Ultimate Guide to Growing Hibiscus in Pots

Image represents Hibiscus plant growing in pots
Growing Hibiscus in pots requires thorough understanding of the pot type.

Have you propagated the Hibiscus plant and lacked the space in the garden to grow it?

Do not wail. You can still plant it in the container or pot, which can be more manageable!

To grow Hibiscus in pots, prepare a ceramic, plastic, or clay pot 10 inches wide and use a two-inch wider container every time you repot. Also, prepare potting mix having 6.5 – 6.8 pH, maintain 50% humidity, 18°C temperature, and offer 8 hours of light to grow Hibiscus. 

Image represents Hibiscus growing in pot
Right container choice encourages Hibiscus to produce brilliant blooms.

My first experience of growing Hibiscus in pots was when I propagated it using stem cuttings. I was losing all my patience, thinking this was a waste of the plant and my time.

However, the plant slowly sprouted new leaves within a month or two and was ready to flower. It was a happy time for me, so let me share my experience through this!

Does Hibiscus Grow Well in the Pots?

Hibiscus prefers slight cozy conditions around their roots for optimum growth.

Generally, Hibiscus needs no special requirement about pots as it can grow in ceramic, clay, or plastic pots with wide base and drainage holes.

Image represents Hibiscus growing in pot
Hibiscus can grow well in pots with drainage holes.

Moreover, lighter plastic pots are great for moving the plant from one place to another, while ceramic or clay pots provide additional drainage.

Lighter pots are preferable if you live in zones other than 9 to 12, as you can easily move the plants indoors when there is extreme cold outside.

Hibiscus, being a tropical plant, hates getting “cold feet” and rather prefers full sun. So bring the plants inside as soon as the temperature drops below 4°C.

Besides, there are other advantages that you can leverage by growing Hibiscus in pots.

  • Hibiscus that grows in pots blooms better due to the slight root-bound conditions.
  • Potted Hibiscus produces blooms earlier than garden-grown ones.
  • It’s always easy to keep a check on watering and drainage conditions for potted Hibiscus.
  • Pot with drainage holes shall make the plant less susceptible to root rot.
  • There is less effort while pruning the potted Hibiscus due to leggy growth.

What are the Best Hibiscus Varieties for Pots?

If you wish to own a potted flowering plant, there is no better option than Hibiscus. These plants produce elegant and colorful flowers ranging from red, yellow, white, pink, orange, and lavender.

The most contrasting feature is their trumpet-shaped flowers with broad petals and a long stamen sticking out from the center.

Image represents Hibiscus flower showcasing pink petals and long stamen
Long stamen and colorful petals are the distinguishing features of the Hibiscus flower.

Rose Mallow produces the biggest flowers among the hardy Hibiscus varieties.

If you want to grow these Hibiscus varieties yourself, take help from the table below, as I have given details on a few of them with their characters.

Hibiscus VarietiesFeaturesRequirements
Berry AwesomeBlooms pink with crimson in the center flower in 8 to 7 inches from early summer to fall

Possesses dark green leaves and grows in 4 to 5 feet height and spread
- Prefers full sun and medium to wet soil
- Tolerates light shade conditions
- Likes organic soil to grow
- Shield from strong winds
Cranberry CrushBlooms bight red flower in 7 to 8 inches from early summer to fall

Possesses bright green leaves and grows in 4 feet height with 4 to 5 feet spread
- Prefers full sun and and average, medium to wet soil
- Tolerates some light shade
- Likes moist and organic soil
- Dislikes the wind
- Protect from wind burn
Luna Pink SwirlBlooms pink and creamy white with red center flower in 6 to 8 inches from midsummer to fall

Possesses dark green leaves and grows in 2 to 3 feet height with 2 feet spread
- Likes full sun and average, medium to wet soil
- Shade, heat and humidity tolerant
- Keep the soil consistently moist and organically rich
- Protect from strong winds
Mars MadnessBlooms blood red with dark red center flower in 7 to 8 inches from mid to late summer

Possesses dark, olive-green leaves and grows in 4 to 5 feet in height with 5 to 6 feet of spread
- Likes full sun and average, medium to wet soil
- Tolerates light shade
- Best flower production and disease resistance occurs in full sun
- Prefers organically rich and moist soil to keep it blooming
- Protect from strong winds to prevent wind burn
Starry Starry NightBlooms pale with bright red center flower in 8 inches from midsummer to early fall

Possesses purple to black leaves and grows in 4 feet height with similar spread
- Prefers full sun and average, medium to moist soil
- Tolerates light shade
- Disease resistance and blooming occurs in full sun
- Requires moist and organically rich soil
- Prolonged blooming if kept watered
- Protect from strong winds

And the easiest Hibiscus variety to grow is the Tropical Hibiscus which makes excellent container plants during the summer.

