Can I grow the large-flowered tropical hibiscus in the North?
With some TLC, tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) will reward you with blowsy red, pink, orange, or yellow flowers throughout the growing season. Hardy in Zones 9-11, this shrub blooms for months. It must live indoors during cool weather in most of the United States. Here's how to keep it healthy. Soil. Grow tropical hibiscus in a large pot with light, high-quality potting soil. Site. Set the pot in a sunny location. Tropical hibiscus needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Temperature. Tropical hibiscus prefers temperatures between 60 and 90?F. Bring your plant in-doors when nighttime temperatures drop to the range of 50-55?F. Exposure to temperatures of 30?F and below can kill plants outright; temperatures higher than 90?F can cause bud drop.
Water. Water potted hibiscus as necessary during the growing season. The soil should be moist but not wet. Too much or too little water can kill the plant. Fertilizer. Feed your tropical hibiscus regularly. For potted plants, that means weekly feedings with a diluted liquid fertilizer or monthly feedings with a timed-release granular product. Unlike many flowering plants that require high-phosphorus fertilizers, hibiscus needs a fertilizer high in potas-sium during its period of bloom. Some gardeners prefer a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20. Pest control. Use only pesticides labeled for hibiscus, because some chemicals can damage the plant. A few hours before applying the pesticide, water the plant to ensure that it is not moisture-stressed when the spray is applied.
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