Hibiscus, Tropical
Same planting guide as Tropical Hibiscus

QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE

1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full sun.

2. USDA Hardiness Zones - In-ground hardy in zone 11. In zones 1 to 10 move indoors in the fall and treat as a houseplant.

3. Planting Distance - 4 to 5 feet apart in ground or 1 plant per 16 inch or larger container.

4. Mature Height/Spread - In-ground 4 to 5 feet tall with a similar spread within 2 years.

5. Bloom Time - Intermittently all year long and heaviest in the summer.

6. Planting Instructions - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown.  Please note that many of our pots are biodegradable.  If your plant is not in a traditional plastic pot then you may place the entire biodegradable pot in the ground; otherwise, gently remove the root ball from the pot.  Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply.  If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil.  Water thoroughly.

GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT

Hibiscus are one of the last perennials to sprout or break dormancy. There are also differences between varieties with some growing faster than others. It is not unusual to have one or two break dormancy two weeks after their counterparts. Once Hibiscus sprout, they grow rapidly. Warm weather will accelerate their growth.

SOIL PREPARATION

Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office.  These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance.  See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves and/or peat moss.

3.  After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.

CONTINUING CARE

Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground.  Do not allow plants in containers to dry out.  In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.  You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e. in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with other plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

Grooming - Remove flower heads as soon as soon as the flowers have faded in the summer to encourage continuous bloom.  At the same time, remove unwanted or undesirable branches and cut out weak shoots, particularly those inside or toward the center of your shrub.  

Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.

Winterizing - Hardy outdoors only in zone 11.  In zones 1-10 move your plant indoors before the first frost.

When you bring your plant indoors for the winter, select a room that is bright, preferably one with a southern exposure. Even a bathroom will do if it has a southern exposure.  Indoors, plants tend to dry out from lack of humidity; however; this does not mean to water them daily. Bathrooms simply provide natural humidity for the plant's environment. 

If you place your plant in any other room, you can boost the humidity level around your plant by filling a shallow tray with gravel and water then placing the pot in the tray.  The water level should be slightly below the gravel so that the pot is not submerged in the water.  You may also use a spray bottle to mist the plant with water once a week.

All other watering and feeding indoors should be reduced significantly.  Do not over water or allow your plants to sit in water.  If you follow these simple steps and remove unsightly or dead growth over the winter, your plant will extend its performance into the following season.

In the spring when temperatures begin to rise, ease the plant into a full watering schedule and move back outdoors for the summer.

 

CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.