All About Hibiscus

Hibiscus, with their diversity in size, color, and zone tolerances, are lovely plants to add to your landscape. Regardless of whether you opt or the shrub variations or the small tree species, they will produce big, beautiful, showy flowers that really make a garden pop. Though the blooms only last for a few days at a time, hibiscus grows new blossoms quickly to replace the others. Here in South Florida we are able to grow both the tropical varieties and the more cold-hardy perennial species–here’s what they need to grow well in your yard.

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Growing Conditions

To have thriving hibiscus plants, you’ll need to plant them in areas that receive full sun (8+ hours of sun each day). Make sure separate plants are nicely spaced; they’ll struggle if planted too close together because the sun will be blocked by the adjacent plant’s branches. If your soil is very sandy, you’ll likely need to add compost or other organic matter to your soil–while hibiscus plants need well-draining soil, they also grow best in rich soils that contain more nutrients than our sandy soil generally provides. Hibiscus grows on long stems that are liable to bend or snap during high winds. Because of this, it’s best to plant them in an area that is sheltered from wind or to plant them in mobile containers so that you can bring them indoors during severe storms.

How to Care for Your Hibiscus

As a tropical plant, hibiscus plants prefer soil that is kept quite moist. Check the soil once every one to two days and water heavily when the top 1” of soil is dry. These beauties also require fertilizer to maintain the high nutrient levels in which they grow best; apply an all-purpose fertilizer with high N and K values once per month throughout the growing season for the best results. You can encourage more flower blooms to grow by cutting off dead flowers before they begin to grow their large seed heads.

Bring its Beauty Indoors

If you adore your hibiscus blooms, you can incorporate them into your interior spaces as well. Simply place in a sunny, south-facing window and water whenever the top 1” of soil is dry, just like when it’s grown outdoors. Since potting soil is generally richer than the topsoil in your landscape, you won’t need to fertilize your hibiscus houseplants as frequently as outdoors. Give them fertilizer twice per year with a slow-release nitrogen, and you’ll get to experience its showy flowers throughout the spring and summer.

Health Benefits

Hibiscus is also a medicinal plant that has been used throughout history to treat nausea, decrease high blood pressure, and break fevers and colds. The most common way to take hibiscus is through tea. This can be made at home so long as you do not apply chemical herbicides to your plants. Collect and dry the flower petals, leaves, and its calyces–the cup-shaped base of the flowers that, if left on the plant, develops into the seed head. Once they’re dried, you can steep them in hot water for a delicious, tart tea with a plethora of health benefits. You can also purchase hibiscus extract from your local health food store and take the recommended daily dosage.

Big Earth Landscape Supply has everything you need to begin your spring and summer landscape projects. Visit one of our 4 Sarasota and Tampa Bay locations today.