How To Grow Hibiscus From Cuttings (The Easy Way)

How To Grow Hibiscus From Cuttings (The Easy Way)

Growing hibiscus from cuttings is a relatively simple and effective way to propagate these beautiful flowering plants into new hibiscus plants. In this article, we’ll cover a step-by-step guide how to propagate hibiscus from cutting and talk about tips for success.

(Featured Image: Coral Hibiscus from Cutting by E. VanElst)

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How To Propagate Hibiscus From Cuttings

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Healthy mother hibiscus plant to take stem cuttings from (see recommendations below)
  2. Sharp, clean pruning shears or scissors (I am in love with these power pruners by Fiskars)
  3. Rooting medium (I prefer powdered rooting hormone, like Take Root by Garden Safe)
  4. Small pots or containers with drainage holes (I use these reusable seed and root starting pots by Bootstrap Farmer)
  5. Well-draining potting mix
  6. Clear plastic bags or plastic wrap
  7. Rubber bands or plant ties
  8. Watering can or spray bottle
  9. A warm, bright location with indirect sunlight

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  1. Choose the right time: The best time to take hibiscus cuttings is in the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Choose a mother plant with stems that are about 4-6 inches long and have several healthy leaves. Avoid taking cuttings from young plants that have just been planted.
  2. Prepare the cuttings: Using clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors, cut healthy stems just below a leaf node (the place where leaves are attached to the stem). Use a diagonal cut to ensure water can run off the cut end. Remove any flowers or flower buds, as these can divert energy away from root development. You can take several healthy cuttings from a single plant.
  3. Optional: Apply rooting hormone: Dip the cut end of each hibiscus cutting into a rooting hormone powder or gel. This will help stimulate root growth. Be sure to follow the instructions on the rooting hormone packaging.
  4. Prepare the pots: Fill a plastic nursery pot or container with a well-draining potting mix. Water the soil thoroughly and let it drain.
  5. Plant the cuttings: Insert the cut end of each hibiscus cutting into the prepared potting mix. Make a small hole in the soil with a pencil or similar tool to minimize damage to the cutting. Plant the cutting deep enough so that at least one leaf node is buried beneath the soil.
  6. Water and cover: Water the cuttings lightly after planting to settle the soil around them. Then, cover the pots with clear plastic bags or plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse environment. Use rubber bands or plant ties to secure the plastic around the pot.
  7. Provide the right environment: Place the pots in a warm, bright location with indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can overheat the cuttings inside the plastic bags. Maintain a temperature between 70-80°F.
  8. Maintain humidity: To keep the humidity levels high inside the plastic bags, you may need to mist the cuttings with water daily or every few days.
  9. Monitor growth: Check the cuttings regularly for signs of new growth and root development. This may take several weeks to a few months. Once the cutting roots and has grown a few inches, you can remove the plastic cover and transplant them into larger pots or your garden.
  10. Transplant: When the hibiscus cuttings have grown enough to be self-sustaining, carefully transplant them into your desired outdoor location or larger pots filled with well-draining soil.

Remember that not all cuttings will successfully root, so it’s a good idea to take more than you need to ensure success. Additionally, be patient, as growing hibiscus from cuttings can take some time. With proper care, you can enjoy beautiful hibiscus plants in your garden or home.

Light pink hibiscus grown from a cutting.

When Is The Best Time To Take Hibiscus Cuttings?

The best time to take hibiscus cuttings is during the active growing season, which is typically in the spring or early summer. This is when hibiscus plants are actively producing new growth, and they are more likely to root successfully from cuttings. Here are some more specific guidelines:

1. Spring

Early to mid-spring is an excellent time to take hibiscus cuttings. As the weather starts to warm up, hibiscus plants begin to produce new shoots and leaves. This period provides the ideal conditions for healthy, vigorous cuttings.

2. Early Summer

If you miss the spring window, you can still take cuttings in early summer. At this time, hibiscus plants are still actively growing, and the weather is warm. Just be sure to take your cuttings before the peak of summer heat sets in.

Taking cuttings during these periods increases the chances of success because the plant’s growth hormones are more active, and the cuttings are more likely to develop roots and establish themselves as new plants. Remember to choose healthy, disease-free stems for your cuttings, and provide the appropriate care to encourage root development, as outlined in the previous response on how to grow hibiscus from cuttings.

