Planting hibiscus: expert tips for location & propagation

Lukas
Lukas
Lukas
Lukas

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

In order to plant hibiscus and enjoy the hibiscus flower, specialist knowledge of the ornamental shrub is required. We have helpful tips ready for you.

Red hibiscus flower
Outdoor cultivation is possible with hardy hibiscus varieties

It is a real eye–catcher in any garden, but can also sparkle in the house. Hibiscus (Hibiscus), native to Asia, belongs to the mallow family (Malvaceae) and decorates the windowsills and flower beds of many amateur gardeners with its colourful and expansive flowers. The often bicoloured blossoms shine in the richest colours – from delicate white to strong purple. There are many different types of hibiscus, all of which have different requirements for cultivation and care. We tell you what to look for when growing hibiscus.

Hibiscus makes high demands on its location. This involves both the quality of the substrate and the amount of sunlight. We explain step by step what conditions the hibiscus likes best.

Planting hibiscus: location

A nutrient-rich soil with a balanced sand/loam ratio is ideal for planting hibiscus. Enriching the topsoil with compost is advisable, as this will promote flowering in summer. The pH value should be in the neutral to very slightly acidic range. It is important, especially for outdoor common hibiscus, for it to be positioned in a full sun location. Rose hibiscus, or rose marshmallow (Hibiscus rosa–sinensis), is kept here mainly as a houseplant. This genus of hibiscus also likes full sun. For winter dormancy, however, you should place it in somewhat more shade.

Hibiscus plant
Hibiscus feels particularly at home in sunny locations

When to plant hibiscus

As soon as you can expect warmer temperatures in the spring, the hibiscus should be planted out. In fact, in the first year or two, it is not yet particularly hardy, so the longest possible establishment period until winter will be an advantage.

How to grow hibiscus

If you want to plant a common hibiscus, you will need to have had a good breakfast. The planting hole for the hibiscus, which can grow up to three metres high, should be at least twice as large as the root ball. In addition, it is advisable if the excavated soil is well loosened and enriched with a little compost. If you prefer to grow the smaller variety, rose hibiscus, in a pot as a houseplant, you do not need to put in as much effort and can simply choose a pot that is large enough.

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Propagating hibiscus: from seed or through cuttings?

There are several ways to propagate your own hibiscus. Whether you should opt for seeds or cuttings depends on your experience and above all on your patience. Below are some helpful tips on how to propagate hibiscus.

Sowing hibiscus seeds

At the end of summer, the seeds of the hibiscus are ripe and fall out. If you want to sow your own hibiscus seeds next year, simply collect the small, bristly seeds. You should lightly score the seeds before sowing and then lightly cover them with compost for growing in a pot. To prevent the light seeds from floating away when watering, you can also moisten the planting soil with a spray bottle. You should start sowing early in the year, so that the plants develop sufficiently. Be sure to place the hibiscus in a warm, sunny place during the germination phase. Of course, you can also buy hibiscus seeds.

Brown hibiscus seed pod
At the end of summer, the seeds are ripe [Photo: LesiChkalll27/ Shutterstock.com]

Propagating hibiscus through cuttings

Another way to propagate your beloved hibiscus is through cuttings. For propagation by cuttings, cut approximately 15 cm long shoots with at least three buds from the desired plant. These must then be wetted with rooting powder and placed in small pots with special growing soil. It is important to keep the soil and especially the air moist until the first strong roots are formed. Ideally suited is a special growing soil such as our peat-free Plantura Organic Herb & Seeding Compost.

Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost
Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost

Peat-free & environmentally-friendly: for aromatic herbs, as well as sowing seeds, planting cuttings & transplanting seedlings

Caution: If the humidity is too low, transpiration can because drying out! After a few weeks in a warm and sunny place, the cuttings are ready for planting.

Another option is propagation via offshoots. Here, individual shoots are bent towards the ground and brought into contact with the soil at one point (tip layering) or completely sunk into the soil with the shoot tip. Where the shoot touches the earth, roots are formed. Both simple and compound layering create independent plants, which, in turn, you can place where they will look the best.

If you are interested in the proper hibiscus care, you can read more in our special article here.

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