Does Hibiscus come back every year? Perhaps this is a question you have been asking yourself lately. We did some digging for you regarding this beautiful tropical plant to answer the question. Let’s find out more. 

The Hibiscus Plant

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Hibiscus is a herbaceous flowering plant in the Malvaceae family. It’s native to the subtropical and tropical regions of the world.

Its member species dot large, showy flowers. The plant is also known by other names such as Tropical Hibiscus, Hardy Hibiscus, and Rose of Sharon. Most gardeners grow it as an ornamental plant.

Tropical Hibiscus, for example, is a fast-growing evergreen shrub that grows to a height of 2.5- 5 meters tall. Its leaves are glossy and green and perfectly contrast the bright flowers in summer.

The large, conspicuous flowers are trumpet-shaped and come in a range of colors: white, orange, pink, peach, and yellow. They vary in diameter depending on the species; some measure 2″ while others measure 10 -12″. 

Does Tropical Hibiscus Come Back? 

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Hibiscus plants are divided into two categories, the perennial and the tropical.

The hardy or perennial Hibiscus comes back every year. The tropical Hibiscus, on the flip side, is less likely to come back.

This is because it thrives best as an indoor plant in containers and cannot survive the winters.

Essentially, you should handle tropical Hibiscus plants as annuals. Most gardeners replant them annually or bring them indoors during the cold months.

The perennial Hibiscus, on the other hand, dies back to the ground in winter and grows again in the spring.

Some perennial Hibiscus species can tolerate freezing temperatures up to -30°F.

Planting Hibiscus 


As mentioned earlier, you are better off planting the tropical Hibiscus in a container indoors during winter. However, the ideal season to start the plants is in late spring, when you can grow them on the ground or in containers.

The container should have enough space for the root ball of tropical Hibiscus to fit in well. It should be twice as wide.

Hardy hibiscus prefers moist soils, which means you should ensure enough moisture in the potting mix.

Fill ⅓ of the container with potting soil and make it damp but not wet. Once you set the plant in the container, fill the root ball with enough potting soil. Ideally, the root ball should sit an inch below the tip of the container.

When it comes to propagation, use soft-stem cuttings. You should obtain the cuttings from a hibiscus plant that has begun active growth.

Keep the cuttings out of direct sunlight and use a rooting hormone to encourage rooting. Also, bag the cuttings, which helps preserve moisture. 

Differences Between A Tropical Hibiscus And A Hardy Hibiscus 


In this section, we expound further on the differences between the tropical Hibiscus and the hardy Hibiscus. Primarily, what differentiates the two hibiscus types are their growing zones.

Tropical Hibiscus prefers the warm hardiness zones instead of the hardy Hibiscus, which does well in zones 5-8. However, there are other differences to note, such as blooms, leaves, and the plant type. Let’s get down to these.

Plant Types 

Tropical Hibiscus keep their leaves all year round, which makes them evergreen. On the flip side, the hardy Hibiscus are deciduous; the leaves shed off during winter.

In terms of height, the hardy Hibiscus are taller than the Tropical. The hardy Hibiscus grows 15 feet tall and spreads 4 to 8 feet wide. In contrast, the tropical Hibiscus grows up to 10 feet and extends 5 to 8 feet in width. 

Leaf Characteristics 

Tropical Hibiscus leaves are dark green and glossy as opposed to the hardy Hibiscus, which are partially green and heart-shaped.

However, some hardy species like the Hibiscus mutabilis differ in these characteristics. Their large leaves don’t conform to the heart shape, and they are also hairy and lobed.

The other hardy Hibiscus is the giant rose mallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus). Their leaves are fuzzy and grayish-green.

The tropical ‘Red Hot’ cultivar – (Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis) has leaves with multiple colors. The ‘Kopper King’ has an unusual color of reddish copper.

Bloom Size 

The blooms of the Hibiscus not only differ in size but in color as well. Tropical Hibiscus continuously blooms in shades of peach, orange, salmon, and yellow.

The blooms show up in single or double layers of petals that are 3-4 inches wide. On the other hand, the flowers of hardy Hibiscus are larger and have color ranges of pink, red and white. 

Hibiscus Care 

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Tropical Hibiscus loves cool, dark locations where the ambient temperature is about 10 degrees Celsius; basements and garages are ideal. Hibiscus breaks dormancy too early if exposed to sunlight.

Thorough watering and feeding are necessary to keep it growing. Apply fertilizer intermittently during the growing season. Soils for tropical Hibiscus should be wet and well-amended.

The hardy Hibiscus can grow in full or partial shade and prefers wet soil. If you buy potted Hibiscus, their watering and fertilizer needs will be higher than when you plant them in a landscape.

However, most potted hibiscus plants come with a slow-release fertilizer in the soil; thus, their fertilizer requirements will be minimal in the first few months. This changes in the next few months, when you will be required to feed it regularly with a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer. 


Gardeners in the northern climate should contend with overwintering hibiscus indoors. However, it’s important to mention that you need to provide 2- 3 hours of daily sunlight.

Maintain frequent shallow watering because of the indoor heat. Misting is also necessary for a dry indoor environment.

Prevent your Hibiscus from flowering in winter by removing any buds that show up. Propagate the plant in spring while maintaining a nighttime temperature above 10 degrees Celsius.  

Wrap Up 

Hibiscus is a beautiful ornamental plant that is easy to maintain. There are several Hibiscus species, divided between tropical and the hardy or perennial Hibiscus.

Hardy hibiscus comes back every year, but the tropical Hibiscus needs to be maintained as an indoor plant during winters.

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