Hibiscus, the state flower of Hawaii, is a gorgeous and lustrous flower that emanates the lush rainforests of the islands. Learn how to grow hibiscus flowers and bring some aloha to your garden!
Hardy Hibiscus Varieties
Hibiscus are separated into two categories – hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus will grow in most of the United States, with the following varieties being our favorites:
Also known as Hibiscus mutabilis, rose mallow is considered a shrub that can grow up to 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide with 4-6 inch, pink or white blossoms. Rose mallow is amazing for attracting hummingbirds in the summertime.
Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus in its late name, Rose of Sharon is also called Althea and could almost be considered a tree. It grows up to 10 feet tall and displays 4-inch pick or white blossoms that attract butterflies.
This showy hibiscus plant is a shrub that grows up to 4 feet tall and shows off its 12 inch wide pink and white blossoms from summer to early fall. There are several cultivars of this plant, with different colored blossoms.
Texas Star Hibiscus
The Hibiscus coccineus has 6 inch wide, bright red blossoms with five petals, creating the appearance of a star. Woody and upright, this bush attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and is also known as scarlet rose mallow or wild red mallow.
Location & Soil
Hardy hibiscus do well in moist soil, meaning that you’ll need to choose a spot that has good drainage and can be easily mulched. They also prefer full sun and like to treated with plenty of fertilizer and compost for nutrition.
Pruning & Care
Although hibiscus are considered a shrub, they can grow to the size of a small tree if left untouched. It’s important to prune your hibiscus plants every year in order to maintain the health and longevity of the plant. Cut them back after a first frost in the fall, and deadhead any perished stalks throughout the growing season. The harder you prune the hibiscus, the more side shoots it will produce, providing more blossoms in the summertime on the cut branches.
Companion Planting & Landscaping
Hardy hibiscus flowers makes for a great border, especially when combined with other deciduous flowering plants like iris, coneflowers and peonies. They like moist soil, so make sure to plant them among other plants that do as well. You can also train the hibiscus shrub to grow into a certain shape; select the main growth and tie it to a cane, pruning the side shoots. After a few season, the main growth will become the trunk that will hold the plant and its side shoots up on its own.