Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: Chinese hibiscus
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Tropical Asia, China
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 4.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Red to dark red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Hibiscus are drought tender and frost tender and prefer a position in a sunny location in a rich, moist soil protected from strong winds. In warmer areas, hibiscus appreciate abundant watering and fertilization when newly planted, but requires little care once established. They can be trained into an informal hedge with hand pruners, pinching the tips of developing branches in spring and mid-summer. Since plants flower on new growth, this type of pruning will increase flower production. Untimely pruning often removes flower buds. From April through September, small monthly applications of a complete fertilizer are beneficial. Container-grown plants will require more frequent applications. To bloom and grow profusely, hibiscus must have sufficient water. Water thoroughly, but not too frequently. To keep mature plants growing vigorously, prune out about 1/3 of the old wood in spring. Hibiscus are not cold hardy. If your area is subject to freezing temperatures, your Chinese hibiscus must either be treated as an annual or brought indoors for the late fall through early spring months. Once inside, place in a sunny, warm location during the day and night temperatures should range from 55°F to 65°F.

Noteworthy Characteristics

A popular landscape plant in warm climates, this shrub creates a bold effect with its medium-textured, glossy dark green leaves and vibrantly-colored, four to eight-inch-wide, showy flowers, produced throughout the year. In cooler regions, hibiscus bloom throughout the warmer growing season. When flowering, this plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. While it can bloom abundantly, each flower only lasts for a day or two.

Problems

Chinese Hibiscus can be plagued with aphids on new growth. Other potential problems are mealybugs, mites, scale and whiteflies. Poor lighting, changes in temperature or irregular watering can cause buds to drop. Yellow leaves may be a sign of low nitrogen. Botrytis can also infect the flower buds and leaf spot can appear on the foliage. It is best to remove the damaged plant parts. Canker can kill branches or entire plants. Bright, reddish-orange fruiting bodies may appear on the bark. Prune out infected branches.

Garden Uses

In warmer regions, hibiscus are beautiful specimen plants or make a very attractive hedge or screen. In cooler climates, they make an exceptional pot plant that can be placed outside during the summer months. Hibiscus give a very tropical feel to an outdoor living area or pool-side garden. Grown indoors, their shiny foliage and periodic bloom brighten a greenhouse, sunroom or any brightly-lit living area.