Hibiscus care — tips for houseplants

Hibiscus are known as colorful houseplants or perennial garden plants. Both species fascinate with their strikingly large flowers and awaken holiday feelings. However, there are significant differences between the two species that should be taken into account when caring for them. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis species is known as indoor hibiscus and can be kept outdoors from mid-May until the first frost. However, this group is not frost hardy and should not be planted with Hibiscus syriacus, the garden hibiscus, to be confused. The latter can be planted in the ground and is conditionally hardy. As houseplants, you need to protect hibiscus over the winter. Hibiscus care is demanding, but doable. The Hibiscus has long been used in tropical areas as a medicinal plantknown and is used at traditional festivals as a colorful floral decoration. The mallow family (Malvaceae) are diverse in flower color and shape. At first the shoots are green, later harmoniously developed as woody branches, but they can be cut well to shape. Breeding has increased the number of varieties available on the market in recent years that have small flowers and therefore require less pruning. In this article you will learn everything about hibiscus care. Basically, the hibiscus location is warm and sunny.

Worth knowing Gießen location Fertilizing Care/pruning Overwintering In buckets Pests & diseases FAQ

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Interesting facts about hibiscus

Botanical name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Other names: rose mallow, Chinese rose, indoor hibiscus, hibiscus, Chinese rose mallow

flowering houseplant, table decoration.

In summer: garden and balcony plants, container plants

Origin: Southeast Asia, China, Polynesian islands
Flower colours: white, yellow, orange, red, pink and two-tone, single or double flowers
Flowering period: as a houseplant almost all year round
Special features: The hibiscus flowers are unique in color and shape. The individual flowers are spectacular and, in combination with the glossy foliage, a feast for the eyes. Available in a wide variety of growth forms (from mini to solitary plants). It is important that you overwinter Hibiscus rosa-siens frost-free. Watch out for aphid infestation when caring for the hibiscus.

What is the right hibiscus location in the house?

When it comes to hibiscus care, the right location is particularly important. A bright location in the house all year round is ideal, preferably with direct sunlight. From mid-May, the houseplant can be outdoors. Gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions is important. Ideally, place your flowering plant outside on an overcast day so the tropical plant can get used to the direct sun. It is important that the outdoor location is protected from the wind. In autumn you have to bring the exotic species into the house in good time for the winter, because temperatures below 10 °C are not good. Temperatures of 18 to 21 °C all year round and 12 to 15 °C in winter are ideal.
Our gardening tip: The shrub marshmallow is hardy, but as a young plant it always needs winter protection in the first few years and in climatically unfavorable regions. Important when caring for the hibiscus is the even water supply and sufficient fertilizer.

Watering hibiscus: How do I water my indoor hibiscus correctly?

Marshmallow needs a steady water supply. Watering every 1 to 2 days may be necessary depending on the size of the root ball, the room temperature and the amount of sunlight. You should pour off the excess irrigation water to avoid standing water. Water your hibiscus at longer intervals during the winter months because the need for water is lower.

Fertilizing hibiscus: How do I properly fertilize my hibiscus as a houseplant?

It is best to fertilize your hibiscus weekly from March to October with liquid flowering plant fertilizer. This ensures that the potted plant is optimally supplied with nutrients and the result is a rich abundance of flowers. In the winter months, fertilizing every 4 weeks is sufficient. The use of organic fertilizer is possible, but it must be taken into account that the rose mallow needs a high nutrient content for lush green foliage and rich flowers. Malnourished plants have light-colored leaves and are often more susceptible to pests.

What hibiscus care is necessary?

Caring for the hibiscus requires a bit of finesse, but the exotic species bloom in the house or garden without much effort. With even watering and regular fertilizing, new flowers will appear continuously.

Cutting hibiscus: How do I cut my room hibiscus correctly?

With good growth, the question arises when to cut hibiscus. An annual cut is helpful and beneficial to maintain the harmonious growth habit. New plants do not initially require pruning. Only cut the plant next year in early spring or after it has been outdoors in autumn when putting it away. Shorten long shoots and remove dry and sparse branches. Also cut off dead shoots. It is important that you do not cut your hibiscus in winter if possible, as new growth is sparse here. A few weeks after cutting, the plant will sprout againand delights with lush flowers on the new shoots. The blossoms that occur when cutting result in magical decorations.
Our gardening tip: cut back the shoots of the rose mallow by about a third when pruning. This gives you a bushy and compact growth.

How should hibiscus overwinter and is hibiscus hardy?

