Many know hibiscus only as sprawling bushes and hedges. We present a few smaller varieties that are also great for planting in pots. Some people do not want to do without a Hibiscus in the apartment or on the balcony. They don’t have to, because hibiscus can also be planted in pots. Of course, there are a few differences from growing them outdoors. However, once you know these, there’s nothing standing in the way of growing hibiscus in pots. In our article, we tell you everything about suitable species and varieties, how to plant hibiscus in a pot and what to consider when caring for it.
Hibiscus Varieties For The Pots
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Hibiscus flower varieties for growing in pots should be, first of all, small. Frost resistance does not play a role here, because the plants spend the winter indoors. The most suitable for growing in pots is the Rose Hibiscus (Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis), also called Chinese hibiscus. This species of hibiscus also bears the name indoor hibiscus – so it is best suited to be grown as an indoor plant, on the terrace or balcony. The species of rose hibiscus includes an incredible number of varieties, some of which are rare. None of them is hardy. Some varieties that have proved particularly suitable for growing in pots, we now present.
- ‘Standing Ovation‘: This variety convinces with red-orange and yellow, very large flowers. The plant can grow up to 6″ high.
- ‘Tahitian Flaming Dragon‘: This variety blooms pinkish-red with white stripes. The plant can grow up to 11″ tall and blooms from April through November.
- ‘Dark Continent‘: With brown flowers on the outside and ruby red on the inside and a diameter of up to 7″, this variety is convincing. The plant itself can grow up to 11″ high and blooms from April to November.
- ‘Jolanda Gommer‘: the flowers of this variety are purple, red, and orange. The plant rarely grows very tall, a maximum of 11″.
- ‘Voodoo Magic‘: This hibiscus variety owes its name to its very special flowers. These are dark brown and have an orange eye in the center. Flowering time is from April to November.
You can find even more hibiscus varieties here in our special article.
Planting Hibiscus In A Pots
Before the hibiscus can be planted in a pot, it is important to find the right location for it. In summer, potted hibiscus can be placed indoors or outside on the balcony, terrace, or directly in the garden. The hibiscus likes it sunny and warm – both outdoors and indoors. In the room, therefore, it is best to place it on the windowsill. However, the hibiscus does not like the blazing midday sun, so at noon the curtain in front of the window should be drawn or a place outside it should be chosen. A place above the heater does not bother the hibiscus, as long as it is sufficiently supplied with water and humidity. That is why regular watering and humidification in the room is very important, more about this below.
Potted hibiscus feels most comfortable at temperatures between 64 and 82 °F indoors. If the temperatures outside are constantly above 58 °F, your indoor hibiscus can move outside in summer. Here it prefers a semi-shaded and sheltered location. Both indoors and outdoors, the hibiscus is extremely site-faithful. This means that once it starts to bloom, it should not be moved. A change of location means very great stress for the plant and can cause the flowers to drop off. If temperatures drop below 58 °F in the fall, the hibiscus must be moved to its winter quarters.
Summary Potted Hibiscus Location:
- Indoors: sunny, but no blazing midday sun.
- Optimal temperature range indoors between 64 and 76 °F
- Only put outdoors when the temperature is constantly above 64 °F.
- Outdoors: Partial shade and sheltered location
- Hollow out in the fall when temperatures drop below 64°F.
- Once flowers are set, do not change the location.
The Suitable Substrate
Your hibiscus in a pots will thrive best in soil that is rich in humus and nutrients. It is also important that this is very permeable and excess water can drain off well. If the substrate is very compact, it may therefore be useful to loosen it up with sand. In the pots, you should create drainage so that the water can drain away well. Otherwise, waterlogging can lead to root rot on the hibiscus. Therefore, also make sure that the pot has a drainage hole.
Summary Potted Hibiscus Substrate:
- Rich in humus
- With drainage
Below we have again summarized all the important points for planting hibiscus in pots:
- Select a sufficiently large pot
- Create a drainage layer
- Fill the pot to 1/3 with the substrate
- Place the hibiscus plant in it
- Fill the pot with substrate
- Water generously
For more tips on planting and propagating hibiscus, click here.
Caring For Hibiscus In Pots
Only an optimally cared for hibiscus will reward you with a lush bloom. We, therefore, tell you what is important when watering, fertilizing, pruning, and repotting hibiscus in pots.
Watering Hibiscus In Pots
The hibiscus is a thirsty indoor companion. The high water requirement, therefore, requires regular watering of the potted plant. The substrate should never dry out completely, so you will need to water more, especially in the summer. However, this requires a little tact. You can use the thumb test – simply press your thumb a few centimeters into the substrate – to determine the moisture content of the soil.
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If it feels dry, you need to water. Water should permeate the entire substrate. However, waterlogging should not occur either. If the hibiscus is in the room on the windowsill directly above the heater, it will also be pleased with regular spraying with water.
Summary Potted hibiscus watering:
- Water more in summer
- Water regularly and thoroughly
- No waterlogging
- No ball dryness
- Prune hibiscus in pots
To keep your potted hibiscus from growing too large and to keep it small and compact, you should prune it back annually. Since hibiscus forms its flowers on annual shoots, spring is the ideal time to prune. At that time, feel free to cut your hibiscus back by 5 inches. The more the hibiscus is cut back, the denser the plant will become. You can also remove all the withered shoots, leaves, and flowers.
Fertilize Hibiscus In Pots
To muster enough energy for the lush and large flowers, hibiscus needs adequate and regular fertilizer applications. In the pot, you should provide your plant with nutrients once a week during the growth phase from March to October.
Proper care of your hibiscus also includes regular repotting. In the third year after purchase, the hibiscus should be repotted – at the latest, however, as soon as the entire pot is permeated with the roots of the plant. After the first repotting, pot replacement is then done every two years. For the new pot, choose one that is only a few inches larger than the old one. The best time to repot is in the spring. To repot then proceed as follows:
- Carefully detach the hibiscus from the old pot.
- Loosen the root ball well
- Shorten long, protruding roots with scissors.
- Use new potting soil
Hibiscus Overwinter In Pots
The rose hibiscus is not hardy and therefore must spend the cold period indoors. During hibernation, the hibiscus should be placed in a cool, but always bright place. The optimal room temperature for hibernation is between 53 and 58 °F. Temperatures should never drop below 53 °F, otherwise, the hibiscus may shed its entire leaf covering. If your hibiscus loses a few leaves in winter, however, you don’t have to turn up the heat immediately.
A little leaf loss in winter is quite normal. Temperatures above 67 °F are more likely to harm your hibiscus now. Even in winter, however, the hibiscus must be watered regularly. The substrate should never dry out, but you will need to water much less in winter than in summer. Fertilizing is not necessary during the dormant period in winter.
The most important things about wintering hibiscus at a glance:
- Bright location
- Temperatures between 53 and 58 °F
- Water little but regularly
- Do not fertilize