When Does a Hibiscus Bloom | How Long Do They Flower

Originally found growing in Asia, Hibiscus is a unique plant whose blooms provide vibrant color combinations that can differ for each plant. 

As flowering plants go, Hibiscus is not too difficult to care for, but taking certain precautions and measures will enable you to hit the sweet spot when it comes to understanding when does a hibiscus bloom. 

Understanding when they bloom will help to uncover other questions such as how long they bloom for, and what issues can be tracked to figure out why your hibiscus isn’t properly blooming. Read on to find answers to these questions and more.

When Does a Hibiscus Bloom

Some hibiscus plants are tropical while others are perennial, meaning they bloom on an annual basis. Perennial varieties will bloom in the hot months, with August being the most popular time for growth. Tropical hibiscus, however, grows year-round. 

How Often Do Hibiscus Bloom

When planting a hibiscus, it is important to know whether it is perennial or tropical in order to understand its blooming cycle. Tropical hibiscus produce flowers constantly, with each blossom lasting only one day. 

Perennial hibiscus, like those found in gardening stores or growing from planted seeds, however, only bloom in the hot months of the year. 

How Long Do Hibiscus Bloom

The bloom of hibiscus flowers shows up suddenly and radiantly, but in most cases only lasts for one to three days. In most cases, flowers open in the early morning, and they wilt by the evening. 

For perennials, within a few days after the flowers have closed and fallen off, the supporting plant structure falls as well. This is not the case, of course, with tropical hibiscus, which blooms year-round. 

Why Won’t My Hibiscus Bloom

There are several reasons why your hibiscus won’t bloom and remain stubbornly flowerless including lack of light, nutrient inadequacies, incorrect pruning, too much or too little watering, or pest infestations.

Thankfully the problem is usually simple to solve. Here’s a closer look at those issues and what can be some to fix them.

Not Enough Sunlight

Hibiscus plants stem from tropical areas like China, and because of this, they are a plant that needs a lot of direct sunlight. 

Take note of where you have placed the plant – is there enough light, does the area lack humidity, and are there any drafts close by? If so, your hibiscus is living under conditions that are opposed to its ability to bloom, and it is time to find a spot with more sunlight. Hibiscuses need a draft-free position with full sun and high humidity.

Excess of Phosphorous

Interestingly, while phosphorous is known in the gardening world to boost the blooming process of a lot of flowers, this is not the case with hibiscus. Hibiscus plants are sensitive to too much phosphorus in the soil, and a build-up of it can lead to the roots of your hibiscus lacking the ability to take in other essential nutrients. 

In addition to a lack of flowers, other symptoms that could indicate your hibiscus is exposed to an excess of phosphorous include the yellowing of hibiscus leaves and leaf drop. 

If you suspect this is the reason for your plant not blooming, switch to a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer or even lower ratios with a Triple 6 fertilizer that has an even ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Pruning at Inopportune Times

The best time to prune a perennial hibiscus plant is at the end of the growing season, usually in September or October. This type of hibiscus can more easily tolerate hard pruning, but make sure you cut back well in advance of any new growth emerging.

Tropical hibiscus, on the other hand, prefers infrequent pruning and any heavy-handedness will result in a significant delay in new shoots and bud sets. 

Over or Under Watering

Hibiscus plants are known for their massive intake of water – for, again, they hail from tropical areas where water is naturally plentiful. However, caring for a hibiscus plant is a delicate balancing act, because too much water can prevent a bloom. 

If your hibiscus is potted, ensure it is planted in well-draining soil and the container has good-sized holes for drainage, to prevent the soil from soaking in too much water. It is especially important to check your plant daily in the summer months for dryness and water accordingly. 

Remember that if the pot or container holding your hibiscus is too small, it could dry out quicker. Adding a layer of mulch can also help to retain moisture in the soil.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Hibiscus plants are known for being heavy feeders. As with most plants, one of the most effective ways to feed your hibiscus is to regularly provide it with a good hibiscus fertilizer

Potassium is one of the most important nutrients for hibiscus plants, and they will not be able to bloom without an ample supply of it. 

Remember to find a well-balanced fertilizer that contains an even ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. 

During the summer growing season, I recommend using a liquid concentrate fertilizer that can be diluted in water, allowing for watering and feeding at the same time. Remember to water in between fertilizing to ensure that an excess fertilizer compound is flushed out.

Another related tip is to check on the alkaline levels of your soil. Hibiscus prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil in a pH range of between 5.5 to 7.0. Too much alkaline can lead to a non-blooming plant. 

To increase acidity, regularly mix compost into the soil and mulch the top layer of soil around your hibiscus over winter. 

Pest Infestations

It is common for houseplants, and even those in gardens, to become infiltrated with unwanted pests – and this is true for hibiscus as well. When a hibiscus plant is riddled with pests, its flower buds fall off, preventing the plant from properly blooming. 

Pest infestations can be a result of your hibiscus having too much nitrogen in its soil. Take time to thoroughly inspect the leaves, stems, and especially leaf junctions and nodes of your hibiscus, searching for signs of infestation. 

The most well-recommended method to getting rid of pests on a hibiscus plant is to use an organic insecticide like the ones derived from neem oil. These types of insecticides will not be harmful to the other animals in your environment.

Regular Repotting

For those attempting to grow hibiscus in a pot inside the house, there are some considerations to take, such as giving it ample sunlight. In addition, it is best practice to completely clean the pot that the plant is located in to prevent the soil within from compacting and becoming nutrient deficient. 

To prevent soil issues as well as avoid your hibiscus becoming root bound, repot every 2 to 3 years.

Should I Deadhead Hibiscus?

For many plants, deadheading is necessary to both enhance aesthetics and maintain overall plant health. 

‘Deadheading’ is where the dead flower heads are cut off or pinched out at their apex, leaving the larger structure of the plant intact. 

However, it is not recommended to deadhead a hibiscus plant. Hibiscus is known as a self-cleaning plant, meaning they drop off their flower heads and grow new ones naturally. 

By deadheading a hibiscus plant, you might be preventing the bloom of the flowers or even delaying next year’s blossoming. 

Do Hibiscus Plants Come Back Every Year? 

As noted above, hibiscus plants can either be tropical or perennial. Perennial means they will return every year and bloom in their summer growing season. They only flower for a few days at most, but the radiant colors they produce are worth the wait. 

Of course, this is not the case with tropical hibiscus plants. These bloom consistently throughout the year.

What Is the Lifespan of a Hibiscus Plant?

Although the older varieties of tropical hibiscus found in Asian countries and places like Hawaii used to survive for up to fifty years, the modern house or garden hibiscus plant typically lives between five and twenty years.

This limited life span can make caring for your hibiscus a more rewarding experience – knowing that each action you take to support the health of your plant will extend its life for as long as possible.

Final Thoughts

The question of when does a hibiscus bloom comes down to the variety of hibiscus you are growing, the conditions in which it is growing, and how well it is being cared for. Perennials bloom annually whereas, tropical hibiscus keep producing flowers. 

Just how well they bloom comes down to the soil in which they are planted, making sure they receive enough sunlight and humidity, fertilizing adequately, and striking the right balance when it comes to watering. 

Getting these factors right makes for a healthier and happier hibiscus plant and one that will provide you with vibrant, show-stopping blooms.