A staple of Space Coast landscapes, hibiscus can add a kaleidoscope of color to anyone’s garden.

Optimum climate

According to the University of Florida Extension Service, Tropical Hibiscus flowers best in temperatures between 60 and 90 degrees.  Plants in the ground may be killed by temperatures below 30 degrees, but established plants may come out in the spring and produce new growth by the summer. Hardy Hibiscus, a close relative of the tropical variety, is large flowered, fast growing (up to 15 feet tall and four to eight feet wide) and is more cold tolerant.

-Protect the plants from cold northern winds with fencing, buildings, screens or trees.  -not particularly tolerant of salt spray or saline irrigation water.

-a half a day of direct sunlight is generally the minimum required for optimum growth

Planting

-Well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5 is preferred

-Container-grown hibiscus should be transplanted in the yard during the cooler         months

-For a hedge, plant hibiscus three and a half to four feet apart, otherwise space plants four and a half to five feet apart

Watering

-Hibiscus do not tolerate saturated soils or “wet feet”

-Water daily in warmer weather, especially in periods of drought. In the winter, water only when the soil is dry to the touch

-Organic mulch can conserve water, reduce weeds and control pests

Fertilizing

-Fertilize frequently but lightly (three to four applications a year).

-Early spring

-After the first growth flush

-Midsummer

-Early winter

-Use high potassium fertilizer in the summer for optimum blooming