House Plants/hibiscus


I have had a pink hibiscus as a houseplant only (live in Colorado)in a south window; it's about 4 1/2 ft. high in 12" pot. Was given to me as a gift. Looks very healthy; very green leaves with many new ones coming on. Bloomed a lot its first yr. but this year (my second with the plant), it has not bloomed at all. Gave it fertilizer late last summer - a slow-acting variety. Does it need repotting? If so, do I trim the roots?
The last experience I had with hibiscus was living in FL & it was in the ground, so this is totally different for me. Thanks.

Hi Pam,

Repotting actually discourages flowering. Flowering plants produce more flowers when they are kept moderately potbound.

The key to getting Hibiscus rosa-sinensis to flower is providing a winter semi-dormant period. That is probably why yours has not re-bloomed since you got it. Unfortunately, you are too late for the winter dormancy for this year, so you may have to wait until next year to get a profusion of blooms. In the interim, here is how to care for it and get it back on cycle.

When indoors, Hibiscus needs lots of direct sunlight - a south-facing window. Keep the soil evenly moist except during dormancy. It will bloom better if it is potbound, but that also means more frequent watering and fertilizing with any plant food that has a middle number higher in proportion to the other two (15-30-15, for example).

For the warmer months, provide as much sunlight as possible, resume fertilizing and keep the
soil evenly moist by watering thoroughly as soon as the surface feels dry. Be alert for white flies, aphids and spider mites.

If you keep your Hibiscus outside in summer, keep it in light shade. The move back inside in the fall is a major environmental shift for your Hibiscus', so the loss of leaves and buds should be expected in the fall as it enters its dormant period.
In the fall after the last flowers have faded, gradually reduce soil moisture by allowing the soil to dry out deeper and deeper into the rootball. Stop fertilizing and keep it in a cool
spot to ease it into late winter dormancy. In November, prune the whole plant back to one-third its size. Water just enough to keep it from completely wilting and stop fertilizing altogether. Keep it in a cool location with temps in the mid 50's, if possible. This induced dormancy should last 6-8 weeks and will encourage new growth and more blooms in the late spring and summer.  The plant will not look terrific, but the point is to just keep the plant alive during this period. Any weak, spindly new growth over the winter should be pruned back in late winter or at the end of the dormant period.

In the right climate where you can get lots of bright light, cool temps and humidity, it is possible to skip the winter dormancy and get flowers off-and-on throughout the year. But it is still a good idea to prune back substantially at least once a year to keep the plant full and compact.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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