With flowers that can grow as large as dinner plates, hibiscus plants are show-stopping additions to the garden and home. However, if you don’t have the space or proper climate, you may not be able to grow these plants in the ground outdoors. If that’s the case, you may be wondering if you can grow hibiscus in pots and containers.
Can You Grow Hibiscus Plants in Pots and Containers?
Yes, you can grow some types of hibiscus plants in pots or containers. Gardeners located outside of the tropics often grow tropical hibiscus in pots. This allows you to grow the plants indoors or move them indoors once temperatures dip.
Hibiscus plants are a group of a few hundred species in the Hibiscus genus. All of these plants are in the mallow family, Malvaceae.
One of the most noteworthy characteristics of hibiscus plants is their large flowers. These flowers are typically a few inches in diameter but can grow up to a foot wide!
The flowers only bloom for a day or two, but healthy plants will continue to produce new blooms during the flowering season.
Since there are hundreds of different species of hibiscus plants, it may not be surprising that there is quite a variation within this genus. One of the most notable differences between plants is their cold hardiness and growth habit.
Hardy hibiscus plants grow well in zones 5–9 and lose their foliage during the winter. Tropical hibiscus can also survive outdoors in zones 10–12, and they remain evergreen. Most types of hibiscus thrive in full sun (and won’t tolerate full shade conditions).
Each is available in various colors, including beautiful yellow, red, and purple hibiscus flowers.
Picking a Container for Hibiscus Plants
If you want to grow a healthy hibiscus plant in a container, you’ll need to make sure to choose a proper pot! You should consider factors including the container size, material, and drainage holes.
Many tropical hibiscus plants can be grown in pots that are as small as ten inches in diameter. While you may need to refresh the soil in these pots every few years, the plants can thrive.
However, you can also grow hibiscus plants in larger pots, such as those that are 12 or 18 inches in diameter. If you plan to move your hibiscus plants between the indoors and outdoors, be aware that larger pots will be heavier and more challenging to move.
As far as material size goes, you have multiple options. Terra cotta, glazed ceramic, and plastic can all work well.
No matter what size and material you choose, your pot must have drainage holes that allow excess water to escape. A lack of drainage holes can lead to saturated soils and rotten roots.
Selecting a Potting Mix for Potted Hibiscus
While you can grow in-ground hibiscus plants in native soil, you shouldn’t grow potted hibiscus in soil. Instead, you should choose a soilless potting mix that is designed for container plants.
Since hibiscus plants like their soil moist but not wet, choosing a well-draining potting mix is important. If the mix doesn’t provide suitable drainage, plant roots may begin to rot.
Chunky materials such as perlite and pine bark fines will help increase the drainage in a soil mix. Adding sand to the potting mix can also help improve drainage.
While good drainage is essential, a proper hibiscus potting mix should also be able to hold a fair bit of moisture. This will allow the soil to stay damp in between waterings.
As far as pH goes, the mix should have a slightly acidic to neutral pH. This means the pH should be between 6.0–7.0.
Some types of potting mixes that can work well for hibiscus plants include FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Mix and Espoma Organic Potting Soil.
Fertilizing Hibiscus in Pots and Containers
Most potting mixes provide few, if any, nutrients. Therefore, you should fertilize your potted hibiscus plants on a regular basis.
Choose a fertilizer designed for flowering plants and apply it once in the early spring, once in late spring, and again in mid-summer. Some suitable fertilizers include Fox Farm Tiger Bloom and Neptune’s Harvest Rose & Flowering Formula.
For more, see our in-depth guide on how to manage hibiscus plants that aren’t blooming.
Growing Hibiscus in Pots and Containers FAQs:
What Is the Best Potting Soil for Hibiscus?
Choose a well-draining soil mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. The mix should hold moisture but also allow excess water to escape.
Can I Leave a Potted Hibiscus Outdoors?
You can leave a potted hibiscus outdoors if the temperature remains above 50°. You should bring your plant indoors during colder weather.
If you choose the proper container and soil mix, hibiscus can grow well in containers. Water when the top few inches of soil are dry and fertilize the plants regularly.
For more, see our in-depth guides to hibiscus flower meaning and symbolism and 32 amazing uses and benefits of hibiscus.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.
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