Updated at: 28-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

One thing is for sure if you’re planning to learn how to plant bare root hibiscus- it’s not easy to handle; it requires a lot of attention for it to grow healthy. You have to consider the temperature, moisture, air circulation, and all the other factors.

Lucky for you because we have prepared 16 ways on how to plant bare root hibiscus. We assure you that all these procedures will give the best results out of your plant. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dig further.

Production Guidelines

Upon receipt, bare root Hibiscus will often have large root systems that may be too large to fit in the container they are going to be grown in.  Hibiscus from bare root is most suitable for production in two gallon or larger containers.  If the roots are too large to fit into the container they are to be grown in, the roots can be trimmed to a 3-4 inch radius or 6 to 8 inches in total width.  When potting, plant the crown of the plant so that it is just slightly below the media surface.

Succeeding with Bare Root Hibiscus | Walters Gardens, Inc.

A beautifully finished Hibiscus ‘Starry Starry Night’ flowering the first year from bare root in a 3-gal container.

Although one of the advantages of using bare root Hibiscus is the numerous shoots which emerge from the crown, the fullest and highest quality finished product is obtained by pinching them early in the production cycle.  After the emerging stems have developed at least 5 nodes, soft pinch them by removing the terminal growing point from every stem in each container, leaving 3 to 5 nodes on each stem. Pinching can be done by hand or using scissors.  Additional pinches can occur a few weeks later if more branching is desired, to shape the plants, or when growing in very large container sizes.

Bare root Hibiscus prefer to be kept consistently moist (not overly wet or overly dry) during production. Never allow them to wilt as the plants may experience lower leaf yellowing and/or flower bud abortion is likely to occur.  Due to their vigorous growing habit, Hibiscus require ample amounts of nutrients; provide 150 to 200 ppm nitrogen with every irrigation or incorporate a medium rate of a reliable controlled release fertilizer formulation at potting. The acceptable pH range is 6.0 to 6.5.  Grow Hibiscus outside in full sun or in greenhouses with high light intensities.

One of the keys to successful production is to grow Hibiscus warm.  They do not grow well with cool temperatures.  When the temperatures are below 60 to 65° F, the plants grow slowly and may appear chlorotic.  The best growth and development occurs with day temperatures above 70° F and night temperatures above 68° F. Hibiscus require long days for flowering.

Hardy Hibiscus absolutely lights up the garden in late summer and early fall. Pictured here is Hibiscus ‘Mars Madness’

Allow 12 to 14 weeks from planting to flower for two gallon crops that have been pinched once early in production when grown at the temperatures described above.  For crops that have been pinched on multiple occasions allow approximately 6 weeks from the time of the last pinch for them to reach flowering.

It may be necessary to control plant height using plant growth regulators during production.  If height control is necessary, spray applications of 5 ppm uniconazole (Concise, Sumagic), 45 ppm paclobutrazol (Bonzi, Paczol, Piccolo), or the tank mixture of 3750 ppm daminozide (B-Nine, Dazide) and chlormequat chloride (Cycocel, Citadel) can be applied.  It is best to begin PGR applications about 3 to 5 days following a pinch and reapplying them as necessary at 7 day intervals.

The most common pests to attack hardy Hibiscus are Japanese beetles, spider mites, and whiteflies.  The occurrence of plant diseases is fairly rare.  Growers should have routine scouting programs in place to help detect the presence of pests and diseases early and determine if control strategies are necessary.

16 Ways To Plant Bare Root Hibiscus

Yes, it may take a long process to plant bare root hibiscus, but it will surely be worth it. So, be patient, follow every step, and enjoy. Here are the steps on how to plant bare root hibiscus.

#1 Timing and potting

The first thing you should do once you have your bare root hibiscus is to pot them. We recommend the soil be a mixture of peat/bark soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 6.5. After potting, bring the plants outside and put them into drip irrigation.

#2 Pinching

This procedure must be done right after potting your plants. Pinch 3 to 5 nodes of the plant’s top growth. After one week, drench it entirely in 1ppm of uniconazole- a chemical that is generally used as a retardant, promoting growth.

How to Plant Bare Root Perennials

#3 Spacing

No matter what kind of plant you have, it is necessary to space them well. It might not be a problem when the plants are still little, but overcrowding in a pot will happen when it starts to grow.

Overcrowding makes the hibiscus look unattractive. Space the plants properly so it can create a well-rounded look when it grows.

#4 Temperature

Hibiscus is a kind of plant that prefers to be under the heat with an ideal temperature of 68°F and higher. Anything lower than that will result in chlorotic foliage and slower growth. That is why it is best to plant them during the summer, but regularly check up on its moisture and not let them get too much sun exposure.

#5 Moisture

What’s difficult about taking care of a bare root hibiscus is that it thrives well in hot weather, but it must always be kept moist. We advise you to use drip irrigation for easy and efficient watering over your plants. Indications of your hibiscus being too dry are having the leaves and buds turn yellow.

#6 Look out for pests and diseases

Diseases on bare root hibiscus are not often a problem since it’s quite rare to find one on them. Examples of these rare diseases are fungus and wilting of the leaves. As for pests, regularly check on your plant for sawflies, whiteflies, spiders, mites, and Japanese beetles.

#7 Use of fertilizer

Fertilizers are essential to any plant, bringing added nutrients they need to grow faster and bigger. With every irrigation, feed your bare root hibiscus with 150 to 200ppm of nitrogen, or you can also mix controlled-release fertilizer when you pot your plant.

