Hibiscus flowers make excellent ornamental plants thanks to their dramatic, short-lived blooms. However, you could also enjoy their gorgeous display indoors in some situations. This article will examine whether hibiscus can grow indoors and how to do it.
Can Hibiscus Grow Indoors?
Hibiscus plants are divided into two main groups depending on their preferred climate. Hardy hibiscus plants grow well in cooler climates in USDA Zones 4 to 9. Tropical hibiscus plants thrive in warm, humid climates in Zones 9 to 12. Each is available in various colors, including beautiful yellow, red, and purple hibiscus flowers.
Hardy hibiscus isn’t really suitable for growing indoors as they grow better outside. They need cooler temperatures, so growing them indoors places them in a hot, dry environment that they don’t like.
Hardy hibiscus plants can grow all year round outdoors, even in colder climates. These deciduous perennials can tolerate winter temperatures as low as -30ºF. In some areas, hardy hibiscus will die back completely before emerging again in the spring.
Tropical hibiscus are evergreen plants that thrive in tropical and subtropical climates in Zones 9 to 12. However, tropical hibiscus cannot tolerate cold temperatures below 40ºF. If tropical hibiscus plants are exposed to cold temperatures, they will lose their leaves and die.
In cold climate zones, grow tropical hibiscus in pots and bring them indoors in winter. Alternatively, you can grow them as houseplants all year round.
Overwintering Tropical Hibiscus Indoors
If you live in a cold climate, you can still enjoy tropical hibiscus plants. However, it’s best to grow them in containers so that you can protect them from winter temperatures. Wrapping the pot in fleece works well, but bringing the plant indoors is usually easier.
Once nighttime temperatures drop below 40ºF, bring potted tropical hibiscus plants indoors. A greenhouse is ideal, but a conservatory also works well. Garages don’t work well because your hibiscus still needs lots of indirect sunlight.
Remember that indoor conditions are warm and dry, whereas tropical hibiscus plants prefer humid conditions. As such, you’ll need to regularly mist your tropical hibiscus while keeping it indoors over winter. Alternatively, place your hibiscus next to a humidifier.
How to Grow Tropical Hibiscus Indoors
When growing tropical hibiscus indoors, provide conditions similar to how you’d grow them outside. That means plenty of sunlight, water, and nutrients. Ensure the ambient temperature around your tropical hibiscus doesn’t drop below 40ºF.
Indoor tropical hibiscus plants need a few hours of direct morning sunlight every day. If they don’t get enough light, they won’t produce any flowers. Avoid exposing your tropical hibiscus to direct afternoon sunlight, which can scorch the leaves and flowers. Position your tropical hibiscus approximately 3 feet away from an east or southeast-facing window.
Tropical hibiscus plants need nutrient-rich, well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. Standard houseplant potting mixes work well. If you want to provide some extra drainage, mix in some perlite.
Tropical hibiscus plants need lots of water because they always prefer moist soil. Give your tropical hibiscus 1 or 2 inches of water weekly from spring until fall. Water less frequently during the winter and more often during hot summers.
Indoor tropical hibiscus plants need lots of nutrients to produce their best flowers. Fertilize your tropical hibiscus once a week with a diluted dose of liquid fertilizer. Alternatively, use slow-release fertilizers every few months.
Tropical hibiscus flowers only last for one or two days. However, these plants bloom prolifically throughout the year, producing another flower once the last one has faded. Deadhead spent flowers as soon as you spot them.
Growing Hibiscus Indoors FAQs:
How Long Can Hibiscus Live Indoors?
Tropical hibiscus plants can live for several decades as houseplants. Many specimens live for approximately 40 years when properly cared for.
How Do You Care for a Hibiscus Plant Indoors?
Give indoor tropical hibiscus plants lots of direct sunlight during the morning. Use a well-draining soil mix that stays slightly moist. Water at least once a week and fertilize once a month.
Can I Bring My Hibiscus Inside for the Winter?
Tropical hibiscus can’t survive in cold temperatures, so grow them in pots if you live outside of Zones 9 to 12. Bring your potted hibiscus indoors to protect it during the winter.
Hardy hibiscus plants should be grown outside whenever possible. In cold climates outside of Zones 9 to 12, tropical hibiscus can be brought indoors during the winter. You can also grow them indoors permanently as houseplants.
For more, see our in-depth guides to hibiscus flower meaning and symbolism and the 32 amazing uses and benefits of hibiscus.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.
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