Tropical Hibiscus Can Make a Beautiful Flowering Houseplant

tropical hibiscus flowerVirtues: We love tropical hibiscus for its large, enticingly vibrant flowers that bloom in a variety of reds, pinks, oranges and yellows. Glossy, rich green foliage offers a spectacular backdrop to the exotic blooms.

Common name: Tropical hibiscus; Hawaiian hibiscus; Chinese hibiscus

Botanical name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Flowers: Varieties of tropical hibiscus can bloom from late spring through fall, with large single or double flowers in radiant shades of reds, yellows, pinks and oranges.

Foliage: Shiny, oftenovate deep green leaves create a striking display of opulent color behind the brilliant blooms.

Habit: Size and density will vary depending on selection; however, these tropical plants typically grow 4 to 10 feet in height with a 5 to 8 foot spread. Extensive pruning can help achieve desired form.

Season: The striking blooms of these colorful beauties offer heaps of late spring to summer interest. The rich, evergreen foliage will fill your homes and gardens with year-round charm.

Origin: Exact origin is unknown, however it is commonly believed that tropical hibiscus is originally native to tropical regions of Asia.

How to grow tropical hibiscus as a houseplant: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis needs fertile soil with very good drainage. Many gardeners suggest using a potting mix specifically for tropical plants and/or hibiscus. They thrive in sunny locations, so placing pots in south- or west-facing windows is ideal. You can also add fluorescent lights to help meet lighting needs. They do not tolerate temperatures below 50˚F. Keep them in a location with a constant temperature between 55 and 70˚F. Water sparingly during winter months—or when the top half-inch of soil feels dry. Make sure to discard any excess water that may have collected in the saucer. Feeding with a slow-release fertilizer may benefit the health of your plants. Pinch the growing tips in late winter and/or early spring to encourage more vigorous growth as well as spur more buds to appear and bloom.

Image: Pere Igor
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