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How to Keep Hibiscus Blooming: 11 Tips For Lasting Flowers

How to Keep Hibiscus Blooming: 11 Tips For Lasting Flowers

The plant family Malvaceae is home to numerous species of Hibiscus, a group of flowering plants commonly found in warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions. These plants include both annual and perennial herbs, such as Hibiscus syriacus and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, which are distinctive in their own ways and have adapted to different regions. (Reference) If there are any difficulties encountered, please respond with the error message: Unable to process the request due to encountered difficulties.

Hibiscus, known for its vibrant and large flowers, typically blooms from mid to late summer, offering a display of beautiful color for 3 to 4 weeks. These plants thrive in specific conditions, yet their flowering period is often brief.

Hibiscus care

To ensure beautiful and longer-lasting blooms in Hibiscus, consider these key points:

  • Adequate Sunlight: Hibiscus requires 6-8 hours of full sun daily for optimal blooming.
  • Proper Watering: Maintain moist but well-drained soil, avoiding both overwatering and drought.
  • Regular Fertilization: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season to provide essential nutrients.

In this article, we provide a detailed guide for ensuring beautiful and long-lasting hibiscus flower blooms. Each step is thoroughly explained, covering essential aspects of care such as sunlight requirements, watering practices, fertilization methods, and more. The article is designed to help gardeners optimize the health and flowering of their hibiscus plants, ensuring vibrant and sustained blooms

How to Keep Hibiscus Blooming?

Care Tips
Fertilize Routinely – Use extra nutrients during growing season for more blooms. Options include diluted liquid fertilizer, slow-release granular fertilizer, or potassium-rich compost.
Water Consistently – Keep soil moist but not soggy. Adjust watering routine based on weather and soil moisture.
Provide Adequate Light – Ensure 6-8 hours of daily direct sunlight. Position in full or partial sun depending on climate.
Maintain Proper Temperatures – Best blooming occurs between 60-90°F. Protect from temperatures below 32°F.
Check for Pests and Diseases – Regularly inspect and treat for pests and diseases. Use organic sprays and fungicides as needed.
Repot When Needed – Repot if roots are visible or soil dries out quickly. Choose the right time and pot size.
Prune in Early Spring – Prune dead or damaged branches to promote healthy blooms. Best done in early spring.
Mulch to Retain Moisture – Add mulch to reduce moisture loss and improve soil fertility. Avoid contact with the stem/trunk.
Ensure Healthy, Quick-Draining Soil – Use light, well-draining soil enriched with organic matter. Amend soil as needed for drainage and fertility.
Check Soil pH – Maintain slightly acidic soil (pH 6.5-6.8). Adjust pH with lime or sulfur if necessary.
Ensure Appropriate Pot Size – Use a pot wider than it is deep. Hibiscus blooms better when slightly root-bound.
How to keep hibiscus blooming

1. Fertilize Routinely – What is the Best Fertilizer?

Hibiscus plants are exceptionally heavy feeders and will appreciate additional nutrients during their active growing season to provide them with abundant blooms.

  • As fertilizer options go for hibiscus plants, you can choose to use a diluted liquid fertilizer, a slow-release granular fertilizer (this one is excellent), or you can add potassium-rich compost to your soil (the easiest choice if you’re growing hibiscus directly outdoors).
  • Amy Andrychowicz of Get Busy Gardening recommends applying an organic water-soluble fertilizer like this one once a week during spring and summer (4 tbsp. per gallon of water), as this can be used on indoor and outdoor potted hibiscus and contains no synthetic chemicals that would otherwise hinder flower growth.
  • Don’t feed indoor and outdoor plants in fall and winter. They need this rest time to shift energy from flowers to roots.

Keep hibiscus blooming the whole summer

To keep hibiscus blooming all summer and increase flowering, providing ample nutrients is vital. As heavy feeders, these plants really benefit from extra nutrients in their growth period, resulting in more blooms.

Ideal fertilization options include diluted liquid fertilizer, slow-release granular fertilizer (you can choose different brands on Amazon), or potassium-rich compost, especially for hibiscus plants like Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Hibiscus syriacus. Applying an organic, water-soluble fertilizer regularly during spring and summer is crucial to enhance flower growth. However, pause fertilization in fall and winter to allow the plants to refocus energy from flowers to root growth.

By ensuring enough sun, regular watering, and right feeding, you’ll keep your hibiscus healthy with the best flowers and a longer bloom time.

