How to Plant Bare Root Hibiscus

Hibiscus image by Cédric FROEHLICH from

Hibiscus are flowering plants that are revered for their ability to bloom nearly all year long. They can be grown as small trees or large shrubs, and they make for an attractive specimen plant or addition to a flower garden. The trumpet-shaped flowers of hibiscus come in a wide assortment of colours and sizes. When planting a bare-root hibiscus, make sure you plant the hibiscus within 1 to 2 days after purchasing.

Remove any wrapping from the plant.

Inspect the roots of the bare-root hibiscus. Snip off any broken or bent roots. Set the hibiscus in a bucket of water to soak for 30 minutes if its roots feel or appear dried out.

Fill up either a 5- or 7-gallon planting pot with a good-quality potting mix until it is approximately half full. For best drainage, choose a pot that has drain holes on the side and bottom.

Shake the pot a few times to settle the potting mix and eliminate air pockets. Set the hibiscus into the pot.

Hold the hibiscus vertical in its pot. Scoop in potting mix to fill the pot full with soil. Make sure the top of the root system will be sitting approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the rim of its pot.

Set the hibiscus out into a warm, sunny location starting in March or April, or after there is no more frost expected in your region. According to Dave Williams, a horticulturist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, place the hibiscus where the temperature is between 20.0 and 23.8 degrees C.

Fertilise the hibiscus every 6 weeks, starting as soon as leaf buds begin to form in the spring. Follow the instructions specified by the manufacturer. Use a 20-20-20 liquid fertiliser diluted to half strength.

Choose a sun-filled location for planting the hibiscus. Check the root system, as in step 2 above.

Spread out over the planting area a 2-to-3-inch layer of peat humus or compost. Work the amendment into the soil down to a depth of 10 to 14 inches using a spade or garden fork.

Dig a planting hole for the hibiscus that is 2 to 3 times the width and depth of its root system. Dig the planting holes 36 inches apart if planting more than one hibiscus.

Scoop soil back into the planting hole until it's approximately two-thirds full.

Place the hibiscus into the planting hole. Hold the trunk while you scoop in soil to set it in place.

Pour water into the planting hole until it is approximately three-fourths full. Scoop in more soil to fill the hole full after the water has settled away. Water the hibiscus thoroughly, letting the water run slowly to reach its roots.

Fertilise hibiscus as directed in step 7 above.

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