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Growing Hibiscus in Pots (Australian Guide)

Who doesn’t love those gorgeous bright blooms of the many hibiscus species?

While many gardeners in the northern part of the country love to grow these plants in their gardens, a lot of hibiscus varieties also lend themselves perfectly to growing in pots.

This allows you to move them around to add colour to various parts of the garden or you can have them on your patio or verandah to enjoy them right through the summer months.

Choose your pot

Hibiscus do well in larger pots that are at least 60 cm in diameter. Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes to allow the potting mix to drain freely when you water.

Hibiscus in Pots 2 | Plant care

You can select from a variety of different pots, depending on your personal preference.

Your pot can be made from plastic or terracotta. Even large ceramic pots work well for hibiscus.

Just remember that a terracotta pot will be porous, so you’ll have to water it more often.

Choose a quality potting mix

When growing gorgeous plants like hibiscus in pots, always ensure that you use a top-quality potting mix.

soil in hands | Plant care

Premium potting mixes have the correct structure to support the growth of healthy roots.

Many also include some additional nutrients to get your plants off to a good start.

Planting your hibiscus in its pot

When I plant nursery-purchased plants in pots, I usually just place some potting mix in the bottom so that the roots of the plant will sit on the mix and the base of the stem will be level with the top of the pot.

I then take the plant out of its nursery pot and gently tease out the roots just a little. This is ideal for hibiscus and will allow the roots to spread out once planted.

Then, I backfill around the plant with more potting mix while making sure that the plant remains in the centre of the pot and is upright.

Adding soil to Hibiscus in Pots | Plant care

Gently firm down the potting mix as you backfill until the mix is just below the top of the pot and supports the plant well.

At this point, you can also add a little mulch to the top of the mix to help retain moisture and keep the roots cooler. Fine bark is good for this.

Or, you might like to get a little more creative and use coloured pebbles or stones.

Water your newly planted hibiscus

Once you’ve planted your hibiscus in its pot, it’s time to give it a good watering. Water deeply at this stage until the excess runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom.

Watering Hibiscus in Pots | Plant care

Let the excess water drain away and place your potted hibiscus in a nice sunny spot. Refrain from placing a saucer under the pot because hibiscus needs good drainage and doesn’t appreciate its roots being constantly wet.

Also, remember that some hibiscus species prefer a sunny position while there are others that prefer some shade.

Have a look at the label on the nursery pot to see the conditions that are ideal for your particular plant.

How to care for your potted hibiscus

The main tasks that you need to do to keep your potted hibiscus healthy and thriving are watering and feeding.

Hibiscus like plenty of water during the warmer months but they also need good drainage. Therefore, you want to water your plant when the top two centimetres of soil are dry.

You’ll also need to supply your growing hibiscus with adequate fertiliser. Especially if you want plenty of lush growth and an abundance of blooms. 

For potted plants, I generally prefer a slow-release fertiliser in granulated form. My go-to for this is Hortico Plant Fertiliser for Flowers.

This only needs to be applied every six months, once in spring and once in autumn.

You also want to trim your hibiscus in spring in order to promote plenty of new growth over summer.

Pruning Hibiscus in Pots | Plant care

Then, you can just sit back and enjoy those delightful blooms.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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