Growing Hibiscus Plants in Pots from Cuttings, Seeds

Growing hibiscus plants in Pots.
Growing hibiscus plants in Pots.

Introduction to growing Hibiscus plants in pots

Hibiscus plants are a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. These plants are some of the most common plants found in the world. Growing Hibiscus indoors allows you to show off these bright, tropical flowers in a home from spring to fall. This evergreen Hibiscus shrub has upright branches densely covered with glossy, dark-green ovate plant leaves. Hibiscus is a plant that requires a lot of suns. You want to plant your Hibiscus in an area that receives most of the sunlight regardless of whether you plant Hibiscus inside or outside. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Growing Hibiscus plants from cuttings
  • Hibiscus plant growing conditions
  • Reasons for Hibiscus leaves turning yellow
  • Hibiscus plant care
  • Growing Hibiscus plants from seed
  • Hibiscus plants growing tips

A step by step guide to growing Hibiscus plants in pots

Rich and well-drained soil for growing Hibiscus plants

Container-grown Hibiscus plants are often grown in a soilless potting medium to prevent compaction. Soil keep moist but don’t let it stand in water. Hibiscus grows best in slightly acidic soil that has a pH level between 6.5 and 6.8. For container-grown Hibiscus, use potting soil that drains well and designed for acidic plants. Make sure the container drains well. Loamy soil provides good drainage, but it’s also important to grow Hibiscuses in containers that have plenty of drainage holes.

Place the Hibiscus where there’s plenty of sunlight

Hibiscus will grow well with no direct sunlight, but they won’t bloom. They will have glossy dark green plant leaves, produce beautiful foliage, and stay strong and healthy if they are clear across the room from a sunny window. A good nutrition program minimizes the amount of sun they will need to bloom, so even just an hour or two of the sun will work just fine if you use our suggested nutrition program. If you have a very sunny window with several hours of daily sun, then you’ll get even more blooms. No amount of sun is too much, but in a sunny window try to give the plant an inch or so of space between its leaves and the window because the heat that builds up right next to the glass can be hard on the leaves that touch the glass.

Choose the ideal planting location for Hibiscus plants

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Choose the best location.
Choose the best location.

Select a site in full sun and Hibiscus requires 6 to 8 hours of direct sun daily in order to thrive. If you live in an area prone to windy conditions, place Hibiscus plants in protected locations, as flowers are delicate and tear easily.

Hibiscus does very well in containers and a good solution when you wish to enjoy the plants in areas where ground planting isn’t possible, such as around swimming pools and on decks. Tropical Hibiscus requires temperatures above 7°C. Therefore, container growing indoors in the winter is also an option.

Pot size for growing Hibiscus plants in pots/containers

Although the size of the best pot depends to some degree on the size of the plant, the Hibiscus tends to produce a wide root ball rather than a deep one. For this reason, use a pot that’s at least about 10 inches wide for a young, nursery-grown specimen. If your plant is already large and you want to repot it from a nursery pot into a decorative container, one that’s at least a few inches larger in diameter than the choose a current pot to allow for new growth. Always make sure that the growing Hibiscus plant has excellent drainage.

Temperatures for growing Hibiscus plants in pots

When you care for a Hibiscus plant, you should remember that Hibiscus flower best in temperatures between 16-32 °C and cannot tolerate temps below 0°C. In the summer, your Hibiscus plant can go outside, but once the weather starts to get near freezing, it’s time for you to bring Hibiscus indoors.

Sowing Hibiscus seed indoors

  • Sow Hibiscus seeds indoors 10 to 14 weeks before last spring frost date using a seed starting kit. Soak seeds in room temperature water for about 8 hours to Hibiscus speed germination.
  • Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula and keep the soil moist at 21-23°C
  • Seedlings emerge in 14 to 21 days. As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings about 3 to 4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the Hibiscus plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this procedure because they will get too hot. Most Hibiscus plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 to 4-inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants require to be “hardened off”. Young Hibiscus plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect plants from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or brings containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning time. This hardening off process toughens the Hibiscus plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Growing Hibiscus plants in pots from seeds  

  • To grow Hibiscus from seeds, start by nicking or sanding the seeds. Nick the hard seed coat at the wider, rounded end of the seed with a clean knife.
  • Soak the Hibiscus seeds in a small bowl of hot water for up to 24 hours. Begin the sowing procedure 12 weeks before your last expected spring frost.
  • Fill a planting tray with moist seed-starting mix, generally a soil-less product that combines perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss.
  • Sow the Hibiscus seeds 1/4 inch deep, firming the moist seed-starting mix over the seed. Place one seed per plug if seed tray has inserts that hold the mix in separate 1- to 2-inch compartments. Otherwise, sow seeds a few inches apart so Hibiscus seedlings will be easy to remove later.
  • Set the tray on a waterproof greenhouse heat mat set to 20 to 22°C or in a room with the same temperature range. Then, cover the tray with its included clear plastic dome or with plastic wrap to keep moisture in.
  • Check the seed tray regularly over the 1 to 3 weeks it takes the seeds to germinate. Ensure the soil is moist but not soggy and too-wet soil can cause the seeds to rot before they germinate.
  • Remove the plastic when Hibiscus plants emerge and move the tray to a site where it receives bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer mixed to half its recommended strength with every other watering after the seedlings produce their first true leaves and the first pair of leaves after the initial seed leaves that emerge at germination. Water enough to maintain the potting soil evenly moist, never letting it dry out or become waterlogged.
  • Transplant the seedlings to separate about 1-gallon containers filled with standard potting soil when they have at least three sets of leaves. Allow them to grow in a sheltered area for several weeks before transitioning them to their permanent location when all danger of frost has passed.

