Hibiscus Tree For Outdoor and Patio Use

assorted hibiscus flowers

What a difference a week makes. The flowers are really starting to pop on the Hibiscus. It is truly a beautiful sight to see thousands of plants with red, pinks, oranges, and yellows to name a few in flower.
We’ve discussed – Florist Grade Hibiscus – now we’ll look at the other Hibiscus, the ones produced as potted trees for patio or terrace color as well as potted specimens in frontyard landscapes.

Hibiscus Production

The “Florist Grade” hibiscus plants are normally grown as bushes in Greenhouses. The outdoor/patio types are grown outside as bushes also, but we find a lot of tree forms or what are called “standards” produced.

The bushes are produced the same as the ‘Florist Grade’ from cuttings. Tree forms are normally grown from air-layers. Air-layers are a commonly used method to propagate plant material (that is a whole story in it self).

Hibiscus Tree

Stock plants are grown in the ground and reach a height of 6-8 feet. The branches are then trimmed, removing the side branches making one long straight stem (which stays on the tree) about 36 inches long. The base is then wrapped with spaghnum moss and foil to retain moisture.

Roots form and then grow into the moss. These air-layers are removed from the stock plants and planted into containers. Each stock plant can produce 50 to 100 plants per year.

The plants are then trimmed, and shaped into forming a small tree. This process takes 12 months for a 10” plant. Some growers also take 3 or 4 air-layers and braid them together.

Characteristics of the Outdoor/Patio Hibiscus

red hibiscus double flowered

The outdoor/patio hibiscus is taller, more open, and has lighter colored leaves then the ‘Florist Grade’.

The facilities to produce the outdoor/patio type are:

  • Outside growing areas (acres and acres)
  • Overhead irrigation
  • Some method to keep the plants from blowing over in the wind.

Hibiscus Culture

You’re going to get the most flowers and best growth by placing your Hibiscus in full sun. Try to keep the plants out of windy areas.

The plants will thrive outdoors where the night temperature normally doesn’t drop below 50 degrees. Hibiscus are used outdoors in tropical climates for landscape. Avoid excessive cold and hot areas.
assorted hibiscus flowers

It is important that you keep the soil of the Hibiscus moist at all times. Saturate the soil at each watering.

To test and see if you need to water, place your fingers on the top of the soil; if it feels dry to the touch it is time to water your Hibiscus. Water your plant at least 3 to 4 times a week (outside). Don’t allow the plant to sit in standing or puddled water.

Hibiscus respond well to normal house plant fertilizers. Trim the branches to maintain the desired shape.

red hibiscus double flowered

Hibiscus flowers open daily and last for only one day, after which they die. Your plants will probably have flowers that have opened during transit and have fallen off and started to rot.

This is normal! Simply remove all wilted or unsightly flowers and keep grooming daily.

Aphids can occasionally attack new growth, look at some of the insecticidal soaps as an option to control them.

While visiting your garden center keep this in mind. Hibiscus are heavy drinkers and aggressive feeders. Look for plants that are full, and have good color. They will probably need a good drink when they get home.

Hibiscus plants that are losing their bottom leaves can be a sign that the plants are not being watered well enough or the plants were in transit too long.


The photo at the right is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Flowers of rosa-sinensis – also known as Chinese hibiscus, China rose and shoe flower – are large and lacks scent.

TRIVIA: Did you know that Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia?

Rosa-sinensis have numerous medical uses. It is also grown as an ornamental plant. Women in some countries use it for hair care purposes. Children in the Philippines use it for their bubble-making game.

Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

LISA July 9, 2010 at 11:10 am

My hicubus leaves are turning yellow. They still haven’t produced flowers. What am I doing wrong? HELP!!!

Maryellen Stetz July 21, 2010 at 6:12 am

Can I plant my patio trees in my garden for next years blooming?

Laura Alfonso August 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm

My boss gave me three pretty pink Hibiscus trees that we transported and planted in our yard. One is doing beautifully, the other two have lost all their leaves and flowers and look dead. My husband waters them every other day because a friend said they may just be in shock, but it has been four months. My husband scratched the bases of the three tress that look dead and they are still green under the surface bark. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to bring these trees back to life??