Hibiscus Tree Care: Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Hibiscus

  • By: SFUAA
  • Date: May 6, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Hibiscus trees are beautiful and have the loveliest large and brightly colored flowers. These trees are becoming a staple in many gardens around the country due to their beauty. If you have a Hibiscus, you need to know how to care for it properly to keep it healthy. So, how do you care for a Hibiscus Tree?

Hibiscus trees love their water and should be watered when the first inch of their soil is dry. They should be kept in bright sunlight conditions, and they need to be fertilized once every few weeks during spring and summer. These plants also need warm temperatures to grow properly.

How do you ensure your Hibiscus has everything it needs to stay healthy? How and when do you prune Hibiscus trees? What are some common problems Hibiscus plants face? Let’s find out!

hibiscus
Hibiscus Flower

How To Care For Hibiscus Trees

Hibiscus trees are gorgeous and can be a centerpiece to your garden. These trees are prized for their big and beautiful flowers that bloom every spring. Their flowers come in various colors, so you are sure to find one in a color you like. 

There are over 200 species of hibiscus trees for you to choose from. Each one is as stunning as the next, so it can be a difficult choice. Hibiscus trees are from warm climates and will do well in most South American gardens. 

However, if you reside in Northern America, you will need to take a few extra precautions to keep your tree safe from the colder weather. 

Hibiscus trees can be demanding as they have very specific care requirements that you need to provide for the tree to grow strong and healthy in your care. So, let’s go through all the care requirements of Hibiscus trees to ensure yours grows to its full potential and stays healthy. 

Watering A Hibiscus Tree

Most Hibiscus trees are tropical, which means these plants can be quite thirsty and need a lot of water to stay happy. If you keep your Hibiscus tree in a pot indoors, then your Hibiscus needs to be watered regularly from spring to early autumn. 

In the colder months, you can reduce the frequency that you water your Hibiscus as the plant will go dormant during winter and will not require as much water. To get into a good watering schedule for your container-grown Hibiscus tree, you can monitor the moisture in the soil. 

When the first inch of the soil is completely dry, you can water your Hibiscus again. If you have planted your Hibiscus tree in your garden, you will need to monitor the moisture in the soil, and you might need to water your Hibiscus daily as its shares the water with the other plants around it. 

Sunlight Requirements Of Hibiscus Trees 

Hibiscus trees love sunlight and bright conditions. The amount of sunlight your Hibiscus tree should be exposed to will depend on where you live. In Northern America, where the weather conditions are slightly cooler, and the sun is not that strong, Hibiscus trees will grow comfortably in full sun conditions. 

If you live in Southern America, where the conditions are hotter, and the sun is stronger, growing your Hibiscus plant in filtered bright sunlight would be best. If you see that your Hibiscus tree isn’t producing many blooms, then you can move your tree to a sunnier location. 

If you keep your Hibiscus tree indoors, you need to keep it next to a window that receives a lot of sunlight. For indoor Hibiscus trees, you should keep them out of strong, direct sunlight as this could damage the plant’s foliage. 

Temperature Requirements For Hibiscus Trees 

Hibiscus trees are mostly tropical plants and, therefore, prefer warmer temperatures. Hibiscus trees don’t do well in the cold and can die if you don’t take the precautions needed to protect them. Hibiscus trees tend to thrive in a temperature range of 60 to 90°F. Most hibiscus trees will only survive in zones 10 and warmer.

You should never let the temperatures drop below 40°F, which could damage the plant. If you have your Hibiscus in a container, you need to bring it inside when the cold winter temperatures begin. 

The exception is the hardy hibiscus, which will survive in zones 5 to 9, meaning they can handle temperatures down to -20F.

If your Hibiscus tree is planted in your garden, you will need to winterize it if you want it to survive through the winter months. We will cover how to do this later in this article. It’s always good to keep a thermometer around your Hibiscus tree to monitor the temperature around the plant and move it if you need to. 

Fertilizing Hibiscus Trees

Hibiscus trees need to be fertilized as they are hungry plants too, especially in the spring when they are growing and developing their big and beautiful flowers. 

Fertilizing your Hibiscus tree will also encourage more bloom growth in your plant, and the blooms will be healthier and have better color than the Hibiscus plants that don’t get fertilized. You need to buy a high-quality fertilizer high in nitrogen and potassium to reap the benefits described above. 

You can also go for organic fertilizers like seaweed extract or fish emulsion if you don’t want to use normal fertilizers in your garden. You should only fertilize your Hibiscus tree with a diluted fertilizer because if the fertilizer is at full strength, it could damage your plant’s roots. 

Feed your Hibiscus tree once before the blooming season starts, and then continue fertilizing it once every few weeks until the flowering season ends. 

Soil Requirements For Hibiscus Trees 

Hibiscus trees need well-draining soil and loamy soil to stay healthy. The soil must be kept moist and fertile for the Hibiscus to grow fully and not be stunted. If you keep your Hibiscus in a container, the container needs to have plenty of drainage holes for excess water to escape, or root rot can set in. 

