Hibiscus flowers are gorgeous, vigorous plants with large, showy blooms. Most types of hibiscus come from warm climates in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas. In this article, we’ll find out where to plant hibiscus flowers in your garden for optimal growth and maximum blooms each season.
What Conditions Do Hibiscus Flowers Like?
The Hibiscus genus contains hundreds of species of annual or perennial plants from the mallow family (Malvaceae). Most hibiscus species are native to parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Hibiscus are divided into two types depending on their preferred climate; hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. Each is available in a range of colors, including beautiful yellow, red, and purple hibiscus flowers.
Hardy hibiscus species thrive in USDA Zones 4 to 9 and are reasonably cold-hardy. Tropical hibiscus grows outdoors in Zones 9 to 12 and indoors in colder areas. In their preferred climates, hardy hibiscus varieties are deciduous, while tropical hibiscus is evergreen.
Hardy hibiscus plants can survive winter temperatures as low as -30ºF and can tolerate frost. However, tropical hibiscus cannot tolerate cold temperatures or frost. If nighttime temperatures drop below 40ºF, tropical hibiscus starts to lose their leaves and die.
How Tall and Wide Do Hibiscus Plants Grow?
Hardy hibiscus plants are usually smaller than tropical hibiscus and have a shorter flowering season. Hardy hibiscus plants grow between 3 and 12 feet tall and approximately 2 to 8 feet wide. Many tropical hibiscus species grow 2 to 15 feet high and 3 to 8 feet wide. However, some tropical hibiscus grows as shrubs or small trees that can reach up to 30 feet tall.
What Soil Conditions Do Hibiscus Plants Need?
Both types of hibiscus plants require plenty of nutrients and moisture within the soil. Hibiscus plants grow best in well-draining soils that hold some moisture. Hibiscus plants hate being waterlogged, which can cause root rot and other problems.
Both hardy and tropical hibiscus prefer neutral to slightly acidic soils with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. That said, some hardy hibiscus varieties can tolerate alkaline soils. Adding lots of organic matter to the soil provides hibiscus plants with extra drainage and nutrients.
Where to Plant Hibiscus in Your Garden
Plant hibiscus in sheltered areas with well-draining soils that retain some moisture. When growing hibiscus outdoors, ensure you’re growing the right type for your growing zone. Choose locations that provide some direct sunlight in the morning, followed by partial shade in the afternoon.
Tropical hibiscus prefer partial shade but can grow in full sun in mild climates. Hardy hibiscus grow best in full sun and need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Hardy hibiscus can also tolerate partial shade in warmer areas. Make sure that your hibiscus gets afternoon shade during hot summers.
Hibiscus plants produce several short taproots that are supported by shallow, dense mats of fibrous roots near the surface. Hibiscus plants don’t have invasive or dangerous roots, so you can plant them close to buildings and paths.
Can You Grow Hibiscus in Pots?
Hibiscus plants grow well in pots but need watering more frequently than those growing in the ground. Water your potted hibiscus whenever the top 1 or 2 inches of soil feel dry. During hot summers, you may have to water them once a day.
Choose sturdy pots that are 1 to 2 inches larger than the hibiscus’s nursery pot. Use well-draining soils that hold a bit of moisture. In cold areas, grow tropical hibiscus in containers and bring them indoors in winter.
Where to Plant Hibiscus FAQs:
What is the Best Place to Put a Hibiscus Plant?
The best place to plant hibiscus is in a sheltered location with rich, well-draining soil that holds some moisture. Hardy hibiscus can grow outdoors in Zones 4 to 9. However, tropical hibiscus can only grow outside in Zones 9 to 12.
Do Hibiscus Do Better in Pots or in the Ground?
Hibiscus plants grow well in both pots and the ground. However, growing hibiscus in pots is generally easier. In areas outside of Zone 9, tropical hibiscus must be grown in containers and moved indoors during the winter.
Can Hibiscus Survive Winter Outside?
Hardy hibiscus can survive winters outdoors in Zone 4 and above. Hardy hibiscus can tolerate winter temperatures as low as -30ºF. Tropical hibiscus cannot survive winter outside unless you have mild winters in Zones 9 to 12.
Hibiscus plants need partial sun and rich, well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. Grow hardy hibiscus outdoors in Zones 4 to 9 and tropical hibiscus in Zones 9 to 12.
For more, see our in-depth guide to troubleshooting non-flowering hibiscus plants and common causes of yellow leaves on 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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