Wondering if hibiscus is hardy and how hibiscus should overwinter? The sun-loving plant should hibernate as brightly and warmly as possible. Hibiscus quickly sheds its leaves in the dark. When caring for them, make sure that Hibiscus needs less water when there is less light and heat. Houseplants grow less and are more susceptible to excess moisture. A cut should be avoided in the cold season. Prune at the end of summer or early spring if possible. A spot on the south side is ideal for the hibiscus to overwinter. Watch out for lice infestation when grooming.

Hibiscus as a container plant in the garden and on the balcony

Hibiscus do well in warm locations. These can also be outdoors in summer. You can enjoy Hibiscus rosa-sinensi as a container plant or plant in the ground. However, indoor hibiscus is not hardy, so it can be planted out, but from September the heat-loving plants have to be indoors to overwinter.

Marshmallow as a wood/garden marshmallow

Hibiscus syriacus is a perennial plant from the mallow family. Depending on the variety, the shrub can grow up to 2.5 meters high. You can cut the shrub marshmallow to the desired height without any problems. When cutting the hibiscus, it is important not to cut too deeply into the old wood and only cut back after winter. We also recommend spring and early summer for planting. In this way, the shrub can establish itself in the ground and grow well before the first winter. There is a wide variety of hibiscus varieties that differ in flower color and filling. In unfavorable locations, the hardy hibiscus always needs winter protectionrecommended.

What pests and diseases can the hibiscus get?

With the right site conditions, the mallow plants in the house and garden are insensitive to diseases and pests. Malnourished plants or a less than ideal location are usually to blame when problems arise. Here are some possible problems:


The leaves of the hibiscus are strikingly light yellow and dull. Possible causes can be lack of fertilizer, dark or cold location and waterlogging.

bud fall

A common cause of bud drop is a change in location. Once the plant has reestablished itself in the new place and is watered regularly, the hibiscus no longer sheds its buds. Drafts can also be the cause of the flower shedding.

spider mites

Especially plants with often dry root balls are attacked by spider mites. The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These bio-active agents contain natural plant extracts that revitalize the plant.


Fresh shoots and flower buds are often attacked by aphids. As soon as you have noticed the aphid infestation, it is advisable to shower the plants with a jet of water. Strengthen the plants with organic active agents and ensure optimal site conditions. These measures often help to prevent the aphids from spreading further.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about hibiscus

Why isn’t my hibiscus blooming?

The location of the hibiscus is largely responsible for the formation of flowers. If the plant is too dark, a lack of buds can be the result. Furthermore, when there is a lack of fertilizer, only sparse flowers are formed, because phosphorus is responsible for the formation of flowers. Pay attention to the best care and the right fertilizer.

Does the hibiscus hibernate?

Wondering if your hibiscus is hardy? A cool and bright hibiscus location with temperatures of 12 to 15 °C is ideal in winter. The hibernation causes the hibiscus to grow and bloom luxuriantly again. Water your hibiscus less during this time and you only need to fertilize your hibiscus every 6 to 8 weeks.

Why does the hibiscus shed its buds?

A bud drop is often the result of a change of location or standing water. The blazing midday sun or too little light can also cause stress and lead to bud drop. Pay attention to the optimal hibiscus location.

How can the hibiscus be propagated?

The most common method is to propagate the hibiscus from top cuttings. The herbaceous, not yet lignified head cuttings are cut off with sharp scissors. Propagation in late summer is ideal. The cuttings are placed in seed trays or in a seed set with a transparent cover. When propagating, only shoots that do not yet have flower buds are selected. After 4 to 6 weeks in a bright location, the first roots have formed and the young hibiscus can be repotted in larger pots with potting soil. When cutting backolder plants produce many cuttings. Another option is sowing. However, specimens propagated from seedlings flower later than those propagated from cuttings.

What is a perennial hibiscus?

This novelty has been the star of summer beds for a few years. In the right location, a stately perennial develops within a few months. There are huge flowers on the annual shoots. As with many perennials, there are no leaves or shoots in winter, the rootstock shoots out again with side branches from May. Pay attention to a sandy-loamy ratio, because waterlogging causes the roots to suffer in winter and sandy soil that is too light leads to a lack of moisture in summer.

Do hibiscus flowers last in the vase?

The flowers of the Hibiscus also last a few days in the vase as a cut flower. There are also magical decoration ideas with blossoms and floating candles in zinc tubs and similar vessels.

Can you make hibiscus tea yourself?

Basically, hibiscus tea is made from dried flowers. The petals are plucked as soon as the flowers fade. Only use flowers from plants that have been in your home for years to ensure that there are no harmful substances in the plant.