Information about Our Plants

What are Pot Sizes?

Plants in 4" Pots
The 4" pots contain baby plants, 1-2 feet tall, that have developed a good root system and are actively growing from one main stem. They are 4-8 months old, well established in the pot, but not yet blooming. They usually do best if transplanted to a larger pot a few weeks after arrival. The 4" pots we use are deeper than most pots called 4", which provide for a stronger root system that gives the plants a headstart when transplanting to larger pots. These are our youngest and smallest plants, but in good conditions they will grow rapidly and bloom in 3-6 months. They are the most cost-effective way to build a collection of hibiscus, but require more attention and the patience to wait for flowers.

Plants in 6" Pots
The 6" pots contain plants that are 1-2 years old and 2-4 feet tall. These plants have very well developed root systems and multiple stems. In many cases they ship with buds already showing and will bloom within 1 month or sooner. These plants cost more than the smaller pots, but assure you a strong, well developed plant that will bloom your first summer. Transplanting this size is up to you. If you need a smaller potted plant, you may leave the hibiscus in its original pot. Or if you prefer, it can be moved to a larger pot or even planted in the ground in warm locations. This size pot is the fastest way to acquire a strong, blooming hibiscus.

Plants in 2-Gallon Pots
Due to the high cost of shipping, we rarely sell plants in 2-gallon pots now. Occasionally if we have a surplus, we will sell a few. They are 2-4 years old, 3-4 feet tall, with great root systems and sturdy, multi-stemmed tops. They can be kept in the pots or planted in the ground in warm locations. They almost always ship with buds and bloom within a month of arrival, often much earlier. This size also survives the winter months with the least risk since older hibiscus have thicker, woodier main stems that are able to withstand cooler temperatures, although no tropical hibiscus can survive exposure to long freezing nights.

How Big will They be at Maturity?

Most of our hibiscus will mature quickly to a height of 4-6 feet and a width of 3-4 feet. With good nutrition and optimal climate, if planted in the ground, they can eventually grow as tall as 10-16 feet and as wide as 4-6 feet. This is what we refer to as a "medium-sized bush", the typical size at maturity for most of the hibiscus we grow.

If we describe a hibiscus variety as "large, tall, fast-growing, or vigorous," you can expect it to grow very quickly to 6-8 feet in height and 4-5 feet in width. These larger varieties, with optimal nutrition and climate, growing in the ground, can fully mature at 15-20 feet in height and 5-6 feet in width.

If we describe a hibiscus variety as "small or compact," you can expect it to stay under 3-4 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width for the life of the plant, although occasional pruning of stray branches may be required.

All hibiscus can be pruned to be kept somewhat smaller than their maximum size, although we do not recommend heavy pruning to try to force a very large hibiscus to stay very small. It is better to select a hibiscus that more-or-less fits the size bush you would like to have at maturity.

Where Can These Hibiscus Be Grown?

All hibiscus sold by HVH are tropical species and cannot tolerate long nights in freezing weather. Suitable areas for outdoor cultivation year round are South Florida, South Louisiana, South Texas, South Coastal California and Hawaii. For other areas the plants will need to be moved inside the house, garage, or greenhouse on any night that a freeze is expected. We find that our house with its large windows provides plenty of warmth and light for our potted hibiscus in the winter. Many hibiscus enthusiasts add a small greenhouse to their property which is also ideal for over-wintering and extending the season. In a pinch, hibiscus in pots can be laid on their sides and covered with suitable material to get them through a quick cold snap. Some in colder climates find the flowers so enjoyable that they buy fresh new plants every spring and treat them as annuals.

Why Do Flower Colors Change?

Hibiscus flowers are very sensitive to influences of weather. How they are grown also makes a difference. Warmer weather brings out spots and other secondary colors on many of the varieties. For instance, red flowers with gold or white markings often appear as solid reds in early spring, but by mid-summer will become fascinating canvases of red, painted exuberantly with the other colors. By late fall, the markings will disappear again until temperatures warm up. The cool temperatures of fall also bring a deepening of the oranges and reds and purples. A flower that was light lavender with white spots in summer, may become a solid medium purple in cooler weather. Some flowers are impervious to changes in temperature and are easily recognized year round. Others change so dramatically they can hardly be identified in winter.

Some hibiscus fade dramatically. Others hold color all the way until they fold up and drop off the plant. Fading can provide pleasing effects with some varieties which start of with hot tropical colors and soften to beautiful pastel colors. Some flowers look their best with their bright opening colors but some look better with their softened colors. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but one thing is for sure: these new hibiscus will always put on a fascinating and ever-changing show! That is their charm.

Where Can I Find Information on How to Care for Exotic Hibiscus?

We have an extensive Hibiscus Care section of our website where you can find all the information you need to keep your hibiscus happy, growing, and blooming. Bookmark this page, or look for it in the navigation column at the bottom of every page on our website.