I bought a lovely Hibiscus shrub 4 years ago but it never seems to be successful, only ever having 3 or 4 lovely pale mauve flowers and small leaves and not lots of them either.  It is sheltered from winter winds but in a sunny well drained spot.  I give it a good mulch each autumn with 2 year rotted horse manure mixed with home made compost.  I have never pruned it as it has only grown about 3ft tall.   Any suggestions would be appreciated


  • Hello Stephanie,

    It sounds as though you've given your hibiscus a good spot and mulching and not pruning it is the right approach.

    Have you ever tested your soil? Hardy hibiscus do not thrive in acid soil. If you want to know if you have acid soil you can buy soil testing kits from garden centres. Sometimes some parts of the garden are different from others so it's good to test all over. They also like moist (but free-drained) soil, so it's good to give them plenty of water in the summer.

    Having said all that, my dad moved into a flat where there was a hibiscus that wasn't thriving at all. His soil is alkaline so it should have been OK. When we dug it out to remove it, we found it had been planted several inches too deep, so that gave us the answer!

    Do let us know how your investigations go and good luck,


    gardenersworld.com team

  • Thank you for your advice.  I have done a soil test and the ph is neutral at 7.  Should I be testing for other things like nitrogen , phosphorus or potassium ?.    I am determined to make this the year my Hibiscus shines !

  • my hibiscus is about 15yrs old( it's redheart) I prune it lightly after flowering as the ends of the stems look thin and shriveled, then as the new growth starts I cut back to a good bud, the same as you would for roses, I've fed  it with Gromore a few times, but I never see any differance from that, it always has loads of flowers and it grows in peat enriched soil because 40yrs ago it was heavy clay, It could be that it's still a bit young, I have fun growing more plants from the seed, but they hardly ever come back the same colour as the parent plant, but it's great fun waiting to see just what colour the flowers will be,

  • I am attempting to grow Hibiscus from seed for the first time this year. Not a very sophisticated approach - all purpose compost in a widow sillpot ensconced in a plastic bag, about 20 to a 6" pot. What germination rate could I realistically expect? I suppose the seedlings will need hardening off in a cold frame? No idea what the parent plant is like as seeds bought on e-bay but it's part of the thrill of the chase!  

  • I have a hibiscus which also has never produced flowers, it is covered with buds but every year the buds appear to be knawed away at before they manage to flower.

    Have moved it from front of house to back and still the problem remains. Have tried spraying to kill off any infestations as soon as buds form but still after 5 years, the same problem - any suggestions as this year I feel is the last chance saloon for my plant?

    Jan C

  • Hello hibiscus lovers,

    A lack of flowering may be due to our recent lack of long hot summers. They always flower better after a good summer, so maybe we'll get lucky this year! However, Jan Chandler, your problem could be botrytis. This is a fungus that is always worse in cool and wet conditions. It can damage the flower buds, so that the flowers are spoiled and will never open. Unfortunately controlling it is very difficult, but improving the air-flow around the plant, by reducing crowding will help and so will removing all old plant debris from the site.


    gardenersworld.com team

  • Thanks Emma, seem to have complied with all of your above suggestions, with planting and clearing site around the area, so will see if any luck this year with a hoped for hot summer for us all to enjoy.


  • ippikinippikin Posts: 2

    I have six Hibiscus plants which I bought from Thomson and Morgan 2 years ago as yet I haven't had any buds or flowers on them.   I know they are slow growing but do they need feeding at this time of year...I don't think they need pruning as they haven't grown much either, they get plenty of sunshine and survive the winters, is there something I need to do to encourage the growth, I'm sure there are experts out there that can give me some advice.

  • I found this thread after a quick search for hibiscus issues so I hope someone can help. I have two hibiscus, one went into the border where heather and hydrangeas (blue) grow, and the other went into a pot of garden compost.

    The one in the pot has thrived in that it grew really well and has a good shape.  The other one has grown but much slower, though it is also in quite a shady spot.

    The problem is that neither has ever flowered and having read this thread I'm wondering if it is because we are in Aberdeenshire where we don't exactly get long hot summers.

    I have lightly pruned the one in the pot after the time at which it ought to have flowered but that made no difference last year.  I don't think either plant has even had flower buds on it so any advice would be welcome



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