2. Humidity and Watering needs for Flowering Hibiscus

To make Hibiscus blooms last longer, maintaining consistent water levels is key. Hibiscus care requires careful watering, particularly during the blooming phase

  • Avid gardener Lisa from The Practical Planter advises watering your hibiscus daily in its first week after being planted/potted before “tapering off to twice a week after that. Continue using this twice-a-week ideal, aside from when there is rainfall, and switch back to daily watering if the weather turns notably hot and dry.”
  • As tropical plants, hibiscus soil should remain moist but not soggy or dry, so when in doubt, stick your finger about 1-2 inches deep in the soil, and if it feels dry or barely moist, it’s time to water. If it feels evenly moist or wet, check back the following day. You can always use a soil moisture monitor too!

For hibiscus care indoors, monitoring soil humidity and adjusting watering accordingly is vital. A moist soil environment, along with optimal sun exposure, contributes significantly to the longevity of Hibiscus blooms.

3. Provide Adequate Light

  • Plant hibiscus in full sun for 6-8 hours daily to get buds. In mild climates, full sun is best. In hot areas, partial sun works.
  • However, if you’re growing your hibiscus plants in containers as many growers choose to, you can position your pots in direct sun when it’s cooler and give them much-needed afternoon shade during heatwaves (or for those living in the hottest USDA grow zones).
  • Hibiscus grown in low-light indoor settings will need the help of grow lights (be sure they are full-spectrum lights) to replicate the recommended 6-8 hours sun.
A single yellow hibiscus bloom.

4. Maintain Proper Temperatures

  • This plant blooms best when temperatures remain consistently between 60 and 90°F (16-32°C ), but it won’t tolerate temperatures below 32°F (0°C), so potted hibiscus will need to be moved indoors a week or so before the first frost date in your area.
  • Keep indoor hibiscus away from temperature changes and move them outside when nights stay above 50°F (10°C).

5. Check Routinely for Pests and Diseases – Treat Promptly

Hibiscus can fall prey to many indoor and outdoor nasties, including the flower-hungry Japanese beetle, spider mites, mealybugs, thrips, whiteflies, and aphids.

If left unchecked, flowers can drop prematurely and young buds will fail to bloom altogether.

  • Monitor your hibiscus leaves and flowers regularly to spot-treat the issue right away. In many cases, you can hand-pick the pests off by tapping leaves with a pencil and catching pests with a paper towel, or deter future visitors with an organic insecticidal spray that will kill bugs and larvae but leave your plant unharmed.
  • Water your hibiscus less in winter to prevent fungal diseases. Routinely check foliage, and apply organic fungicide at the first signs of disease (wilting, black spots, white mold, etc.). This helpful page includes images of common hibiscus pests and diseases for easy identification.

6. Repot When Needed

Hibiscus should not be repotted randomly but only when completely necessary to avoid needless stress to foliage and bud development.

Hibiscus plants need at least 6-8 hours of daily direct sunlight to produce buds, so they’ll need to be planted in a full-sun spot in your garden if you live in a mild spring/summer climate or in partial sun if you live in a bright, hot location.

  • The roots are coming through the drainage holes.
  • Roots are circling around the soil and appear tightly packed together.
  • It’s suddenly started losing a lot of leaves.
  • The soil is drying out faster than usual.

Here is a simple guide to report your hibiscus

7. Hibiscus Pruning – Only in Early Spring

  • In the same way that trimming your hair makes way for healthier new strands, your hibiscus will benefit from heavy pruning to promote healthy additional blooms – ideally in early spring (around March 1st) before blooming occurs.
  • Use heavy-duty pruning shears for a clean cut, and prune back any dead or damaged branches and yellow stems, and deadhead faded flowers from the previous season.
    • Deadheading should generally be done in early spring, just before the new blooming period begins. Using sharp pruning shears, carefully remove spent flowers, which can stimulate the plant to focus its energy on developing new, healthy blooms.

8. Mulch To Retain Moisture

  • Add 1 inch of mulch around indoor plants, or 3 inches for outdoor hibiscus. This helps keep moisture and makes soil fertile.
  • To prevent rot, just be sure that the mulch doesn’t touch the stem/trunk of your plant.
  • Keep in mind that mulch consisting of compost and shredded leaves will break down quite rapidly in the soil and will need replenishing every year or so, while heavy bark mulch may take several years to break down.

9. Ensure Soil is Healthy and Drains Quickly

Hibiscus plants prefer light, well-draining soil that has ideally been enriched with organic matter such as vermicompost (earthworm waste) to deliver a double nutrient boost in addition to regular fertilizer feeds.

A 2009 study found that hibiscus grown with vermicompost resulted in much greater flower production!

  • Amend heavier, compacted garden soils with a 1-3-inch layer of vermicompost. For potted hibiscus, Get Busy Gardening’s Amy Andrychowicz recommends a recipe of “2 parts Espoma Organic potting soil, 2 parts coco coir (coconut husk fiber), and 1 part perlite (lightweight volcanic rock).”
  • The addition of vermicompost or coco coir/perlite respectively improves soil fertility and creates an airy, free-draining medium that holds on to sufficient moisture without overwhelming the hibiscus roots.

