How To Grow Hibiscus in Florida

Does Hibiscus grow well in Florida?

There are over 200 different beautiful flowering species of hibiscus. The ideal time to grow hibiscus in Florida is early spring, Although, those in South Florida can almost plant year-round. Plant in a spot with full sun to part shade. Water and fertilize regularly to promote a healthy plant.

hibiscus plants range from tiny shrubs to large hedges to small trees. To simplify it hibiscus can be broken down into two categories: hardy and tropical. Read on to find out the difference and learn about a few cool types of hibiscus.

Best Varieties of Hibiscus to Grow in Florida

There are so many varieties of hibiscus I won’t be able to list them all here so instead, I will just list the most popular ones I have seen at local nurseries and such.

We can easily split hibiscus into two different categories; hardy and tropical. The common types of hibiscus that you see at home depot and Lowes is most likely tropical Hibiscus.

Hardy hibiscus plants will live through cooler months that north Florida has. Also, there are native hibiscus varieties that I’m going to clump into this hardy category for simplicity’s sake.

Florida native hibiscus plants are often called rosemallows. and there are 35 native species here.

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy hibiscus can live through the north Florida winters making these plants a true perennial. Hardy hibiscus flowers are a bit more timid when you compare them to the tropical kind. That’s not to say that these flowers are dull or boring.

These plants will still bloom beautiful shades of white, pink and red.

Lord Baltimore is a popular variety of hardy hibiscus. It sports large red flowers and deep green, slender leaves.

Robert Fleming hibiscus is another popular hardy hibiscus plant to grow in Florida. It also sports large red flowers and deep green foliage.

The Kooper king hibiscus has beautiful multi-color flowers. The center is a deep and vibrant red that bleeds out from the center into white pedals.

NameFlowerGrowth Habit
Blue River IIWhiteMounding
Chablis WhiteCompact
Cherry BrandyRedCompact
Disco Belle RedRedUpright
Fantasia Red Center, Light pink Leaves Mounding
Kopper King Red Center, Light pink Leaves Upright
Super RoseRedMounding
Swamp Rosemallow Red Center, Light pink Leaves Upright
Scarlet Rosemallow Red Upright
Turn of the CenturyLooks like a pinwheel of pink and redUpright

Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus plants can not stand a bit of cold weather. Plants will die back in the winter if grown in north Florida and northern parts of central Florida.

The flowers on tropical hibiscus are usually very vibrant with multiple colors that are eye-catching and somewhat mesmerizing.

NameFlowerGrowth Habit
Amber SuzannePink with Yellow and White edgesUpright
Black BeautyDeep, Royal purple flowersUpright
Burnished GoldRedish center that fade to yellowMounding
CandySoft pink with white edgesCompact
Charles Schmidt Pink with yellow ruffled edgesCompact
Creole LadyLavendar center with peach ruffled edgesUpright
Red HotVerigated foliage with vibrant red flowersUpright
Sun ShowerVibrant red with yellow streaksUpright
TylenePale lavender edges blue pedals and a vibrant red centerupright

There are a number of other really eye catching kinds of tropical hibiscus available. I strolled across fancy hibiscus who only sells tropical hibiscus varieties. The site is a bit dated but they have some really awesome looking hibiscus plants.

When To Plant Hibiscus In Florida

The best time to plant and grow hibiscus in Florida is during the spring. For north and central Florida this would be around March, as soon as the last but of cold weather has rolled through. Those in South Florida can pretty much plant year-round.

I would still try to avoid planting right when cool weather will roll through. I would also try to avoid planting in the intense summer months.

How Do You Take Care Of Hibiscus In Florida

Hibiscus plants enjoy organic-rich soil that is well-draining but also has a decent amount of water retention. They like to be well watered but they don’t want their roots to be waterlogged.

Whenever planting I always recommend adding a mix of compost and peat moss at the very least. This will add a good amount of organic material and nutrients to your Florida sand.

Don’t forget to add a nice thick layer of mulch as well.

Look out for pests such as aphids and mealybugs on your hibiscus plant. These are easily handled by insecticidal sprays such as neem oil.

How Much Sun Does A Hibiscus Plant Need?

Hibiscus plants can take full Florida sun as long as they are well watered. 6 hours of sun seems to be the sweet spot. If you allow your plant to get at least that amount you should see plenty of blooms.

You can still grow a hibiscus plant in part shade but you will not see it’s full potential. The plant may be a little lanky and not as full, and you won’t be enjoying as many flowers as you could be.

How To Keep My Hibiscus Blooming

A blooming hibiscus is a happy hibiscus. The ebst way to ensure you have lots of blooms is to:

  • Pick the right spot
  • Water regularly
  • Fertilize
  • Prune
  • Watch for bugs

I want to quickly touch on the best fertilizer for your hibiscus. You want a fertilizer with a larger amount of phosphorous. That is the middle number of the three that are normally on fertilizer packages.

Phosphorous helps the plant produce more flowers and a healthy root system. Something like this Southern Ag 12-48-8 would be perfect.

When Should A Hibiscus Plant Be Pruned In Florida?

The best time to plant a hibiscus plant is in early spring right before new growth begins to start. The worst time to prune is in late fall.

If your plant has gotten a little out of control and you want to do some major pruning It’s a good idea to stagger your cuts a few weeks apart. This will keep the flowering cycle, giving you the most consistent blooms.

When pruning, cut back your branches to 1/4 inch above your selected node. Cut at a 45-degree angle. This allows water to flow off the cut to promote good health.

Grow Hibiscus In Florida

Hibiscus is a great plant to grow in Florida. There is an endless number of choices with dazzling flowers that will draw attention to any garden.

If you live in north Florida ( and some parts of central Florida) you can only grow tropical hibiscus an annuals. If you want a perennial hibiscus but still get a little bit of cold weather you will have to plant a hardy type hibiscus.

The best time to plant hibiscus in Florida is early spring. February to March depending on what part of the state you live in. You want to plant once fear of all cold weather is gone.

Make sure your plant gets at least 6 hours of sun and stays well watered. Fertilize with something that is Phosphorous focused.

Prune your plant in the early spring to promote healthy new growth and flowering.

You Might Also Like:


I've been gardening in Florida since 2014. I'm an FNGLA certified horticulturist and a Permaculture design apprentice. I just want to share my love and passion of growing plants with other in the state of Florida to help them grow beautiful gardens.

Recent Posts