlike other hibiscus plants, rose of Sharon can thrive in partial shade and urban conditions, with moist soil. It typically blooms in late summer and fall.

Tropical hibiscus.

Last but not least, tropical hibiscus typically thrives in mild temperatures—65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can live indoors when temperatures get too cold, so if you live in a climate that gets frigid in the winter, worry not—your tropical hibiscus can survive.

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How to grow hibiscus flowers indoors.

Most types of hibiscus plants can live all year long as long as they're cared for properly.

1. Choose the right pot.

If you want your hibiscus plant to produce flowers indoors, one thing you should be wary of is planting it in a pot that's too deep. If you do this, the hibiscus plant will spend its energy growing new roots instead of blooming. Instead, look for a pot that's not much deeper (but significantly wider) than a standard plastic nursery pot.

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2. Keep them in a sunny spot (even in the winter months).

While most hibiscus flowers bloom only in the spring and summer seasons, in the winter months they should be kept in a sunny spot and get least at least two to three hours of direct sunlight a day if possible. If your plant isn't producing flowers in the months it should be, trying moving it to an area of your home that gets more light and see if it helps.

3. Be strategic about watering.

Water your flowers only when soil is dry to the touch—every week or so in the summer and every other week in the winter. Beware that heat in your home can create overly dry conditions in the wintertime, in which case your hibiscus plants might require more water in order to survive.

If you notice yellow leaves forming at the top of your hibiscus plant, this could be a sign of dehydration, so give your hibiscus plant extra water if this occurs. If this doesn't help with the yellow leaves, your hibiscus plant could be suffering from root damage and might be difficult to salvage. And if the yellow leaves are forming in the middle of the plant, it could be a sign of overwatering. If that's the case, it's best to back off on your watering schedule. Remember: Only water when the soil is dry to the touch! You want to keep the plant moist but not damp.

4. Replant in the winter months.

February is typically the best time of year to replant your hibiscus in a larger pot, since it is dormant in the colder months. In the months when your plant blossoms, feel free to bring it outside if you have a garden. Once in outdoor soil, the plant will likely require daily watering at first in order to thrive.

The bottom line.

Hibiscus plants produce beautiful, color flowers and are relatively easy to grow indoors and outdoors. With lots of light, a little water, and the right pot, you can nurse some stunning flowers to life from your own home.

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