Hibiscus flowers may only last a day, but they still produce a stunning display. Companion plants can help you get the most out of your hibiscus. In this article, I’ll share ten of my favorite companion plants for hibiscus flowers.
What Are Companion Plants?
Companion planting consists of planting a couple of different species together to bring benefits to each plant. Companion plants are mainly used to enhance the beauty of your main ornamental plants. They can also be used to attract pollinators and deter pests or weeds.
Choosing Companion Plants for Hibiscus
When choosing companion plants for hibiscus flowers, pick species that need similar conditions to hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus grows best in USDA Zones 4 to 9, while tropical hibiscus thrives in Zones 9 to 12. Plant hibiscus in nutrient-rich, well-draining soils that stay slightly moist. Hardy hibiscus plants can tolerate full sun in cooler climates, but tropical hibiscus requires partial shade.
10 Best Companion Plants for Hibiscus
1) Bee Balm
Bee balm (Monarda spp.) is an attractive wildflower native to North America. These plants make excellent companion plants because they attract pollinators. Bee balm plants bloom during the summer in Zones 3 to 9. The flowers can last for a week, providing a good contrast with short-lived hibiscus flowers.
Bougainvilleas are prickly evergreen shrubs or vines that are perennials in Zones 9 to 11. They make great companion plants for tropical hibiscus. Bougainvilleas can intertwine with large hibiscus shrubs, and both species bloom all year round in warm, tropical climates. Bougainvillea flowers have three to six heart-shaped bracts and tiny central flowers.
3) Crape Myrtle
Crape myrtles are gorgeous shrubs and trees known for their colorful crepe-like flowers. Crape myrtles flower for three to four months throughout summer and fall. These long-lasting blooms are the perfect complement for fleeting hibiscus flowers. Many hibiscus and crape myrtle trees reach similar sizes, providing two ornamental shrubs to build your garden around.
Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are excellent hibiscus companion plants. Both species are perennials that flower throughout summer and fall. Daylilies and hibiscus produce large, colorful flowers that only last for a day or two, creating a dramatic duet. Daylilies grow between 1 and 5 feet tall, enabling them to grow underneath and around larger hibiscus plants.
5) Hardy Geranium
Hardy geraniums are excellent ground cover companion plants for hardy hibiscus. Hardy geraniums are clump-forming perennials in Zones 4 to 9. They usually grow between 1 and 3 feet tall, so they grow well underneath hibiscus plants. Hardy geraniums have beautiful cup-shaped flowers that bloom from spring until fall.
Also known as rocktrumpets, mandevillas are stunning flowering vines that can complement tropical hibiscus. Like tropical hibiscus, mandevillas thrive in Zones 10 and 11 and require moist soils. Mandevillas produce elegant, colorful flowers from spring until fall. These lovely flowers work well next to hibiscus blooms, especially when grown in pots close together, and contrast nicely with purple, and red types of hibiscus.
Also known as silvergrass, miscanthus is an excellent perennial grass to grow as a companion plant to hibiscus. Miscanthus produces feathery, swaying grass heads that look great next to large, colorful hibiscus flowers. Miscanthus are popular landscaping grasses, which means they’re incredibly versatile. Like hibiscus, miscanthus thrives in moist, fertile soils in partial shade.
8) Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine
Ornamental sweet potato vines are excellent ground cover companion plants for tropical hibiscus. They grow best in Zones 9 to 11 and produce gorgeous arrow or heart-shaped leaves. These leaves contrast really well with tropical hibiscus flowers. Sweet potato vines can also suppress weeds that would otherwise threaten your hibiscus.
9) Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is a great companion plant for hibiscus that grows as ground cover. Sweet alyssum produces masses of tiny, fragrant white flowers from spring until fall. Like hardy hibiscus, sweet alyssum grows well in Zones 5 to 9 and requires moist soils. It acts almost like a living mulch by helping to suppress weeds.
10) Sweet Joe-Pye-Weed
Sweet Joe-Pye-Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial wildflower that complements hibiscus plants. It thrives in Zones 3 to 9 and needs nutrient-rich, moist soils. Sweet Joe-Pye-Weed produces several clusters of tiny purplish-pink flowers during the summer. These clusters contrast well with large, colorful hibiscus flowers.
Best Companion Plants for Hibiscus FAQs:
What are companion plants, and why are they important for hibiscus?
Companion plants are plants that are grown near each other for their mutual benefit. For hibiscus, companion plants can help attract beneficial insects, provide shade, and improve soil health.
How do I choose the best companion plants for my hibiscus?
When choosing companion plants, consider factors such as the plant’s sun and soil requirements, as well as its growth habits and color scheme.
Are there any plants that should not be grown near hibiscus?
Some plants, such as tomatoes and brassicas, may not be the best choice for companion planting with hibiscus due to their high nutrient demands.
Can companion planting help to deter pests from my hibiscus?
Yes, companion planting can help to deter pests by attracting beneficial insects that prey on common garden pests.
How close together should I plant my hibiscus and its companion plants?
The distance between hibiscus and its companion plants will depend on the specific plants and their growth habits. In general, allow enough space for both plants to thrive without overcrowding.
Should I fertilize my hibiscus and its companion plants differently?
It’s a good idea to consider the nutrient needs of each plant when fertilizing, but it’s not necessary to fertilize them differently.
Can companion plants affect the growth or appearance of my hibiscus?
Yes, companion plants can affect the growth and appearance of hibiscus, so choosing plants that complement the hibiscus in color and growth habit is essential.
Should I choose companion plants based on the color of my hibiscus flowers?
It can be helpful to choose companion plants that complement the color of your hibiscus flowers, but it’s not necessary.
How can I design a visually appealing garden using hibiscus and its companion plants?
To design a visually appealing garden using hibiscus and its companion plants, consider factors such as color, texture, and height variation, and group plants together in a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing way.
Companion plants like bougainvilleas and daylilies produce beautiful flowers that complement hibiscus blooms. Ornamental sweet potato vines and sweet alyssum are great companion plants for hibiscus because they help to suppress weeds.
For more, see our in-depth guide to troubleshooting non-flowering hibiscus plants, common causes of yellow leaves on hibiscus, beautiful types of orange hibiscus, and 32 amazing uses and benefits of hibiscus plants.
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.