Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
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


Chinese hibiscus is a tropical evergreen shrub that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where it is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants appreciate being sited in locations protected from strong winds. In the St. Louis area, plants may be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors. They also may be grown in sunny rooms (bright light but not full sun) as houseplants. Plants may also be purchased in containers in spring and grown as annuals. Plants appreciate consistent moisture and high humidity. Regular watering, misting and fertilization during the growing season are advisable. Roots should never dry out. Set container in a bed of moist pebbles to increase humidity. Plants are sensitive to changing conditions. During the growing season, moving containers to different locations or changing temperatures or poor light may result in bud drop. Plants should be overwintered in 60 degree F. locations with reduced watering and reduced fertilization. Prune out 1/3 of old wood plus cut back stems by 1/2 in early spring to keep plants healthy and compact.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, commonly called Chinese hibiscus, is a frost tender evergreen that is probably native to tropical Asia. No wild populations of this plant have been found in modern times. This name is often applied to hybrid tropical hibiscus cultivars, although it does not fully reflect the multiple species involved in breeding modern hybrid cultivars. Plants feature glabrous, toothed, shiny green leaves (to 6”) and large, funnel-like flowers (to 4-8” diameter) with stamens in a showy central tube. Plants grown outdoors year round typically rise to 10-12’ tall, and plants grown in containers that are overwintered indoors are typically trimmed to 5-6’ tall. Outdoor plants will flower throughout the year. Plants brought indoors in fall typically flower from spring to late summer. Flowers last for only one day. Indoor plants need regular pruning to maintain good shape. Another common name for plants of this species is rose of China.

Genus name is the old Greek and Latin name for mallow.

Specific epithet comes from rosa meaning rose and sinensis meaning Chinese.


In USDA Zones 10-11, plants are excellent as specimens, hedges or screens. In areas where not winter hardy, plants are excellent in containers that may be brought indoors in fall or grown as houseplants.