Hibiscus Container Care: Growing Tropical Hibiscus In Containers

Image by Bsheridan1959

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Also known as Chinese hibiscus, tropical hibiscus is a flowering shrub that displays big, showy blooms from spring through autumn. Growing tropical hibiscus in containers on a patio or deck is a good option; hibiscus performs best when its roots are slightly crowded. Read on to learn more about tropical hibiscus container gardening.

Container Culture for Chinese Hibiscus

Tropical hibiscus thrives in warm, humid climates. The plant performs best when it receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day; however, afternoon shade is beneficial in hot climates.


Move tropical hibiscus to a sheltered location or bring it indoors during the winter if you live in a climate with chilly winters. The shrub doesn’t tolerate temperatures below 45 F. (7 C.).

Place the plant in a shady location for two weeks before you move it indoors so it can acclimate to its new environment. Move the container outdoors gradually in the spring when the temperature reaches 45 to 50 F. (7-10 C.).

Planting Hibiscus in Pots

Plant hibiscus in a pot filled with a lightweight, well-drained potting mix, such as a product that contains compost and perlite or vermiculite.

Although tropical hibiscus loves sunlight, it helps to place a newly-planted hibiscus in the shade for about two weeks so the plant has time to adjust, then move it into bright sunlight.

Be sure the pot has a drainage hole in the bottom to prevent root rot and other diseases causes by poorly drained soil and excess moisture.

Hibiscus Container Care

Growing tropical hibiscus in containers can be tricky. The plant requires consistent watering because potting mixture dries quickly and tropical hibiscus tends to turn yellow and drop flower buds without adequate water. Check the plant often because it may require watering twice daily during hot, sunny weather.

Tropical hibiscus requires nitrogen and high levels of potassium. Feed the plant lightly but regularly, using a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for hibiscus. You can also use a slow-release fertilizer, which lasts for up to six weeks.

Watch for pests such as:

Most pests are easily controlled with insecticidal soap spray. Apply the spray when the sun isn’t directly on the foliage, as the spray may burn the plants. Never spray when temperatures are above 90 F. (32 C.). A cool morning or evening is best.

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