Hibiscus trees prefer a slighter, more acidic soil between PH 6.5 to 6.8, so you need to test the soil regularly to ensure all these conditions are met for your Hibiscus to thrive. If the pH level in the soil is not correct, this can affect the color of your Hibiscus flowers. 

The flowers will be dull and light, which is not what you want from your Hibiscus plant. If the soil lacks nutrients, you need to amend this with organic matter, or your Hibiscus could die. 

How And When To Prune Hibiscus Trees

Pruning is a part of Hibiscus care that many people overlook as it can seem as though your Hibiscus doesn’t need it. However, all Hibiscus plants will benefit from a good pruning now and then. You do a full prune of your Hibiscus tree annually after every winter once your Hibiscus tree is established in its soil.

During your annual pruning of your Hibiscus, you need to prune back to old wood in the center of the tree. This will help with the air circulation in the plant. This will help prevent any disease growth in this location, which can be difficult to treat. 

Then after the blooming season, you need to prune your Hibiscus tree again. During this pruning season, you need to prune all the dead flowers from the tree and any dead, dying, or diseased branches that you can see. 

Growing Hibiscus Trees In Containers

Many people find that growing Hibiscus trees in containers is easier than growing them in their garden. This is because you can offer more care to the Hibiscus and ensure it receives everything it needs without other plants possibly stealing from the plant. 

If your Hibiscus is in a container, you can move it wherever it needs to get the right amount of sunlight, and you can move it indoors in the winter to ensure the plant survives. 

The care requirements we have gone through will still apply to Hibiscus plants in containers, but it will be easier to monitor these conditions for your plant. You need to ensure the container you use drains well and is big enough for your Hibiscus plant.

Stone pots seem to encourage more growth in Hibiscus plants than other materials. You should stay away from clay pots as they can turn the soil alkaline, damaging your Hibiscus. 

How To Winterize Hibiscus Trees

If you live in North America or have particularly cold winters, you need to keep your Hibiscus safe from the dropping temperatures as this can kill your plant. If your Hibiscus is in a container, you need to move it indoors before the temperature drops below 40°F to protect your plant. 

You should move your plant to the warmest room in your home for the winter. Ensure that the humidity is high in the room and the temperature stays above 40°F. If your Hibiscus tree is planted in your garden, you will need to take a few more precautions to protect your plant. 

You will need to mulch the soil of your Hibiscus plant to help keep the roots warm and stop the moisture in the soil from freezing. If you can, you should also tent your Hibiscus plant over winter to protect the foliage and branches from the frost and snow. 

How To Propagate Hibiscus Trees

Propagating your Hibiscus tree is a great idea, as you can create more for your own collection or give them to family and friends as gifts. Propagating Hibiscus plants is easy and won’t take you too long. 

You will need a softwood cutting to propagate your Hibiscus plant. This is a new branch that hasn’t fully matured yet. The softwood cutting should be between four to six inches long and already have a few leaves growing. The stem will still be soft, so you need to be extra careful when cutting it to not split the wood. 

Cut the stem using sharp, sterilized garden shears. Dip the edge of the stem that was cut in a growth hormone to encourage the cutting to root and place it in good-quality well-draining soil. Water the stem until the soil is moist. 

Place some plastic over the cutting to create a little greenhouse and keep the cutting warm. Check on the cutting every day and water it if needed. The plant should be rooted in two to four weeks. 

Common Problems That Hibiscus Trees Face

When growing Hibiscus trees, you need to be aware of some common problems that could plague your tree. You need to know what these problems are, how to identify them, and how to treat them if your Hibiscus tree has them. 

This is important knowledge to have if you want to keep your Hibiscus plant healthy and happy in your care. These problems are quite common, so you need to be on alert for them every time you check your Hibiscus tree. Let’s go through these problems in detail, so you know what to do when you spot something out of the ordinary. 

Over And Under-Watering

Underwatering your Hibiscus tree is fairly easy to do as these trees require more water than most other plants you might have in your care. If your Hibiscus has been underwatered, the foliage will be dry and begin to crumble when touched. 

The leave will also begin to discolor and turn yellow, then brown as they start to die. If this happens to your Hibiscus, you need to water it more. Begin watering your Hibiscus with a little bit of water every day. 

Don’t water it too much as this could shock your plant. Water it until the soil is damp, and then stop. Even though Hibiscus plants love their water, they can still be overwatered, leading to root rot. 

If your Hibiscus has been overwatered, the foliage will be mushy to the touch, and the leaves will be yellow. If this happens, you will need to stop watering your plant for a bit and get the soil to dry. 

You can put a fan next to the plant to help the soil dry out. Then when the soil has dried, return to a regular watering schedule for your Hibiscus. 

Conclusion

Hibiscus trees are stunning to have in your garden and home, but they require a good amount of care to keep them healthy. You need to keep your Hibiscus well-watered and fed, especially in the blooming season. 

Your plant should have bright sunlight and be kept in warm temperatures with high humidity. You need to prune your plant at least once a year, but twice would be preferable. Ensure you stick to a watering schedule to not over or underwater your Hibiscus tree. Good luck caring for your Hibiscus!

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