Hibiscus plants are available in both tropical and perennial, hardy varieties. While the hardy varieties will withstand the cold of even northern winters, dying back only to re-emerge in the spring, the tropical hibiscus cannot tolerate temperatures below 4.44 degrees C. You can transplant hibiscus plants from one sunny location to another or pot a tropical to bring inside for the winter.
Transplant potted hibiscus any time during the year, but transplant in the yard during cooler months. Hardy hibiscuses are quite tall and transplanting them immediately upon re-emerging from winter hibernation helps them stay upright during the growing season.
Dig the hibiscus out of the ground, removing as much root as possible. The larger the plant, the larger its root ball. For tropical hibiscus, measure around the base of the trunk, and figure that for every 1/2 inch the root ball will be approximately 1 foot in diameter. For hardy hibiscus, which is a grouping of stalks, dig straight down 1/2 foot outside its perimeter. If you miss some of the smaller roots, the transplant should still be fine, but try to get as many as possible.
Prepare a hole 1 foot wider than the root ball and as deep as the root ball is tall. Add a layer of garden soil made for flowering plants to the outside perimeter of the hole to provide nutrients for the transplanted hibiscus. If potting a tropical hibiscus, choose a clay pot that is the same size as the hole dimensions. If you prefer the plant to be below the rim of the pot, buy one that is deeper. Add potting soil to the bottom of the pot before adding the tree.
Transfer the hibiscus to its new hole or pot, gently pulling apart its roots so it can spread out in its now home.
For yard transplants, fill the hole by replacing the native soil removed during digging or fill with purchased topsoil. Plant hibiscus at the same depth as the tree was in the container or in its previous location; do not bury the top of the root ball below ground. There is no need to pack the soil or tamp it down. Stake the plant if necessary.
Fill potted hibiscus with purchased potting soil, following the same directions as for a yard transplant for soil depth and staking. Maintain proper drainage to avoid root rot. A drainage plate will guard against accidental overflows and spills.
Water the hibiscus well to ensure that all parts of the root ball are saturated. Hold off fertilising until two to three weeks have passed. Then fertilise with a dry 10-10-10 or 7-2-7 fertiliser.