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Bold & Beautiful Tropical Hibiscus

May 9, 2024
Written by The Eising Team

Tropical Hibiscus evokes all of the best descriptions imaginable when you see one. Showy, stunning, exotic, vibrant, impressive, large, lush, colourful and flamboyant flowers grace branches of dark, glossy, green leaves. It just seems unreal! This plant conjures up images of the tropics, but it will grow in a pot on your sunny patio or inside your home!

Tropical Paradise

If you’re looking to create your own tropical paradise, this surprisingly low-maintenance plant is a great addition. Its showy trumpet-shaped blooms make it a great focal plant and the wide variety of shapes and colours available is astounding!

Tropical Hibiscus flowers are rich in nectar, attracting hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Planting tropical Hibiscus in a pot makes it easier to move the plant to a sunny, warm location, which provides the conditions for it to thrive. Be sure to ease your plant outside by hardening it off though. If it’s been indoors or in a greenhouse, give it time to acclimate, or it will become scorched or worse, die. Hardening off is a simple process of slowly easing your plants into life outdoors.

Blooming Good

Tropical Hibiscus will bloom all summer long here in southern Ontario when provided with sun, warmth, ample water and nutrients. During the growing season, water the soil regularly to keep it evenly moist. While it loves full sun, the sun’s rays can be dehydrating. Hibiscus is a thirsty plant when it’s in bloom so don’t let the soil completely dry out. Of course, there’s a limit to how much water you use. Too much water will cause the roots to rot. The key word is “moist”  - not monsoon wet! Using mulch will help to retain moisture in the pot.

To provide your plant with proper nutrition, use a time-release fertilizer in May or a balanced, diluted water-soluble fertilizer like fish emulsion about once a week over the summer months.

Each blossom lasts one day. They are short-lived, but don’t worry - Tropical Hibiscus will produce a succession of flowers during the growing season with ample light, water, and fertilizer. Once a faded bloom wilts, remove it from the plant to make way for the next one.

Looking Ahead

If you’re planning to keep your Hibiscus over the winter, here are a few tips to help.

Before the first frost, inspect the plant thoroughly for any bug hitchhikers or pests like aphids or spider mites. Give the entire plant a thorough shower and then bring it indoors. If you’ve found that your plant needs constant watering and has outgrown its pot, this is a great time for repotting before it comes indoors. Find a pot that is only 1-2” bigger than the pot it’s currently in and transplant it with some fresh, tropical potting mix.

This is another big transition for your plant, and you may find it loses some leaves unless you slowly migrate it from outdoor to indoor conditions. Place your Tropical Hibiscus in a warm, sunny window. Don’t move it to a cold basement right away, even if that will ultimately be its winter home. Just as you hardened it off in the Spring, slowly move it to a cooler location for winter storage if you don’t have a sunny, warm location. Be sure though that it ends up in an area where it’s getting at least 3 hours of direct sun each day.

At this point, stop fertilizing your tropical Hibiscus and reduce the amount of water used. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings while the plant is dormant and not blooming is okay.

Enough talk of winter! While the weather is warm, pop an umbrella into a fruity summer drink and enjoy your beautiful tropical Hibiscus oasis!

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