How to grow and care for hibiscus plant

If you’re looking to grow hibiscus plants at home, here are four simple steps to get started. 

© 123rf

Named after the Greek god ἰβίσκος (Hibikos), Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (or Bunga Raya in Malay) is a flower we’re all familiar with. A symbol of courage, life and the rapid growth of the Malaysians, the trumpet-shaped flower was declared as the national flower of Malaysia in 1960, beating out other strong contenders such as ylang-ylang, jasmine, lotus, rose, magnolia and medlar. 

Dubbed the Queen of Tropical Flowers, hibiscus plants thrive in heat and humidity and grow abundantly in our country. Not to mention, it’s also incredibly easy to care for. You can also brew hibiscus tea to drink as it’s said to have an abundance of health benefits like lowering blood pressure, reduce hair loss and boost liver health. 

Did you know that the five conspicuous petals of the hibiscus flower represent the Rukun Negara?

In the spirit of Merdeka, let’s do something a little extra this year. Aside from showing your support and joining the parade at Putrajaya this year, let’s express love for our nation by adding these ravishing ornamental plants to your garden. 

We spoke to Jan Zainal the Garden Fairy from Taman Hati and here are her tips on how to grow and care for hibiscus plants. 

How to propagate Hibiscus

© Jan Zainal

Step 1: Choose the ideal planting location

© Jan Zainal

Hibiscus plants need bright, direct sunlight to thrive. So placing them in your outdoor garden, balcony or near a sunny window will keep them happy and blooming.

Step 2: Prepare the soil

It’s important to note that hibiscus flourishes in moist but well-drained condition. Enrich the soil with mulch, organic matter or worm compost (rich digested soil that worms leave behind) for optimal growth. Go for neutral to slightly acidic soil by mixing in a sulfur compound to lower the pH value of the soil. 

Read more: 4 simple steps to start composting

Step 3: Plant the flower

© Jan Zainal

Now comes the exciting part. First, dig a hole in the planting site, then remove the hibiscus plant from its nursery container before placing it in the planting hole. Fill the planting hole halfway then water well to settle the plant and eliminate any air pockets. Continue the process until the planting hole is filled before adding a layer of earthworm casting around the base. Water until the soil is moistened. 

Step 4: Give it some tender, loving, care

@ Jan Zainal

Hibiscus plants are easy to maintain as long as they get enough sunlight and water. Over and under-watering are two of the main culprits of bud drop. To avoid killing your plants, water twice a week to keep them hydrated. For days when the weather is particularly hot and dry, water it every day to keep the soil moist. Hibiscus plants also attract pests like aphids, thrips and mites, and these troublesome creatures feed on the leaves – causing holes, wilting and discolouration. Treat these pests with oil-free insecticidal soap or wettable powder Malathion pesticide. As with all plants, you should fertilise them weekly to promote regular blooms. Use water-based organic fertiliser for faster absorption. These can be bought from any nursery or hardware stores.

Hibiscus plants are not only beautiful, but they’re also easy to care for. So if you’re looking for a tropical touch to add to your garden, then you’ve just found the perfect one!