#8 Do not force the plant

Hibiscus commonly takes quite a while for them to start flowering. Forcing this kind of plant to bloom is possible, but it is costly and causes damage in the long-run. Natural blooming is a better way to go, which happens at the beginning of midsummer.

#9 Trim roots to fit container

Bare root hibiscus has large root systems the first time you receive them, which are often too big for the ideal container of 2-gallons. You can trim down the roots to 3 to 4 inches in radius or an overall diameter of 6 to 8 inches to fix this.

It is advisable that during potting, plant the crown to make it settle below the media surface.

#10 Look out for weeds

During the growing times of your bare root hibiscus, weeds will appear quite often. It is general knowledge that weeds must not come near your plants because they steal space and nutrients for your hibiscus. Two ways to prevent this is by regular soil cultivation or applying mulch to stop the weeds’ germination.

#11 Protect plants against intense weather conditions

When your plants are newly potted and haven’t settled properly, provide them with protection against intense sunlight and extreme winds. Air circulation is good for the plant, but not too much. The same goes for lighting as it requires a healthy amount of sunlight, but not too much that it dries the plant.

#12 Apply additional mulch for colder seasons

We cannot disregard those who live in colder regions, who want to plant their bare-root hibiscus. That is why we have this advice ready for you.

Applying a layer of 1 to 2 inches worth of mulch during the cold autumn season will give added protection to your plant. When springtime comes, you can remove the mulch and let it grow as usual.

#13 The flowers only last one day

Many of you may not be aware, but hibiscus flowers have a life span of one day before they fall off. But, do not worry because plenty more will grow back quickly. We wanted to add this tip to not be concerned if the flowers fall after a day and think you may have done something wrong in growing them.

#14 Discard foliage

In the autumn season, hard frost often happens, and this can affect your bare root hibiscus. After the frost, you must take out and discard the foliage in your plants.

#15 Pruning

Bare root hibiscus does not need pruning but, if you want to shape your plant, then you may do so. We encourage you to prune in the early summer at the time the hibiscus starts growing. Pruning helps in the plant’s branching and development of more flower stalks.

#16 Divide plants when they become overcrowded

There are tendencies that your plants overcrowd as it grows, even when you thought you have properly spaced them. The best way to deal with this is by dividing your plant in the early spring. Once you’ve divided your hibiscus, you can replant them once you’ve taken out into a different pot.

Cottage Farms Iconic Jumbo Hardy Hibiscus Duo on QVC - YouTube

Cultural Recommendations


Hibiscus require ample amounts of fertilizer to support its fast growth rate. Feed plants with a constant liquid feed of 150-200ppm nitrogen at every irrigation or incorporate a medium rate of controlled release fertilizer at potting. An EC rate of 2.5-3.5 using the pour-though method is best.


It is very critical that you never let Hibiscus dry out. Yellowing leaves and buds, and the ensuing leaf and bud drop, indicate that the plants are too dry. Drip irrigation is highly recommended.


Hibiscus requires very high light intensities to initiate flower production and to produce the proper foliage pigmentation. ‘Berry Awesome’ will be greener if grown indoors under UV inhibitor plastic, but will develop rich, olive green foliage when grown outdoors. Grow Hibiscus in full sun outdoors or if necessary, in greenhouses with very high light intensities. Long days are required for flowering.


Hibiscus is a crop that must be grown warm and thrives in heat—ideal temperatures are 68°F or higher. Cool temperatures will result in very slow growth and chlorotic foliage. Growing plants outdoors in summer is ideal as long as they can be kept moist.

Finished Hibiscus plants are an absolute showstopper at retail with big, tropical-looking blooms

Pests and Diseases

The most common pests to attack Hibiscus are Japanese beetles, sawflies, spider mites, and whiteflies. Scout regularly for pests. Plant diseases are quite rare on this crop.

Finishing Tips

Pinching & PGR’s

After potting, pinch the top growth back once to 3-5 nodes. Drench the entire plant with 1ppm uniconazole (Sumagic) one week after pinching. Allow 6 weeks from the time of the last pinch to flower. Spacing plants very well is essential to creating well-rounded finished plants.


Forcing is not recommended for Hibiscus as they require long days for flowering, and it is costly to force them into bloom. It is recommended that growers allow these plants to flower naturally beginning in midsummer to maintain their margin on the crop.

Flowering Characteristics

Besides the benefits of using bare root plants, growers should consider the type of flowering each cultivar offers as not all Hibiscus are created equal.  There are two types of flowering habits: ‘determinate’ and ‘indeterminate’.  Cultivars with ‘determinate’ flowering develop flower buds near the terminal shoot and ‘indeterminate’ varieties develop flower buds at the nodes along much of the stem as well as near the terminal shoots.  Therefore, ‘indeterminate’ cultivars produce more flowers and bloom considerably longer than ‘determinate’ varieties.

Most of the older genetics on the market are ‘determinate’ bloomers with flowers lasting for approximately one month during the summer.  All of the new Walters Gardens introductions are ‘indeterminate’ bloomers and flower consistently for 2 to 3 months or even longer.


Bare root hibiscus is a plant that is most often used for beautification in events or inside homes. That is why people who grow them take extra care of them. All these 16 ways on how to plant bare-root hibiscus are essential. We assure you that following them will give you the most beautiful and healthy one among all others.