How To Protect Hibiscus Cuttings From Pests & Diseases

Protecting your hibiscus plants from pests and diseases requires a combination of preventive measures and timely interventions when issues arise. Here are some steps you can take to keep your hibiscus healthy:

1. Choose Resistant Varieties: Select hibiscus varieties that are known for their resistance to common pests and diseases, as some cultivars have natural defenses.

2. Proper Planting: Plant hibiscus in well-draining soil and provide adequate spacing between plants to promote good air circulation.

3. Watering: Water hibiscus at the base of the plant and avoid overhead watering to reduce humidity and prevent fungal diseases. Water in the morning to allow the foliage to dry during the day.

4. Pruning: Regularly prune your hibiscus to remove dead or diseased branches and improve air circulation within the plant.

5. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and prevent weeds that may harbor pests.

6. Fertilization: Fertilize your hibiscus with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth and overall vigor. Avoid excessive nitrogen, which can make the plant more susceptible to pests and diseases.

7. Inspect Regularly: Regularly inspect your hibiscus plants for signs of disease or signs of pests. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.

8. Handpick Pests: If you spot insects like aphids or caterpillars, remove them by hand or spray them off with a strong stream of water.

9. Beneficial Insects: Encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that feed on common hibiscus pests.

10. Neem Oil: Neem oil is an organic pesticide that can help control a variety of pests. Apply it as directed on the product label.

11. Fungicides: If fungal diseases like powdery mildew or black spot are a recurring issue, consider using fungicides labeled for hibiscus and follow the application instructions carefully.

12. Prune Infected Areas: If you notice diseased portions of the plant, prune them away promptly, and dispose of the infected material in the trash, not the compost pile.

13. Quarantine New Plants: If you introduce new hibiscus plants to your garden, isolate them for a period to ensure they are pest and disease-free before planting them near established hibiscus.

14. Clean Tools: Disinfect your gardening tools, especially if you’ve been working with infected plants, to prevent the spread of disease.

Remember that prevention is often more effective than treatment. Regular maintenance and monitoring can help keep your hibiscus plants healthy and minimize the risk of pests and diseases. If problems persist or worsen despite your efforts, consider consulting with a local nursery or garden center for advice on specific issues in your region.

White hibiscus with hot pink middle grown from a cutting taken in the spring.

What Regions Can Grow Hibiscus Outdoors?

Hibiscus is a versatile plant that can be grown outdoors in various regions, but its hardiness and ability to thrive depend on the specific species or cultivar of hibiscus and the local climate conditions. Here are some general guidelines for different regions:

Tropical and Subtropical Regions:

Hibiscus plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions, so they thrive in areas with warm temperatures year-round. In these regions, you can grow both tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) and hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) varieties. Examples of such regions include:

  • Southeast Asia
  • South Florida
  • Caribbean Islands
  • Hawaii

Mediterranean and Coastal Regions

Hibiscus can do well in areas with mild, frost-free winters and warm summers. Coastal regions with a Mediterranean climate often provide suitable conditions for growing hibiscus. Examples of such regions include:

  • Southern California
  • Southern Spain
  • Coastal areas of southern Australia

Temperate Regions

In temperate regions with colder winters, some hibiscus varieties can still be grown outdoors, but they may require special care to protect them from frost. These varieties are typically known as hardy hibiscus plants and can tolerate cooler temperatures than tropical hibiscus plants. Examples of such regions include:

  • Parts of the southern United States (e.g., USDA hardiness zones 7-9)
  • Parts of Europe with milder climates
  • Southern Japan

Cold Climates

There are a handful of varieties of hibiscus that can be grown in colder regions of the United States and Europe. These varieties have been bred for their ability to survive during harsh winters and come back each spring.

Tips For Success

Before planting hibiscus outdoors, it’s essential to consider the specific requirements of the hibiscus variety you intend to grow and the local climate conditions. Some hibiscus varieties are more cold-hardy than others, so selecting the right one for your region is crucial for successful outdoor cultivation. Additionally, provide proper care, including watering, fertilization, and pruning, to ensure your hibiscus thrives in its specific environment.

