Tropical Hibiscus

Evoking island paradises, the flowers of these big plants come in a range of bright colors.

Colorful Combinations

With so many colors to choose from, you are bound to find a tropical hibiscus that will work with your garden palette. The only color you won't see is true blue. The large flowers typically last for just one day. Luckily, these distinctive-looking plants can put on blooms almost the whole season, as long as they have plenty of sunshine. Many types even have bi-color blooms or other special features like frilly petals.

Hibiscus Care Must-Knows

Hibiscus are easy-to-grow plants that require very little maintenance, and they like well-drained soils. During hot summers, be sure to water hibiscus daily to prevent them from dropping any flower buds due to heat stress. Full sun exposure will ensure they develop the most amount of flowers possible as well as stronger branches. The branches may need some supplemental pruning to help shape the plants and prevent them from being too sparse. Do this in the spring, right before the heat of the summer encourages a new flush of growth.

Tropical types of hibiscus make wonderful container plants. Make sure to plant them in a general-purpose potting mix and to use a slow-release fertilizer (they are heavy feeders). You can also water the plants with a general-purpose fertilizer every other week, or even just once a month, to help promote blooms.

If you have these tropical plants in a container outside for the season and plan to bring them back inside for the winter, make sure to give them as much sun as you can. Cooler temperatures and lower light inside slow these plants down, so don't plan on blooms during the winter. If they do try to bloom, you may find it beneficial to pinch the buds off so that the plants focus their energy on surviving and not blooming.

New Innovations

Lately, there has been a fair amount of research going on in the world of tropical hibiscus. Whether in the novelty domain, where people are breeding specifically for interesting colors and patterns, or in the wholesale plant trade to make overall improvements, there have been many developments. A new series called the Hollywood Series features great new color options on dwarf plants perfect for containers. These varieties also feature blooms that stay open for several days longer than original hibiscus breeds.

More Varieties of Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus Overview

Description Grown for their large and showy blooms, tropical hibiscus plants add some serious flower power to any garden. Though they aren't hardy where it freezes, these plants will produce plenty of blooms throughout the season and can be overwintered indoors. There are dozens of colors to choose from, plus single and double flowered varieties to choose from.  
Genus Name Hibiscus
Common Name Tropical Hibiscus
Plant Type Shrub
Light Sun
Height 3 to 8 feet
Width null to 3 feet
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

'Amazon Queen' hibiscus

Amazon Queen hibiscus
Marty Baldwin

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Amazon Queen' shows off extra-large beige flowers with ruffled edges. It can grow 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 10-11

'Bonnie B' hibiscus

Bonnie B hibiscus
Kathryn Russell

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Bonnie B' offers large red and lavender blooms that fade to orange and yellow at the edges. It can reach 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 10-11

'Gator Pride' hibiscus

Gator Pride hibiscus
Marty Baldwin

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Gator Pride' is a stunning selection with 6-inch-wide, lavender-blue flowers that blend to apricot-pink at the edges. It grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 10-11

'Goin Steady' hibiscus

Goin Steady hibiscus
Marty Baldwin

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Goin Steady' offers huge white semidouble flowers with bright pink centers. It can grow 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 10-11

'White Wings' hibiscus

White Wings hibiscus
Marty Baldwin

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings' is an old but classic variety with white flowers that have bold red centers. It grows 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 10-11

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