Grow Hibiscus from Seed! Nothing is more gratifying than watching a plant you’ve grown from seed come into bloom!
In this post, we’ll show you how to grow hibiscus from seed so you can enjoy these gorgeous blooms for years to come. This is hardy or perennial hibiscus, not tropical hibiscus.
Often referred to as Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos is a tropical-looking shrub, with multiple stems emerging from a single crown.
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Why Grow Hibiscus from Seed?
Hardy hibiscus plants are readily available from nurseries and garden centers, so why bother growing them from seed?
For one thing, it’s much cheaper to start with seeds than to buy plants.
And if you’re the patient type, growing hibiscus from seed can also be a fun and rewarding project.
Another advantage I have found of growing hibiscus from seed is that the resulting plants are often more vigorous and disease-resistant than those propagated by other methods.
This may not be true for everyone but I have recently purchased some of the pricier hybrids that everyone is raving about and they didn’t do well at all for me so I gave them away.
So if you’re looking for strong, healthy plants, starting with seeds is a great way to go.
Another big thing is growing hibiscus from seed gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you started the plant from scratch.
There’s something special about being able to watch a tiny seed sprout and grow into a beautiful flowering plant, don’t you think?
How to Grow Hibiscus from Seed
Start your hibiscus seeds 6 to 12 weeks before your last frost.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
-Hibiscus seeds (I buy mine at Park Seeds.)
-Seed starting or good quality potting mix.
-Containers to start seeds in (this can be many things, see my seed starting post for more info)
-Tray or dish with warm water large enough to set the planting container or tray into.
-Pencil or label
First, nick the seeds and soak them for 24 hours in warm water. This will help lessen germination time. (I don’t always nick the seeds but I do soak them)
Next fill your containers, tray, or flat with moistened potting mix.
Sow your seeds to the depth of twice their size in the soil mix, spacing them about 2 inches apart. (this depth is a rule of thumb for most seeds)
Then, water the seeds by setting the container into a warm tray or dish of water to absorb from the bottom.
Watering this way helps to make sure the seeds are not dislodged.
Hibiscus like it warm and humid so place a humidity dome over the top of the planting container and keep it in a very bright, warm place.
A heat mat for seed starting is recommended but not absolutely necessary.
Germination can occur within 10 days. Many report a much faster rate.
Note: I have also started them in summer and they are big enough by colder weather to have enough growth to overwinter just fine.
Potting up your Hibiscus Seedlings
After the hibiscus seeds germinate let them grow for about 4 to 5 weeks and transplant them into a larger pot while being careful not to damage the taproot.
Most plants do best when potting up into containers that are not that much bigger in size, maybe two inches around bigger.
As warmer weather approaches harden off seedlings before planting in the garden or in containers outdoors.
When the young plant is about 6-8 inches tall, pinch back the tips to promote greater branching and hence more flowers.
Collecting Hardy Hibiscus Seeds
Do you have a friend with a dinner plate hibiscus? You may try collecting seeds from their plant and try to start them.
The first step in growing luna hibiscus from seed is to collect seeds from a mature plant.
Let the flowers go to seed. This will require that you not deadhead as the blooms fade.
If you are collecting seeds from a mature plant, make sure to wait until the pods have turned brown before you pick them.
Once you have collected your seeds, you will need to clean them. To clean your seeds, simply put them in a bowl of water and let them soak for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the floating seeds and discard them. The seeds that sink to the bottom of the bowl are viable and can be planted.
Now that you know how easy it is to grow hibiscus from seed, why not give it a try? With a little patience and care, you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of beautiful blooms in no time at all!
Just so you know, all photos in this post were taken in my garden of hibiscus I grow. Most of them are from seed. Only one was purchased as a plant 20 years ago.