Cold Hardy Hibiscus Varieties

Not all types of hibiscus plants can be grown in colder climates. These are the best varieties of cold hardy hibiscus plants:

Midnight Marvel hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella ‘Midnight Marvel’) is a stunning and visually striking deciduous perennial plant known for its dark, almost black, burgundy foliage that adds dramatic contrast to the garden. This cultivar typically grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet and produces vibrant, scarlet-red, funnel-shaped flowers that appear from midsummer to early fall, creating a striking contrast against its dark foliage.

Midnight Marvel hibiscus is both an attractive ornamental and a favorite of pollinators, making it a beautiful and beneficial addition to garden landscapes, particularly in regions with warm summers and chilly winters.

To view purchasing options and see more photos of Midnight Marvel Hibiscus plants, click here!

Bright red flowers against dark foliage create a beautiful contrast in this hibiscus plant grown from cuttings.

Azurri Blue Satin (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Azurri Blue Satin’) is a captivating deciduous shrub renowned for its elegant, sky-blue, double-blooms with ruffled petals that adorn its branches throughout the summer months. This particular Rose of Sharon cultivar typically reaches a mature height of 8 to 12 feet, making it an ideal choice for hedges, screens, or as a standalone ornamental focal point in gardens.

Beyond its show-stopping flowers, Azurri Blue Satin offers a relatively low-maintenance addition to the landscape, with good drought tolerance once established and the ability to thrive in a range of soil types and climates, suitable for USDA hardiness zones 5 and above.

To view more photos and purchasing options for the Azurri Blue Satin Rose of Sharon, click here!

A purple hibiscus with large blooms that was grown from a hibiscus cutting.

Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus ‘Blue Brulee’

Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus ‘Blue Brulee’ (Hibiscus ‘Blue Brulee’) is an exceptional cold-hardy perennial known for its stunning and unique coloration. This cultivar features large, showy blossoms with striking blue-violet petals that gradually deepen in color as they age, creating a captivating ombre effect. ‘Blue Brulee’ typically grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet and is adorned with attractive, deeply lobed green foliage that adds to its visual appeal.

As a hardy hibiscus, it is well-suited to withstand colder temperatures and is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 4 and above, making it a remarkable addition to gardens seeking both vibrant color and resilience in cooler climates.

Click here to view purchasing options and more photos of Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus ‘Blue Brulee’!

A purple hibiscus grown from cuttings that were propagated over the winter months and transplanted in the spring.

Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus ‘Blue Brulee’

Aphrodite Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’) is a striking deciduous shrub renowned for its luxurious, large, and brilliantly pink, double blooms that grace its branches from late summer through early fall. This Rose of Sharon cultivar typically matures to a height of 8 to 12 feet, presenting a lush and vibrant display of color in the garden.

With its attractive, dark green foliage and vigorous growth habit, Aphrodite is a favorite choice for hedges, screens, or as a standalone ornamental shrub. As a cold-hardy plant, it thrives in USDA hardiness zones 5 and above, making it an excellent option for gardeners seeking long-lasting, colorful flowers in their landscapes.

To view more photos and see purchasing options for Aphrodite Rose of Sharon, click here!

Aphrodite rose of sharon hibiscus plant grown from a small cutting taken in the spring of the year.

Can You Grow Hibiscus Indoors?

In regions with harsh winters or climates not conducive to hibiscus growth, hibiscus can also be grown as indoor houseplants in regions where outdoor cultivation is not practical due to climate conditions. With indoor hibiscus, you can control the temperature and protect them from frost.

You can also enjoy hibiscus plants by growing them in greenhouses or containers in regions where outdoor cultivation is not practical due to climate conditions. Provide them with bright, indirect sunlight and maintain a consistent indoor temperature.

Learn More About Gardening Indoors

Hibiscus cuttings are a great plant to cut in the summer and bring indoors over the winter months. No only can you provide a more controlled environment for your cuttings indoors, but it will also add brightness and light to your home. An indoor home garden the easiest way to continue to practice your green thumb through the cold weather. For other tips and methods of bringing your garden indoors this winter, check out these related guides!

Small cutting grow into a large hot pink hibiscus.