Hibiscus care

Question: care of the hibiscus

I have a hibiscus in a pot that in summer goes beautifully with beautiful yellow flowers.
In winter I keep it indoors, at a temperature of about 18-19 °. This is his second winter in my house, and I notice that his leaves are dull green, almost yellowish. I would like to do two things before the next flowering: repot it, to give it a bigger pot, and I think it's also worth pruning it. But I don't know if I can do the two things at the same time and at what moment, before April, when I can take him back to the terrace again.
Thanks for the advice, greetings

Answer: care of the hibiscus

Dear Elena,
the pruning of the hibiscus is carried out at the end of winter, so you can already repot the plant in March and prune it, so as to favor the development of a beautiful compact shrub. The yellowing of the foliage may be due to lack of light or fertilizer, or to the dry climate present in the house; so your plant should improve quickly once it is moved outdoors in April.

Pruning of the hibiscus

To invigorate the plant of hibiscus these two interventions are therefore necessary: ​​pruning and repotting. As far as pruning is concerned, this is an intervention aimed at both reinvigorating the plant and removing the portions of dead and dead branches. So let's equip ourselves with a sharp pruning shear with a disinfected blade and then start pruning.
First we eliminate all the dry branches and the portions of badly conceived, crooked and badly made branches. Without this we must try to give a shape to the plant and therefore we will have to rebalance the length of the branches by shortening the branches too long and eliminating those that clash with the overall view of the plant.
Once this is done, the pruning is finished and all we have to do is proceed with the repotting. If the pruning is done with criteria, the results are noticeable since the following spring.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is one of the most appreciated garden and pot plants. Its flowers are indeed very large, abundant and very colorful. Crop and propagation are simpler. Everyone likes to own one of these bushes because from the middle of spring to the first cold weather they bring a breath of liveliness and exoticism.

China's hibiscus cultivation

This shrub prefers a well-dissolved, medium-rich soil with a slightly acid pH. We evaluate well the soil of our garden: if it is too clay-like we can work it by incorporating a special product for acidophilic (30 to 50%) and a little coarse river sand. Some handful of well-seasoned manure is always welcome.


In general, the best exposure is full sun, especially during spring and autumn. A very intense heat (above all with low atmospheric humidity) can however induce the hibiscus (especially if in a vase) to enter in vegetative rest, stopping to produce buds. For this reason, a little in the whole of Italy, but especially on the coasts and in the southern regions, we recommend, in July and August, a more sheltered position. The ideal is that the plant is reached by the sun only during the morning hours and maybe in the evening. This will also help us prevent red spider mites.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is not completely rustic. Generally it can withstand temperatures up to 3 ° C, but it would be better to withdraw it when the minimum reaches 8 ° C.
This means that in the entire Center-North of the peninsula it is inadvisable to place hibiscus in the ground permanently. We can grow them quietly in pots, sheltering them in winter. If we want to put them in the garden we will then be obliged to extract them and bring them inside.
There are, however, many areas where it is possible to attempt permanent cultivation in the open ground, thus succeeding in obtaining shrubs of considerable size, even exceeding 2 meters in height. The whole of the South, especially the coastal areas, has a favorable climate, in particular Sicily, the Countryside, Puglia and Sardinia.

Irrigation and environmental humidity

This shrub does not need frequent watering, except in periods of great heat. In general, in spring and autumn we proceed when the soil is dry. In the warmer months we carefully monitor the plant and distribute water as soon as the leaves appear a little loose: the administrations can also be daily (and you can use saucers, but only in this period!).
In winter (if we keep the plant at rest in unheated environments) it will irrigate very occasionally, only to prevent the earthen bread from becoming too dry and compact.
If possible we prefer rainwater or demineralised water to prevent the large quantity of salts from raising the pH of the substrate.
Environmental humidity
The Rose of China comes from tropical and subtropical habitats, characterized by strong environmental humidity. If we want to have luxuriant and extremely flowering shrubs it is good to vaporize the leaves often with distilled water, to wet the floor often in their vicinity or to place around them some saucers full of water and expanded clay.


To obtain abundant blooms during the whole vegetative period (from April to the end of September) it is important to provide nutrients regularly. We start with a bottom fertilizer using a slow release granular product for flowering plants. To this must be added a liquid fertilizer with a high content of potassium, to be administered every fifteen days. The latter, if desired, can also be considerably diluted and added to the water of all irrigations.
These plants also benefit greatly from foliar fertilization, to be carried out simultaneously with vaporisations.


Hibiscus pruning is carried out at the end of winter, in order to stimulate vegetative growth and renewal from the specimen.
Branches a of about 1/3 or Ѕ of their length can be cut. We also eliminate those that appear too old or damaged by cold or parasites.


The easiest method to get new seedlings is certainly the cutting.
It can be done at the end of winter by using the parts deriving from pruning or, in mid-spring, by taking apical segments that are still completely herbaceous.
They also do well at the end of summer, making use of semi-woody sections.
In any case, they should be stored in a mixture of peat and perlite (or sand), sprayed often and kept in a warm and bright area, but not in full sun.

Pests and diseases

They are resistant shrubs, but they are attacked with some frequency by various parasites, even if rarely in a serious way. The most common are aphids, scale insects and red spider mites. For the first two it is good to resort to specific insecticides, for the last one it is instead good to opt for an active acaricide on all stages of development (in addition to increasing the environmental humidity)
It may happen that the leaves turn yellow and the buds fall before opening. The causes can be multiple: too frequent irrigation, excessive exposure to sun and heat or an environment that is too dry (especially if grown in an apartment).
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Family and gender
Height From 40 cm to more than 2 m
Ground Loose, well drained, slightly acid pH
Exposure Sun-shade
Water needs Medium (high in summer)
Environmental humidity Medium-high
fertilizing Every 15 days, from April to September
Minimum temperature 5 ° C
Propagation Herbaceous, semi-woody and woody cutting
Flowering From April to early November