10. Check Soil pH – and when to use Epsom salts

Hibiscus thrives in soil that sits somewhere between 6.5 and 6.8 on the pH scale (slightly acidic) as this mid-range grants them access to all available nutrients, prompting bigger, better blooms.

  • Check the pH levels of both your container and garden-planted hibiscus, and amend accordingly. The Pennington Lawn & Garden company advises adding lime (ground limestone) to increase pH or adding soil sulfur to decrease – allowing 2 weeks for the newly amended soil to achieve the correct pH.
  • Make sure you consider using of Epsom salts for hibiscus that aren’t flowering. Epsom salts, rich in magnesium, can be a helpful supplement to improve soil health and potentially aid in flower development. Adding Epsom salts can address magnesium deficiencies in the soil, which is often a factor in hibiscus, not flowering. This practice should be considered alongside ensuring the right soil pH and pot size to create optimal growing conditions for hibiscus plants.

To check the pH levels in your garden learn more about soil testing.

11. Make Sure Pot Is Not Too Deep

While a deep container sounds beneficial, planting your hibiscus in one will cause it to direct its energy into producing healthy far-spreading roots rather than foliage and show-stopping blooms.

  • When it’s time to report, opt for a container that is wider than it is deep (around 10 inches across will suffice for your first report from the nursery container).
  • After that, choose pots only 1-2 inches wider in diameter than the previous and so on.

PRO TIP! Hibiscus can afford to be a little root-bound (coiling around the soil) and will actually bloom more profusely in these conditions according to the American Hibiscus Society! So hold off from repotting until absolutely necessary (re: Step #6).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How Many Times Do Hibiscus Flowers Bloom?

Hibiscus can bloom many times from late spring to fall. The type of hibiscus, care, and environment affect how often and long they bloom. Tropical hibiscus can bloom year-round, while hardy varieties bloom in late summer and early fall.

Proper care, including watering, fertilizing, and pruning, encourages more blooms, and adequate sunlight is essential for continuous flowering. In mild climates, hibiscus may bloom year-round, while in colder areas, they go dormant in winter and resume blooming in spring and summer.

Tips For Indoor Hibiscus Plant Care

When caring for hibiscus indoors, focus on these key aspects:

  1. Light: Provide bright, indirect sunlight for at least 4-6 hours a day.
  2. Temperature: Keep the room temperature around 60-70°F (15-24°C) and avoid drafts.
  3. Watering: Water when the top inch of soil is dry, but don’t let it sit in water.
  4. Humidity: Maintain humidity levels above 40% by using a humidity tray or room humidifier.
  5. Fertilizing: Feed with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the growing season.
  6. Pruning: Trim leggy growth and faded flowers to encourage bushiness and more blooms.
  7. Pests and Diseases: Regularly inspect for pests like aphids and mealybugs, and treat them promptly if necessary.

Can Hibiscus Survive The Winter?

During the winter, it’s best to bring potted hibiscus plants indoors to protect them from cold temperatures. Hibiscus can be sensitive to frost, so providing them with a warm and sheltered environment is essential for their winter care.

Do Hibiscus Plants Like Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds are good for hibiscus. They add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. This improves soil and helps the plant grow, but use them in small amounts. However, it’s important not to overuse coffee grounds, as excessive acidity can be harmful to hibiscus plants.

Why Is My Hibiscus Not blooming?

If you’ve followed the advice from this article and your Hibiscus is still not blooming, consider these additional factors:

  • Recovery Time: If the plant has recently been repotted, pruned, or moved, it may need time to adjust before it can bloom again.
  • Subtle Care Imbalances: Even minor inconsistencies in watering, light, or fertilization can impact blooming. Ensure these factors are consistently optimized.
  • Hidden Pests or Diseases: Sometimes pests or diseases are not immediately apparent. A closer inspection might reveal issues that need addressing.
  • Environmental Stress: Changes in the surrounding environment, such as unusual weather patterns or indoor heating/cooling fluctuations, might affect the plant.
  • Maturity of the Plant: Very young or old Hibiscus plants may have blooming issues. Consider the age of your plant and its typical blooming cycle.
  • Soil Quality: Beyond pH and drainage, the soil’s nutrient profile can change over time. A soil test can reveal deficiencies that aren’t obvious.

What Are the Most Common Types of Hibiscus?

Here is the list of common types of Hibiscus:

  • Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
  • Fiesta Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Fiesta’)
  • Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) – read more about it in our guide here
  • Hibiscus Moscheutos (Hibiscus moscheutos)
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus coccineus)
  • Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis)
  • Hawaiian Hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei)