Are Hibiscus Perennials? (+ Growth Tips & Care)

The hibiscus is a plant from the mallow family (Malvaceae) and is popular with us both as a houseplant and in the garden.

The hibiscus originally comes from China. All species and varieties that are still known and common today also come to us from the Middle Kingdom and its neighboring countries.

The hibiscus is now known and very popular all over the world. 

Depending on the species, the hibiscus can grow as an annual or perennial, herbaceous plant, subshrub, or shrub. The variety of the plant ranges from 20 centimeter large potted plants to two meter high bushes in the garden. 

The flowers of the hibiscus are also varied:

They can have a wide variety of shapes and colors and definitely bring color and a touch of exoticism to your garden or room.

In this article, we would be discussing how to grow, and care for the hibiscus.

Location and soil

The shrub marshmallow would like a fully sunny, sheltered place, for example near the terrace or in inner courtyards.

Whether in the garden, in the bucket on the terrace or in pure indoor culture, hibiscus needs well-drained, fresh to moderately dry soil with a high nutrient content. If the soil does not contain enough nutrients, flower formation suffers.

 It thrives best in sandy-loam substrate that is slightly acidic to alkaline. If the drought persists, buds can be shed.

However, the garden hibiscus is rather afraid of water. Although it loves sufficiently moist soil in summer, it does not tolerate waterlogging.


The bloom also suffers from continuous rain, especially in the case of double varieties.

The rose hawk, on the other hand, needs watering almost every day, especially during its flowering. If you keep your hibiscus in the room and in the pot, it also needs a very bright place here all year round.

 A sunny window sill is well suited, only in midsummer you should make sure that the plant is not exposed to the blazing midday sun. Normal room temperature is perfect, in winter it should be a few degrees less.

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It is best to collect the excavated soil in a wheelbarrow when planting. So you can mix it with compost before filling

If possible, hibiscus should only be planted in the garden in spring so that it is well rooted by the first winter.

This also applies if you want to transplant your hibiscus . The planting hole can be twice as large as the root ball. Before refilling, mix the excavated soil with some nourishing compost .

 Be careful when trampling the soil so as not to damage the roots. A layer of mulch in the root area is advisable.

Water the hibiscus well and also make sure to water the young plants in good time if the drought persists, otherwise buds that have already set can fall off.

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How to Care for Hibiscus

The Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), also Rosen Eibisch called, is one of the most popular room and potted plants,

With its colorful splendor and elegant growth, the rose hawk transforms every terrace into an exotic flower oasis.

 Its large funnel-shaped flowers are available in white, yellow, orange, pink and red with a wide variety of color gradients.

The double varieties are particularly fascinating, but they are somewhat more sensitive than the simple varieties. Here you will find the most important tips for hibiscus care at a glance.

The rose hawk needs some liquid fertilizer once a week during its growth phase. You can use conventional flower fertilizer for this. In winter, one application of fertilizer every two to three weeks is sufficient.

 If the pot is too small for your hibiscus, it is best to transplant it in spring or summer. In the case of older, larger specimens, it is often sufficient to just change the substrate. In the case of the garden hibiscus, fertilizing is completely stopped in winter.

For healthy growth and abundant flowering, the hibiscus needs the right care at the right time. If problems arise, it could be due to these errors.

Whether inside or outside: With their magnificent flowers, the representatives of the hibiscus genus exude an exotic flair. The hardy garden hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) is an option for the garden . 

Standing on the balcony and terrace in the summer of frost-sensitive hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), as well as pure houseplant he is often cultivated.

So that the Asian beauties feel completely at ease, you should avoid the following mistakes when caring for and choosing a location.

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Wrong location

If the bloom is sparse, it may also be in the wrong location. If a hibiscus is too shady, it will not develop its bloom optimally.

Whether in the garden, on the terrace or in the room: the hibiscus – including the perennial hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) – needs a place in the sun.

 The rougher the climate, the more important it is to have a warm, wind and rain-protected location outdoors.

The potted plants in the house also need sufficient light and warmth.

You can place the rose hawk close to a sunny south-facing window, it only needs to be protected from the intense midday sun in midsummer.

 The wintering of the hibiscus also takes place as brightly as possible at around 15 degrees Celsius so that it does not shed too many leaves. Dark stairwells or basements are not recommended as winter quarters.

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No pruning 

The following applies to both the garden hibiscus and the rose hibiscus: If you neglect cutting, the bushes will age over time and only a few flowers will develop. Since the summer bloomers carry their flowers on the new wood, you can shorten the shoots of the previous year in the spring. 

Dense crowns are thinned out. In order to preserve the natural crown shape, cut the shoots back a little more at the edge than in the center. A good time to use the scissors is in February. 

Wait before cutting the hibiscus not too long, otherwise the plants will flower late. If a hibiscus is already too old and rotten to flower, a stronger rejuvenation cut will help. 

All the branches are shortened to around 30 to 50 centimeters and the plants are thinned out as a whole. After such a radical pruning, the next flowering fails for the time being – but the flowering bushes thrive all the more beautifully in the following year.

