Growing the hibiscus plant is an excellent way to spruce up your garden and add an aesthetic flair. The plant is characterized by stunning blooms that brighten up your mood.
Usually, healthy plants grow to maturity and bloom as usual. However, if it isn’t the case, you want to diagnose the issue early enough to nip it in the bud.
This article talks about the hibiscus plant in detail and the common reasons for it not blooming. Keep reading.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Hibiscus Plant
- 2 Hibiscus Growth
- 3 Common Reasons Why Your Hibiscus Buds Won’t Bloom
- 4 General Hibiscus Care
- 5 Conclusion
The Hibiscus Plant
Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.) is an annual and perennial herbaceous bushy evergreen shrub that grows to 3-10 feet tall and 2-8 feet wide. It has glossy leaves that produce red flowers in summer and autumn.
Hibiscus is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in the tropics and sub-tropics. Common names of the plant include:
- China rose
- Rose mallow
- Chinese hibiscus
- Shoeblack plant
- Hawaiian hibiscus
Gardeners love growing the common hibiscus type (Hibiscus rosa sinensis), called Rose of China. Expert and researcher Ross Gast traced the origins of the species to India, from where it spread to the Pacific islands.
However, China began the earliest and most extensive cultivation of the various hibiscus plant species.
Europeans doing rounds of exploration in China picked up the plant and spread it to Europe.
If growing for the first time, understand that there are two major hibiscus types even though their flowers might appear the same. These are the tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa Sinensis) and the perennial hibiscus (which has multiple species).
The former blooms longer than the latter.
If you’re an indoor plant lover, tropical hibiscus is an excellent choice for patios during summer. However, you got to overwinter your plants by bringing them indoors during winter.
Plant hibiscus in full sunlight. Tropical varieties thrive best in moist and well-draining soils.
On the flip side, perennial types need more water than their tropical counterparts and can withstand wet soil.
Tropical hibiscus loves warm weather— plant it when the temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees.
Plant perennial hibiscus during spring for optimum growth.
Steps To Planting
- Identify a container twice as wide as the plant’s root ball. (Plant perennial hibiscus on the ground.)
- Fill ⅓ of the container with potting mix.
- Set your hibiscus in the container, ensuring the tip of the root ball is one inch below the lip of the container.
- Ensure to fill the area around the root ball with more potting mix.
- Water your hibiscus regularly after planting.
Common Reasons Why Your Hibiscus Buds Won’t Bloom
If your hibiscus is budding and not blooming, various factors could be at play. Some common ones include:
1. Lack Of Enough Sunlight
Terrestrial plants won’t bloom or flower if you don’t expose them to enough sunlight. Whether indoor or outdoor, ensure to position your hibiscus where it receives ample sunlight.
As much as hibiscus needs water to bud and bloom, overwatering will cause the buds to drop off. Ensure that the pot has sufficiently large drainage holes and the soil is well draining.
3. Improper Pruning
Improper pruning can render your hibiscus flowerless. It has to be done at the right time and in the proper way.
For instance, over-pruning in early spring can eliminate bud growth sites hindering your hibiscus from producing blooms.
4. Infertile Soil
Growing ornamentals in poor soil without supplementing them with fertilizer and organic manure is a sure-shot way of preventing the buds from blooming.
Plant buds may fail to bloom if infested by pests. The common culprits are thrips which hatch and end up eating the bud before it has a chance to bloom.
Pest infestation also affects the overall plant health and its ability to produce flowers.
6. Inappropriate Temperature/Humidity
Right temperatures and humidity levels are prerequisites for blooming.
Avoid exposing your hibiscus plants to extreme outside temperatures where they are likely to be under stress. Stressed plants will produce tiny and insignificant blooms, if any.
Similarly, ensure the plants are regularly misted to maintain appropriate humidity levels. Hot and dry air can cause the buds to drop off.
General Hibiscus Care
Knowing how to care for your hibiscus plant is vital to ensure the plant rewards you with many, many years of beautiful flower blooms.
Hibiscus plants love bright spots. Growing them in containers is advantageous since you can easily place them near sunny spots.
Additionally, you can transfer the plant outdoors during warm weather— do this gradually by acclimatizing it to the new environment.
Hibiscus plants have an insatiable appetite for water. Maintain a regular watering regime for your tropical hibiscus from spring to early autumn.
To avoid overwatering, water only when the top part of the soil feels dry. Lessen the watering during the dormant periods since the growth is scarce.
Regular or daily watering encourages an abundance of blooms in your hibiscus.
Soil for hibiscus plants should be fertile, moist, and well-draining. The acidity levels can affect the color of the flowers.
Slightly acidic soil is quite ideal. However, some varieties like the rose of Sharon can tolerate alkaline conditions.
A technique to help conserve moisture is applying mulch on top of the soil, especially if living in dry conditions. Amend less fertile soils with organic fertilizer.
Adding fertilizer with high Potassium and Nitrogen content promotes abundant blooms with rich colors. However, timing is the key.
Start the application before the bloom period starts and maintain a regular application at least once every two weeks until the end.
Take care not to overfertilize the plants as it will cause the same problem— lesser blooms and more vegetative growth.
You can use common organic fertilizers, seaweed extracts, or fish emulsion. Whatever you use, ensure it is well balanced in all the major nutrients (Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium And Magnesium).
Temperature And Humidity
Hibiscus plants grow best in temperatures between 16 – 32 degrees celsius. They thrive well outdoor until winter.
Bring the plants indoors during winter, remaining mindful of their humidity needs. Keep them near humid locations inside the house or purchase a humidifier if necessary.
Another routine practice that could be easily overlooked while growing hibiscus is pruning. Unfortunately, this could also cost your plant its precious blooms.
Begin pruning when the plants become hardy and well established.
The best time is around autumn— some gardeners do it during the winter period.
Pruning helps eliminate damaged, dead, and diseased branches, encouraging air circulation and general plant tidiness. It also eliminates old growing wood at the center of the plant.
If your hibiscus plant is pest infested, use an appropriate herbal or commercial product to eliminate them. Common pests include ants, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids.
The hibiscus plant is a tropical fond of sunlight, fertile well-draining soils, and a humid environment.
Your hibiscus may bud but fail to bloom because of underwatering, overwatering, lack of sunlight, extreme temperatures, poor nutrition, or pest infestation.
Correcting each of these problems in time will make your plant bloom again.
Job Kiniale is a certified crop scientist and gardening enthusiast with a passion to help beginning gardeners navigate their newfound hobby. Let’s talk about plants, backyard ideas, and general gardening advice. Outside work, Job loves spending time with family.