How To Grow & Care For Hibiscus Flowers

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

Photo by @ClaraNila

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

Where can hibiscus flowers grow?

While hibiscus flowers are typically known for being tropical flowers, they can actually grow in a variety of climates. There are 200 species of hibiscus, and because that's a lot to break down, let's focus on four of the biggest types of hibiscus plants: hardy hibiscus, rose of Sharon, rose mallow, and tropical hibiscus. Hardy 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 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. Rose of Sharon, while it may have a similar name to rose mallow, is a type of hibiscus flower that's 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.

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.

How To Grow & Care For Hibiscus Flowers


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How to care for hibiscus flowers.

Most types of hibiscus plants can live all year long as long as they're cared for properly. While most hibiscus flowers bloom only in the spring and summer seasons, in the winter months they should be kept in a sunny window if possible (two to three hours of sunlight is ideal), watered only when soil is dry to the touch, and nourished with fertilizer. Beware that heat in your home can create overly dry conditions in the wintertime, in which case your hibiscus plants will 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, so watch out for that! 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 probably best to back off.

February is typically the best time of year to repot your hibiscus plant if it's growing larger, and in the months when it blossoms, feel free to bring it outside and put it in outdoor soil, as long as you keep it nice and moist—it will likely require daily watering (sometimes twice daily) in order to thrive.

If you want your hibiscus plant to produce a lot of flowers, 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, so look for a pot that's not much deeper but is significantly wider than a nursery pot for optimal results. If your plant isn't producing flowers in the months it should be, trying moving it to an area that has more or less light—it could work wonders.

What do hibiscus flowers look like?

Hibiscus flowers are one of the most stunning flowers out there. Hibiscus flowers are typically trumpet-shaped and come in all types of colors. Rose of Sharon, for example, is white with a pink interior, while rose mallow is a stunning shade of pink, as is hardy hibiscus. Tropical hibiscus, on the other hand, is a vibrant shade of red.

If you ever thought you couldn't grow hibiscus flowers because you don't live in a tropical climate, think again: Hibiscus flowers can be grown in virtually any climate as long as they're given the proper care and get at least a little bit of sunlight in the winter months. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they attract butterflies and hummingbirds and add pops of color when gardens (and homes) tend to be filled with greener varieties of plants.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and grow your own hibiscus flowers—you won't regret it.

Want ideas for how to use hibiscus flowers? Give this refreshing hibiscus and berry smoothie a try.

And are you ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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