You Can Grow Hardy Hibiscus!

How to Care for Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus Moscheutos). Perennial or Hardy hibiscus are large, showy perennials that produce beautiful flowers in shades of pink, red, and white.

Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) are easy-to-grow perennials that produce lusciously large, exotic flowers from midsummer to fall.

They’re a good choice for beginning gardeners because they’re relatively low maintenance.

Hardy Hibiscus are deciduous, US native shrubs that will bloom perennially in zones 4-9. Even in snow country!

red hardy hibiscus in garden

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Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus Moscheutos) are also known as:

  • Perennial Hibiscus
  • Swamp Mallow
  • Rose Mallow
  • Swamp Rose
  • Dinner Plate Hibiscus

Here’s what you need to know about how to care for hardy hibiscus.

Pink Luna Hibiscus Moscheutos

Hardy Hibiscus Planting and Care Guide

Hardy hibiscus plants should be planted in early spring or fall in a location that receives full sun.

Did you know you can start them from seeds? I show you how!

I also soak the roots before planting in Organic Rev to improve root growth for a strong, healthy start. You can also use it as a foliar spray.

bottle of Organic Rev with potted plant on potting bench

Organic Rev Growth Stimulant

Did you know that plant growth stimulants can be a game-changer in the garden? Many gardeners don’t even know what they are so let’s start with basic info.

Light and Temperature Requirements

Perennial hibiscus prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade, especially in hot summer climates.

They like heat and do best in temperatures of 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hardy hibiscus needs warm temperatures for bud growth, so if it’s a cold spring or summer, growth will be slower.

I know that is the case for me. We often have cold spring weather on into early June.

To help keep Hibiscus warm apply a layer of mulch to protect Hibiscus in the winter.

In my garden, I don’t see blooms until September and that is because to set buds well perennial hibiscus like the nighttime temperatures to be in the 60’s.

Our nighttime temps are often only in the 50’s in summer but we do see a week or two in late July and some in August of the 60’s. So I get late blooms.

Soil and Watering Requirements

The soil should be rich, moist, and well-drained.

Adding compost or other organic matter to the soil when planting will help improve drainage and promote root growth.

the best tip for healhty plants

Build your Soil for Easy Gardening

Nothing beats rich organic soil for growing a beautiful garden. Healthy soil = beautiful healthy plants. No fertilizer compares to building your soil!

Hardy hibiscus are not very drought tolerant, so make sure to water them deeply and regularly, especially during hot, dry weather.

If a Hibiscus gets overly dry it will drop all its foliage and will look like a bunch of dead sticks.

If this happens don’t worry too much, it will re-bud. Juat start watering regularly.

The Hibiscus is protecting its root system when it loses its leaves.

Best flowering is achieved when there is ample moisture.

Drought stress in the spring will reduce growth and blooms.

Mulching not only helps the plant through winter but goes far in keeping the root zone moist during the hot part of the season.

Fertilizing Hardy Hibiscus

In the Spring as the plant wakes up apply a balanced slow-release plant food to the surrounding soil which will continue to feed it for several weeks. (I use compost for my slow-release fertilizer but if you don’t have compost then I would use this)

Later on, just as its flower buds are beginning to form give your perennial hibiscus some organic liquid plant food to help the plant have the energy to produce lots of flowers.

bud on a perennial hibiscus plant
Hardy hibiscus Luna Red flower bud – Latin name – Hibiscus moscheutos Luna Red

I prefer this organic liquid feed as it not only feeds the plant safely but also the soil. For hibiscus use the General Purpose.

Pruning Perennial Hibiscus

In late winter or early spring, your hibiscus may be just pushing new green growth from the ground.

The old stems will be brown sticks, cut the brown stems back to a few inches above the ground.

For bushy and full Hibiscus plants, cut back the new shoots by half when they are about 6-10 inches tall.

The cut should be made just above a set of leaves, this will improve branching. Improved branching will yield more flowers.

Deadhead (remove spent flowers) regularly to encourage continued blooming.

Hibiscus Moscheutos Pests and Disease

Hardy hibiscus plants are relatively pest and disease-resistant.

However, aphids, thrips, Japanese beetles, and spider mites may occasionally become a problem.

I rely on balancing nature in my garden. I dislike using any type of pesticide or fungicide if at all possible.

For Spider mites and aphids I use a power spray water nozzle to spray them off the plant, giving it a chance to recover.

Healthy soil makes for a healthy plant that can withstand some pest pressure.

I have a healthy ladybug population so they take care of the aphids if I am patient enough to wait for them.

I have never dealt with Japanese beetles so I cannot speak to that.

Some claim that Perennial Hibiscus are deer resistant but I have found that deer LOVE to eat the flowers, as you can see in the photo below.

Red perennial hibiscus flower eaten by deer

Deer repellents have worked for me, especially those with mint or other botanical oils in them. This one I have tried and found effective.

But you must be diligent in spraying repeatedly as new growth emerges.

Important Note on Perennial Hibiscus

Because Hardy hibiscus prefers very warm temperatures they are late to the party.

What I mean is they emerge much later than other perennials and you may think it is dead.

Just be patient and soon it will push up new shoots and later in the summer, you will have big, blousy blooms to delight you.

With their large, showy flowers, hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) make a beautiful addition to any garden.

These perennial plants are relatively easy to care for, making them a great option for beginning gardeners.

With just a little bit of care, you’ll be rewarded with healthy plants that will bloom beautifully year after year!

Proven Winners has released a collection of Summerific hibiscus that are just lovely!

I have grown and love DiscoBelle Hibiscus in my garden, do a search on the web for photos.

I have had the best success with the Disco Belle hibiscus and the Luna Series, which I grew from seed.

its so easy!

Grow Hardy Hibiscus from Seed

It may seem intimidating but it is simple enough for beginner gardeners to do. Plus growing hibiscus from seed is very budget friendly and satisfying!

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