How to Plant Hibiscus in Pots?

Although Hibiscus grows more efficiently in pots than in garden soil, first decide when you should plant them.

Spring is the precise time for planting Hibiscus when the weather is warm.

Image represents Hibiscus growing in pots
Growing Hibiscus in pots requires warm weather.

And you can plant both the hardy and tropical Hibiscus during this period.

Generally, Hibiscus can be kept in pots forever once planted in spring, but not all types prefer the outdoor air.

Grow Hibiscus outdoors in pots safe from winds, with well-draining soil and use loamy, peat-free compost. Keep it in a warm spot that recieves plenty of sunlight.

Tropical Hibiscus needs to be kept inside during the winter as they hate cold, while Hardy Hibiscus can be kept outside all year round.

To grow these plants successfully, keep your eyes open to basic care requirements.

In fact, pot is the most important as it is the deciding factor, and you have to choose the right one to make things going on thoroughly.

Best Pots for Hibiscus

I have listed a few helpful pots along with their specifications that you can use for planting Hibiscus in the table below.

Pot TypePot DimensionSpecifications
SONGMICS Ceramic Plant PotDiameter - 10 inches
Height - 10 inches
1. Shape - Round and Cylindrical
2. Material - Ceramic
3. Drainage Hole - Present with removal plug
Large Outdoor Tall PlanterDiameter - 13.3 inches
Height - 20 inches
1. Shape - Cylindrical and narrow at the bottom
2. Material - Recycled plastic
3. Drainage Hole - Present with built-in tray for preventing root rot conditions
Bloem SP1400 Saturn PlanterDiameter - 14.5 inches
Height - 12.75 inches
1. Shape - Rectangular and narrow at the bottom
2. Material - Plastic (durable, U.V, and rust resistant)
3. Drainage Hole - Present with plastic tray at the bottom
Suncast Willow Decorative Wicker PatioDiameter - 18 inches
Height - 18 inches
1. Shape - Round and slightly narrow at the bottom
2. Material - Plastic
3. Drainage Hole - Absent but retains water for long period of time during summer and is light weight for easy handling
Rolled Rim Garden PotDiameter - 24.5 inches
Height - 19 inches
1. Shape - Round but narrow at the bottom
2. Material - Earthenware Plastic
3. Drainage Hole - Present with easy to access rock fill line at the bottom

Tips for Preparing Pots for Planting

Once you have grabbed the right pot, you need to prepare it so that the plant can feel comfortable and experience less shock.

Besides, if you bring a new Hibiscus plant home, you need to move it into a new pot, either ceramic, plastic, or clay, immediately.

To begin, take a pot at least 10 inches in diameter and depth.

Now, you can modify the pot so that it’s easy to transplant your Hibiscus later.

1. Choose a Location

Before you add any potting mix, select a location that receives plenty of sunlight.

Hibiscus grows well in full sun, so based on that, identify a location on your balcony or indoors that receives sunlight all day.

2. Check for Drainage Holes

This is very important because Hibiscus have delicate roots that don’t like soggy conditions.

If the pots don’t have drainage holes, drill 3-4 at the side of the pot’s base or at the bottom.

Alternatively, you can also place a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot. Ensure that it is at least an inch thick.

Following this, place coffee filters on the inner side of the pots covering the drainage holes, and place a tray at the bottom of the pot.

Image represents the use of coffee filters for to prevent soil leakage
Placing coffee filters over draining holes prevents the leakage of soil.

This helps prevent soil and fertilizer from washing off during watering sessions.

Use old newspapers or fabric and place them at the bottom of the pot to avoid the seepage of soil and nutrients.

