Choose a sunny growing space in which to plant the hibiscus. In windy locations, such as areas near the coast, consider planting them near a building to block some of the wind and prevent damage to the plants.
Test the soil pH using pH testing strips. Hibiscus plants prefer soils with a slightly acidic pH, meaning that the pH should be slightly below 7.0.
Adjust the soil pH, as needed, by using lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it.
Add some organic matter, such as compost, to overly sandy or heavy clay soils. Compost improves the drainage, nutrient levels, aeration and moisture retention of any soil type. Apply at least a couple inches of compost to the surface of the soil, and use a tiller or gardening fork to mix it in to a depth of 6 inches or more. If you plan to plant hibiscus in pots, prepare by purchasing a well-drained and slightly acidic potting mixture.
Planting and Care
Dig a planting hole so that the hibiscus starter plant can sit at the same height as it sat in the starter pot. When planting multiple hibiscus, allow at least 3 feet of space between plants. The National Gardening Association recommends planting in the spring, summer or fall.
Place the starter hibiscus in the hole and fill the hole halfway with well-drained soil.
Water the hibiscus to help the soil settle around the roots.
Fill the rest of the hole in with soil, and water again to further settle the soil.
Provide the hibiscus with at least 1 inch of water per week. During rainy weather, hibiscus may not require any supplemental irrigation.
Prune away old flowers to help encourage new growth. Prune more as necessary to manage the size of the shrub.
Fertilize hibiscus during the growing season with a high-nitrogen and low-phosphorous fertilizer. The National Gardening Association recommends fertilizing twice per month during the growing season. Use up to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of growing space.
Spray the plants with horticultural oil or wash with insecticidal soaps, as needed, to remove mites and other insects.