Guest Column

Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Hibiscus


The vivid colors of hibiscus blooms add a tropical feel to any landscape! These fast-growing plants are available as shrubs or small trees and produce flowers that range from 2 to 12 inches in diameter. Their trumpet-shaped blooms feature colors of red, pink, orange, yellow, peach and white. Although blooms may only last one to three days, hibiscus plants can flower prolifically throughout a long, spring through fall, growing season.

When considering hibiscus plants for your landscape, look for areas of full sun. These plants can tolerate partial shade as long as they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight. If your hibiscus is not producing many flowers, try relocating it into a sunnier area to encourage blooming. Although hibiscus plants prefer well-drained soil that partially dries out between waterings, be sure to water regularly to help the plant produce as many flowers as possible. It may even be necessary to water a hibiscus daily — or twice a day! — during the hottest summer temperatures.

Hibiscus plants are considered either hardy or tropical. Hardy hibiscus plants can survive in cooler climates where winter temperatures drop below zero. In these areas, the shrub will die back during the cold months but then reappear with warmer spring temperatures. Tropical hibiscus plants prefer climates here in North Florida’s planting zone 9 and areas further south. These heat-loving plants thrive in locations with average temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The hibiscus flower is a symbol of beauty, grace, and happiness. The extract made from these blooms is known for therapeutic uses, including reducing blood pressure, detoxifying the body and strengthening healing skin. Tea made from hibiscus flowers can ease a sore throat or cough. Extracts from hibiscus blooms can also increase metabolism and are, therefore, sometimes used to aid weight loss. Finally, hibiscus is found as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioners due to chemicals in the blossoms that support healthy, shiny hair.

The bold colors of hibiscus flowers add interest to any area of a landscape. These plants are useful as a focal point, as background plants or as an informal hedge. They are successful in both garden beds and containers. Add hibiscus plants to your outdoor living area to display an abundance of brightly colored blooms that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds!

Happy planting!

Flower of the Week: Hibiscus

Please email Kathy at for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information & ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.