Hibiscus care: expert tips for watering, pruning & more


I studied agricultural sciences with full conviction - an obvious choice for me, as I grew up on my parents’ farm and learned early on to find joy in taking care of plants and animals.

Favourite fruit: grapes, mangos and bananas.
Favourite vegetables: brussels sprouts, spinach and potatoes

Hibiscus should look impressive in your own garden with its wonderful flowers. To ensure success, attention should be paid to proper hibiscus care.

Several white and pink hibiscus flowers
With just a little tender loving care, your hibiscus plants will be flowering beautifully in no time

The hibiscus (Hibiscus) has no special requirements for its care. However, to ensure optimal growth development and flowering, you should pay attention to a few things. Find our best tips on hibiscus care.

Hibiscus care: watering and fertilising

The hibiscus needs sufficient water, especially in the growth stage, so it can grow well. Therefore, water it regularly, so that the soil is always kept moist. However, be careful to avoid waterlogging – your hibiscus does not like it one bit! By avoiding waterlogging, you also take preventive action against rotting of the main shoot and roots. In the spring, hibiscus can be supplied regularly with plant-based fertiliser such as our Plantura Flower Food. This promotes soil life, provides long–term nutrients and is also environmentally friendly. Regular fertilisation will pay off in lush blooms.

Flower Food, 1.5kg
Flower Food, 1.5kg
  • Perfect for flowering plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • For healthier plants with beautiful & long-lasting blossoms
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

The most important thing about the correct care of hibiscus in a nutshell:

  • Water generously (but avoid waterlogging!)
  • Keep soil moist
  • Regular fertilisation before flowering

Pruning hibiscus

There are several ways to prune hibiscus. A distinction is made between maintenance, rejuvenation and care pruning. Between the beginning and middle of February, i.e. before the actual growth phase begins, is the best time to prune the hibiscus. This involves cutting off primarily the lower shoot tips in order to obtain a denser growth pattern in the crown. The upper shoots are also shortened by a few centimetres for better branching. For more detailed tips and tricks on hibiscus pruning, see our special article on the subject here.

hibiscus with many pink flowers
Selectively prune to encourage more branches, which can result in a stronger bloom [Photo: Jaume RoselloC/ Shutterstock.com]

Overwintering hibiscus

Common hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) is quite hardy and under certain conditions manages to overwinter outdoors. This makes it the only species capable of doing so in our latitudes. If you have planted your common hibiscus in a container, then you can take the precaution of placing it in a warm place when extremely cold conditions are expected. If your common hibiscus is planted in a bed, you can protect it from excessive ground frost by placing a generous layer of bark mulch around the main shoot.

Tip: Only replant your common hibiscus from the container into the bed after one year. The adaptation phase allows the hibiscus to become robust and increases the chance that it will survive cold winters. Rose hibiscus, on the other hand, can be planted only in a container, as it can not withstand temperatures below 10 °C for a long time.

The most important thing about wintering hibiscus in a nutshell:

  • The common hibiscus can overwinter outdoors
  • Support it with a thick layer of bark mulch at the bottom
  • A one–year period of acclimatisation in the pot can be useful

Learn more about overwintering hibiscus in this article.

Protecting hibiscus from pests and diseases

The hibiscus, especially as a houseplant, is frequently attacked by aphids. These infest the leaves and suck the phloem (plant sap) there. From their abdominal glands they secrete a sugary secretion that makes the entire leaf surface sticky. In the event of heavy infestation, the leaves turn yellow and die. Regular rinsing or treatment with organic pesticides helps against aphids.

The spider mite is another common pest that leaves small webs on the underside of leaves. The pattern of damage is similar to that of aphids. The spider mites can be well controlled with organic pesticides.

aphid infested hibiscus flower bud
Pests often target the base of flowers or shoots because the cell tissue is still soft [Photo: Goodly Pixels/ Shutterstock.com]

Non–animal pathogens, such as the leaf spot fungus, can also affect hibiscus. You can recognise the infested areas by the brownish discolouration. Remove infested leaves, further treatment is not necessary.

The most important points about pests and diseases of hibiscus in brief:

  • Aphids and spider mites are common pests
  • Control by rinsing off
  • Regularly remove infested and dead plant parts