Hibiscus 'Lilikoi Yellow' LUAU

Common Name: hibiscus 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow with red center
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer


Winter hardy to frost free areas of USDA Zones 9-11 where it is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade, but full sun with good air circulation produces the best flowers, strongest stems and the best environment for resisting potential diseases. Plants thrive in humid environments. Plants appreciate being sited in locations protected from strong winds. During the growing season, regular watering and fertilization are advisable. Roots should never dry out. Plants are sensitive to changing conditions. Bud drop may occur if plant containers are (a) moved to different locations or (b) subjected to significantly varying temperatures or (c) placed in locations with poor light intensity. In cold winter climates, plants can be overwintered indoors in a warm, sunny location or allowed to go dormant and stored in a cool, frost-free area. Prune out 1/3 of old wood plus cut back stems by 1/2 in early spring to keep plants healthy and compact. Plants are often difficult to grow indoors year-round as houseplants.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hybrid tropical hibiscus are frost-tender, evergreen perennials which, when grown outdoors year-round, typically rise to 8-12’ tall, but are usually trimmed to a much shorter 3-5’ tall when grown in containers to be overwintered indoors. At least eight different species have been involved in the breeding of modern tropical hibiscus cultivars. The group is sometimes given the name Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, although this name does not fully reflect the multiple species involved in breeding modern hybrid cultivars. They are omnipresent in tropical gardens and greenhouses in many parts of the world in the form of named cultivars.

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

‘Lilikoi Yellow’ is a LUAU Series cultivar which was granted U.S. plant patent PP20,424 on October 13, 2009. Patent documents state that ‘Lilikoi Yellow’ is a Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cultivar which was discovered in Alva, Florida on August 23, 2005 in a controlled greenhouse environment in which the breeding parents were H. rosa-sinensis (unpatented selection coded as YB-2222) as female parent and H. rosa-sinensis ‘YOHIB 2362’ (selection which was patented on April 17, 2007 as PP17,623) as male parent. This is a compact outwardly spreading cultivar which typically grows to 2-3’ tall (sometimes taller) featuring glabrous, toothed, shiny green, evergreen leaves (to 3 1/2”) and funnel-shaped, bright yellow flowers (to 3-4” diameter) each having a dark red center and a showy central staminal column. Each flower lasts for only 1-2 days. Outdoor plants may flower throughout the year. Plants have a dense plant habit that is appropriate for container growth. Container plants brought indoors in fall typically flower outdoors from spring to late summer. Indoor plants need regular pruning to maintain good shape.

Experts are in disagreement today over the question of whether ‘Lilikoi Yellow’ is a cultivar of H. rosa-sinensis or a hybrid. Nomenclature gets somewhat muddled when the species is polyploid (having multiple sets of chromosomes) and its physical characteristics are variable.


Watch for aphids, particularly on new growth. Some susceptibility to leaf spots, blights, rusts and canker. Blister mites can be significant problems in some areas. Leaf scorch and bud drop will probably occur if soils are allowed to dry out. Yellow leaves may be a sign of low nitrogen. Mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and Japanese beetles are occasional visitors. Insects and diseases can be especially problematic on plants overwintered indoors in a warm, sunny area.


In USDA Zones 10-11, plants may be trained to grow as informal hedges by pinching the tips of developing branches in spring and mid-summer with hand pruners. Excellent when grown as specimens or in small groupings. Good foundation plant for houses and buildings.

In areas where plants are not winter hardy, they may be grown as annuals, as houseplants or in containers that are brought indoors in fall for overwintering.