But as I was walking through the Walmart Garden Center earlier this week, the beautiful Braided Hibiscus plants started calling to me. I'm still planning to plant my smaller containers using that method, but I couldn't resist taking home a new Hibiscus to add some gorgeous, vibrant color to our front porch! Priced at just $26.98, it will provide color year round for a real steal.
How To Select A Hibiscus Plant
A tropical plant best grown in USDA zone 10 and above, Hibiscus are not well-suited to the colder climate here in zone 6 Ohio. However, with a little bit of care, colder zones, like mine, can enjoy the beauty of these flowers by growing them in a container that can be moved indoors.
My Walmart Garden Center carries several varieties of Hibiscus, ranging from smaller shrubs to the larger braided tree-like specimen I selected. While many of the plants were in full bloom already, I opted for a Braided Hibiscus that only had small buds on it. The flowers are delicate and easily damaged during transport, and the buds are a little hardier. But it will be full of beautiful blooms very soon!
Caring For Hibiscus Plants
Upon arriving home, I transplanted my Braided Hibiscus into my large Better Homes and Gardens Bombay Garden Vase. Planting Hibiscus in a large container allows them to be displayed outdoors on a porch or patio through the summer months and then enjoyed indoors during the winter.
The Bombay Vase is tall and heavy enough to keep the tree upright on my front porch in light winds, yet light enough to be easily transported indoors to weather the colder months. Whatever container you choose, you'll also want to make sure that it allows for good drainage.
Hibiscus plants need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily. Be sure to rotate your plant ofter for equal light distribution.
Plants grown in containers can dry out quickly, especially during the hot summer months, so watering frequently is essential. Stick your finger down into the soil, and if the top inch of soil is dry, it's time to water. Water at soil level to avoid wetting the foliage.
Feed your Hibiscus about every two weeks with an all-purpose liquid plant food to encourage blooming. Instructions will vary depending on the brand you purchase, so read and follow them carefully.
The Braided Hibiscus can grow as large as 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, but it's easily kept to a more manageable size with frequent pruning. For container-grown plants, it's important to trim them frequently to encourage more side-shoots and flowers and to limit the need for a larger root system.
Pruning cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle, using a sharp pair of pruning shears -- this bud will be where the new growth sprouts. Remove dead flowers as they wilt to keep the Hibiscus looking healthy and beautiful, as well as to prevent unnecessary seed production.
When the temperatures start to drop to 40°F at night, it's time to move your Hibiscus indoors. Prior to moving them inside, spray them down several times to remove any unwanted pests, finishing with an application of horticultural oil.
Keep your Hibiscus in a warm, sunny spot, following the tips for watering, fertilizing and pruning until they can be moved back outdoors in late Spring/early summer!
I can hardly wait for those big, gorgeous orange Hibiscus flowers to bloom on my plant... I promise I'll update this post with a blooming image soon!