3. Fill with Potting Mix

Instead of filling the pots with garden soil that has a high risk of weed and pest growth later, you can prepare your own potting mix.

You can also use all-purpose potting mix and add extra vermiculite or pumice to increase drainage.

A good mix is an equal ratio of coco coir or composted bark and with added worm casting that contains beneficial microbial life.

Image represents use of coffee filters for filling the pots
Place the potting mix above the coffee filters to prevent seepage of soil during watering.

You can also use composted organic materials that can slightly increase the acidity.

Remember, Hibiscus thrives well in pH between 6.5 and 6.8, so use a soil pH meter to determine this.

After this, place two inches thick layer of soil at the bottom of the pot.

Now, you are ready to transplant your Hibiscus.

Uprooting and Transplanting in the New Pot

  • Remove the plant using a trowel by loosening the soil along the container’s brim.
  • Once the soil is loose enough, gently twist the plant by grabbing it from the base of the stem and pull it out.
  • Untangle and free the roots from the attached soil by breaking the soil up.
  • Place the Hibiscus in a new container and add the prepared potting mix.
  • Cover the roots and work your way up to the base of the plant’s stem.
  • Generally, this needs to be about two-thirds of the height of the pot.

If you decide to take cuttings and transplant, feel free to use newly sprouted growth or the soft wood that is green in color.

  • Make a 45° cut using sterilized pruners on the green part of the stem and take a 4 to 6 inches long cutting.
  • Remove all but 2 to 3 leaves at the top of the cutting to reduce the growth pressure. 
  • Alternatively, you can try dipping the cut end in rooting hormone powder and place it in the above-mentioned potting mix about 2-3 inches deep.
  • New roots shall emerge after four weeks. Check this by giving the cutting a gentle tug.
  • If it’s firm and stays in place, sigh in relax!

You can watch this video to learn more about transplanting Hibiscus into a new pot.

How Do You Take Care of Potted Hibiscus Plants?

Your job is still overdue even if you have successfully completed planting Hibiscus.

Though growing Hibiscus in pots is handy, make sure to give your newly planted Hibiscus all the primary care!

If you do not have any idea, make a checklist considering the following tops. 

  • Provide at least 8 hours of direct daily sunlight to ensure vigorous blooms later by placing it in a sunny spot.
  • Water thoroughly using distilled or rainwater after planting and continue watering once a week during this time of active growth.
  • During heat waves, water twice a week when the top 2 inches of soil is dry to touch.
  • You can also use slow-releasing fertilizer once in early spring, midsummer, and early winter when the annual cycle after the first planting completes.
  • Use water-soluble fertilizer every other week that is high in nitrogen and potassium for container-grown Hibiscus.
  • Aim for a temperature between 18°C and 23°C for blooming. A temperature lower than 10°C is fatal for Hibiscus.
  • Sustain a humidity level between 50% and 70%, and mist the plant during heat waves.

If you own cats, do not miss learning the toxicity of Hibiscus.

  • Use well-draining soil with organic contents and maintain an acidic pH by adding or decreasing organic compost levels.
  • Prune the plant once in spring by cutting the dead or weak branches and diseased leaves. Avoid pruning more than one-third of the plant’s foliage at once. But pruning is not necessary for hardy Hibiscus varieties.
  • Repot when the roots protrude from the drainage holes. Use 2 inches wider container whenever you repot again, once every 2 to 3 years.
Image represents pest infestation in Hibiscus
Newly planted Hibiscus are susceptible to frequent pest attacks.
  • Use insecticidal soaps to remove aphids, mites, and whiteflies in case of evident infestation, and apply fungicides after the watering sessions.

Ensure to keep tropical Hibiscus under grow lights for 12 hours in winter. Additionally, you can also use frost blankets to cover the outdoor Hibiscus to shield from strong winds.

Conclusion

Growing Hibiscus in pots can be a labor of love if you put a heart to it.

However, the labor becomes worthless if your plant refuses to bloom, isn’t it?

So, be mindful while choosing the right pot, and ensure to maintain all the necessary care requirements once you plant it.

With all the care, you can have one heck of a story like mine to tell about growing Hibiscus once it blooms.

Want to know more about plants that can grow spaciously? Check out about wonderful propagating methods of Apple and Honeydew Seeds!

Happy Gardening!

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