Grow Hibiscus plants from a Cutting

  • Locate a stem about as thick as a pencil in the new growth of an established Hibiscus plant. Cut about 5- to 6-inch length of the stem about a quarter-inch below a node with at least one other node on the stem.
  • Fill a container with 3 parts sand and 1 part peat to within an inch of the lip of the container. Then, tap the container on a solid surface to settle the medium. Strip the leaves from the bottom portion of the cutting, leaving 3 to 4 leaves near the top.
  • Water the growing medium until it is moist and put the container in an area where it receives plenty of diffused sunlight. Keep the growing medium moist, and the Hibiscus roots should form in 4 to 5 weeks.
  • Transplant the newly established Hibiscus into a larger container or permanent place in the garden after the roots have established and you notice new growth.

Water regularly to your Hibiscus plants

Keep the soil surrounding the Hibiscus plant moist but not soggy. Indoor Hibiscus, like an outdoor Hibiscus plant, will need a lot of water in hot weather and much less water in cold weather. When you water your Hibiscus plant, water until you see water come out the bottom of the pot into the plant tray, but after 12 hours the water in the plant tray should be gone. If there is still water standing in the tray, and pour it away. Hibiscus can drown in standing water and their roots need air, and water prevents them from getting any air. Fungal root diseases thrive in soggy soil, and standing water definitely makes the soil soggy if it stays too long.

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Fertilize your Hibiscus plants

Fertilize your Hibiscus plants every 2 weeks during the blooming period. Use a water-soluble or liquid fertilizer for best results and a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer will work just fine. Select an organic variety that contains trace elements like potassium, iron, and magnesium. Apply the fertilizer at the base of each Hibiscus plant every 2 weeks. Don’t use chemical fertilizers on plants. Avoid over-fertilizing since too much phosphorus can kill the Hibiscus plants.

Hibiscus plant protection

Hibiscus plants attract Aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and spider mites. Spray frequently with a mild solution of warm soapy water to prevent insects and some disease problems. Leaf Spot and several other types of fungi could cause brown or black circular or irregularly shaped spots on the leaves of Hibiscus plants.

Pinch and prune of Hibiscus plants

Pruning will keep your Hibiscus plants looking healthy and stimulate blooms. Hibiscus plants grown in a container requires pruning to keep it to the right size and shape. Pruning, though, carries with it inherent dangers. Incorrectly pruning the plant could mean the removal of buds. The best method to encourage new blooms is to allow new stems to grow to 2 inches in length and then pinch the tips off of them. This mainly causes new stems to grow underneath the pinched stem. Pinch the tips of these when they grow to 2 inches in length and if you repeat the process throughout the growing season you’ll have flowers all year long. When shaping the Hibiscus plant, use sharp pruning shears and make all cuts just above a node. New growth from these cuts should bloom within 3 months of pruning.

Causes for Hibiscus leaves turning yellow

The Hibiscus leaf turns yellow as a way of signaling a specific need. There are many factors contribute to Hibiscus leaf yellowing.

Nutrient deficiency causing Hibiscus yellow leaves – If your Hibiscus is suffering from a nutrient deficiency, the leaves will turn partially yellow but remain on the Hibiscus plant. This problem can be easily corrected by adding fertilizer or amending the soil.

Temperature causing Hibiscus yellow leaves – When temperatures are extremely hot, particularly in summer, the Hibiscus requires additional watering. Otherwise, the Hibiscus plant will dry up quickly and succumb to heat stress. This can affect the Hibiscus leaf turning yellow and eventually dropping off. Likewise, when temperatures get too cold, the Hibiscus will respond with yellowing of its leaves. Ensure that the Hibiscus plant is kept away from drafty locations and excessive wind. And, be sure to bring the plant indoors when outside temperatures reach freezing.

Light causing Hibiscus yellow leaves – Too much sunlight can result in Hibiscus leaves turning yellow as well as the development of white spots, which signal plant burn. Remove the damaged plant leaves and change the location of the plant. If the Hibiscus plant is not getting enough light, the plant may also react with yellow leaves, which will begin dropping in order to make up for the lack of light. This can be easily remedied by moving the Hibiscus plant to an area receiving more sunlight.

Too much water or not enough can result in Hibiscus leaves turning yellow – Failing to give Hibiscus plants enough water can cause the Hibiscus leaf to yellow. Check the soil with a finger to ensure the plant is getting enough water. Self-watering pots are also a good method to alleviate these problems.

Commonly asked questions about growing Hibiscus plants in pots

Some questions about Hibiscus plant.
Some questions about the Hibiscus plant.
How much water does a potted Hibiscus need?

Depending on heat, wind, and humidity, your Hibiscus plant may need to be watered daily, or even twice a day in extremely dry conditions. It may need 1 to 2 inches of water per week.

What is the best potting soil for Hibiscus?

If you select to grow Hibiscus in containers rather than directly in the ground, a number of potting mixes will yield better results than pure garden soil. A mixture of two parts potting soil, two parts peat moss and one part vermiculite or perlite is good for Hibiscus plants.

Will Hibiscus leaves grow back?

Hibiscus plants will resprout in the springtime when the temperatures get warmer. Look for new growth on the Hibiscus plant, both branches, and leaves. If the entire plant seems brown and does not start to regrow at the same time other Hibiscus plants you have in your yard do, it is likely that the plant is dead.

How can I make my Hibiscus grow faster?

For optimal growth, the Hibiscus plant requires rich soil. Enrich the soil prior to planting by amending with homemade or bagged compost and earthworm castings. Also, Hibiscus grown with worm compost grew bigger and had better blooms.

Why is my Hibiscus turning brown?

Hibiscus is susceptible to a wide range of pests and diseases. A Hibiscus with black spots or brown spots on the undersides of leaves is suffering from an infestation of black scale insects or a leaf spot disease.

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