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To cut

The hibiscus should be cut occasionally . In the case of the garden hibiscus, all of the previous year’s shoots can be shortened to around five leaf nodes in spring to get the plant into shape. Dead shoots frozen to death after buds are thinned out.

 The shrub can also tolerate radical rejuvenation pruning into the old wood in late spring, if necessary. However, it takes a while for the slow-growing wood to grow back into a stately shrub. The rose hawk is thinned out at the same time and the shoots shortened a little.

Hibiscus can also be grown as a high stem . However, it takes several years until this growth form is fully developed. All lateral branches are removed every spring and only the strongest main shoot is left. 

Once it has reached the correct height, the tip is cut off to encourage the budding process. The top of the new side branches is now drawn as a trunk extension. To do this, tie it to a rod to guide it straight up. The remaining three to four branches gradually form the crown. Regularly shorten them by about half so that they branch nicely and densely.

With a little effort and patience, hibiscus can also be raised as a high trunk

Overwintering or winter protection

Most hibiscus species are not hardy and have to move to their winter quarters very early in autumn to ensure that they can be safely hibernated.

This also includes the rose marshmallow. If he is outside with his pot, temperatures of twelve degrees Celsius or more will get too cold for him. 

Check your plant for pest infestation before putting it away and remove any dead or wilted parts of the plant.

A bright location is also essential in winter, otherwise the hibiscus will lose its leaves. Slight leaf fall is normal.

Moderately heated rooms (16 to 18 degrees Celsius) or a place in the cool winter garden are now ideal – this also applies to plants that are kept in indoor culture all year round. 

In an environment that is too dry or warm, the risk of infestation increases Spider mites . It is only poured moderately, it is enough if the root ball does not dry out completely. There is no fertilization at all during the winter rest.

From spring you can slowly increase the watering again and add liquid fertilizer every two weeks. From May the hibiscus can go outside again.

Many species of the garden marshmallow, on the other hand, are hardy and can be planted in the garden.

Young hibiscus plants in particular should be protected with winter protection such as a thick layer of mulch made of leaves and brushwood in the root area. 

Alternatively, well-grown ground cover also keeps the heat in the soil. If one of these hardy specimens is kept in a pot, bring the planter close to a protected house wall in autumn and place it on an insulating surface made of wood or styrofoam.

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Uses of Hibiscus

Hibiscus exudes a tropical flair and creates a holiday mood – inside and outside. A particularly beautiful sight results from planting different types of hibiscus together.

Suitable companions in the garden are bed roses , lavender (Lavandula), hollyhock and bush flower (Lavatera). 

Hibiscus is also a bee pasture and attracts numerous bumblebees and bees as well as useful insects.

If you plant the marshmallow under evergreen ground cover, these protect the soil from drying out in summer and from frost in winter.

You can make a soothing hibiscus tea from the dried flowers of Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Important species and varieties

The ‘Blue Bird’ variety has proven to be a particularly hardy garden hibiscus

Among the various hibiscus varieties, those with simple flowers have proven to be more floriferous and resilient than those with semi-double or double.

The garden marshmallow Hibiscus syriacus ‘Helena’, for example, has particularly beautiful, simple white flowers with a red point in the middle that tapers off in a star shape.

 Depending on how much space you have available, we recommend vigorous garden marshmallow varieties such as ‘ Lady Stanley ‘or weakly growing varieties like ‘Red Heart’.

The blue flowering marshmallow variety ‘Blue Bird’ (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Blue Bird’) has proven to be very hardy and is therefore also suitable for colder regions.

A rarity among the rose marshmallows is the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Cooperi’.

Its red flowers are relatively small, but their idiosyncratic white-green leaves make the hibiscus a very special eye-catcher on the windowsill. But be careful: ‘Cooperi’ needs a relatively high level of humidity.

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The varieties of the garden marshmallow are usually propagated through grafting. Sometimes, however, hibiscus plants itself in the garden, whereby the flower color and shape of the seedlings can later deviate from the mother plant. 

Propagation by cuttings from woody annual shoots in autumn is also possible, but the failure rates are high: As a rule, only one out of ten cuttings grows. A shady, evenly moist propagation bed with very humus-rich, slightly loamy soil is important. It should be covered with fleece until winter sets in.

Hibiscus seedlings are placed in planters with potting soil

In the case of rose hawks, propagation succeeds with non-woody head cuttings . These root at a soil temperature of at least 22 degrees Celsius, better more, in commercially available potting soil.

Diseases and pests

Unfortunately, all hibiscus species and varieties are often plagued by aphids , which suckle on the young shoots and flower buds.

Spider mites are often a nuisance, especially in indoor culture, but also in winter quarters. Pay attention to cool temperatures and not too dry air.

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Discover the perennial allure of hibiscus plants in our comprehensive guide. Unravel the mystery surrounding hibiscus as perennials and delve into the factors influencing their longevity in your garden. From care tips to ideal growing conditions, unlock the secrets to enjoying vibrant blooms year after year. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this article provides valuable insights into incorporating hibiscus into your landscape for enduring beauty.


Hibiscus can grow as an annual ,or perennial, herbaceous plant, subshrub ,or shrub. In this article, we have discussed how to grow ,and care for hardy hibiscus.


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