Growing Hibiscus

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Perennial Hibiscus


The hardy perennial hibiscus, also called rose mallow or swamp rose, adds the beauty of a tropical hibiscus to the garden, but can withstand cold winter temperatures that kill the actual tropical varieties. Here’s how to grow hibiscus in your garden!

This hibiscus has big, disc-shaped, hollyhock-like flowers that can be 6 to 12 inches across. The perennial hibiscus is the result of hybridizing native wild hibiscus species.


  • Plants can be purchased from nurseries or started from seed.
  • Seeds can be sown indoors 12 weeks before the last spring frost. See local frost dates.
  • Soak seeds in warm water for one hour before sowing.
  • Seeds can also be sown outdoors after the last expected frost date.
  • Plant the hibiscus where it is not exposed to strong winds to avoid breaking of the long stems.
  • Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart.
  • Mature plants can be divided in the spring.


  • Mulch around the plant to retain moisture and to provide protection for the roots.
  • Water plants deeply and thoroughly.
  • To encourage re-bloom, remove old flowers before they form seed heads or prune plants back by one third after a flush of bloom is finished.
  • In early spring, remove dead stems from established plants and apply a balanced fertilizer.



Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • The plant has been used to soothe headaches, aching limbs, coughs, and inflammations.
  • In Victorian times, giving a hibiscus blossom to a person meant that the giver was acknowledging the receiver’s delicate beauty. Learn about more about the language of flowers.

2020 Almanac Calendar Club

Growing Hibiscus

Botanical Name Hibiscus moscheutos
Plant Type Shrub
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun
Soil Type
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time
Flower Color Multicolor, Pink, Red, White
Hardiness Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Special Features