Alphabetical Plant Listing

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Tropical Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Chinese Hibiscus, China Rose, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Shoeblack Plant


One of the most flamboyant flowering shrubs, Tropical Hibiscus add color and excitement to landscapes, patios and decks. Cultivated for centuries, Tropical Hibiscus flourish in sub-tropical climates and adapt well to container-growing in cooler areas.

All you need to know about Tropical Hibiscus

  • Hibiscus is a member of the mallow family of flowering plants, Malvaceae. It includes several hundred species that are native to warm, temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.
     
  • There are 2 main types of commonly cultivated Hibiscus: Tropical Hibiscus and Hardy Hibiscus. Tropical Hibiscus are native to warm regions of Asia and the Pacific Islands and are hardy in Zones 10-12 where temperatures do not dip below 30°F or -1°C. Hardy Hibiscus, also called winter-hardy Hibiscus or perennial Hibiscus, can withstand cold winter temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C). In areas subjected to harsh winters and snow, they will die back to the ground in winter, coming back in the spring.
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus are descendants of the tropical species Hibiscus rosa-sinensis crossed with seven other species of tropical hibiscus. The resulting hybrids are so luscious in bloom, riveting in color and outstanding in range that they have eclipsed the species. Today, there are over 10,000 hybrids of Tropical Hibiscus in the world.
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus are bushy, evergreen shrubs or small trees with large, funnel-shaped, single or double flowers, 4-8 in. across (10-20 cm), adorned with prominent stamens. Flower colors range from white to pink to red, from salmon, peach, orange to yellow. Individual flowers last just one day, but so many buds form that the plant appears perpetually in flower.
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus have a long blooming season as they bloom from spring through late fall and into winter in locations without any frost.
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus can grow from under 2 ft. (60 cm) to 15-30 ft. tall (450-900 cm), depending on geographic area and cultivar. They are fast-growing shrubs and can add up to 24 in. per year (60 cm).
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus perform best in full sun to part shade in relatively moist soil that never completely dries out.
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus add an exotic touch to foundation plantings and shrub borders, and can also be used as flowering hedges. They make terrific accent or specimen plants and can be grown in containers, bringing color to patios and decks.
     
  • The large, bright, trumpet-shaped blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Hibiscus is not generally a plant that deer or other animals seek out to eat, but if other food sources are scarce, your Hibiscus may be turned to for dinner.
     
  • Tropical Hibiscus are susceptible to aphids, scale, mealybugs, thrips, mites, powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis.
     
  • The flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia.

Guide Information

Hardiness 10 - 12
Heat Zones 1 - 12
Climate Zones 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Hibiscus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Water Needs Average
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
Compare All Hibiscus Great Plant Combination Ideas with Hibiscus Guides with Hibiscus

Dinesh Valke, Flickr, Deenida, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 10 - 12
Heat Zones 1 - 12
Climate Zones 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Hibiscus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Water Needs Average
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
Compare All Hibiscus Great Plant Combination Ideas with Hibiscus Guides with Hibiscus

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