perennial hibiscus

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Are you wondering if hibiscus plants are perennials or annuals? Well, if you are, you’re not alone. Many people tell me they’ve been told that hibiscus flowers are annuals. Others say they’ve been told the opposite.

It also took me a while to find out.

What Is A Perennial Shrub?

A perennial plant blooms year after year. The first year it may put out only leaves, but from the second year on it will produce flowers as well.

When a perennial is cut back to the ground at the end of the season, it will produce new growth from that very same base.

In most cases, perennials will die back to their root systems during the winter and begin growing again in the spring.

What Is An Annual Shrub?

Annual shrubs live for only one season and must be replanted every year. An annual plant produces flowers for one season only. After that season is over, the plant will die and not come back again next year.

Is Hibiscus A Perennial Plant?

There are two varieties of hibiscus plants hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. Both the varieties are perennial but in different zones. Tropical hibiscus only acts as perennials in zone 9-11, whereas hardy hibiscus can survive as perennials in zones 4-8.

Although it is a perennial, some varieties of hibiscus are also grown as annuals.

What About Annual Hibiscus:

Contrary to the popular belief, there is no true annual hibiscus. They are tropical and can be grown as annuals in slightly cooler climates.

Hardy Hibiscus:

The hardy variety of Hibiscus is a perennial that can survive in cold climates,

The Hardy Hibiscus is not a plant that you will see in many gardens, but it is an extremely large hibiscus, attaining heights of 8 feet or more. The flowers can be as big as 10 inches in diameter, and the leaves can be as big as 1 foot across.

Hardy Hibiscus is a very hardy plant and blooms from mid-summer to early fall.

Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) and Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) are smaller shrubs. they die back to the ground in winter and regrow in the spring.

Are Dahlias Annuals Or Perennials?
Are Dahlias Annuals Or Perennials?

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a huge shrub and interestingly it doesn’t die back to the ground in winter. The plant produces lots of small flowers.

Tropical Hibiscus:

Tropical Hibiscus is often grown as an annual because it doesn’t do well in cold winters. You can grow tropical Hibiscus in warmer areas from zones 9, to 11.

Tropical Hibiscus will not tolerate winter temperatures below 40 degrees. So you have to bring the plant indoors before the first frost.

Tropical hibiscus does best when grown in warm climates. so if you live in a warmer climate a hibiscus plant will act as a perennial plant.

Which type of Hibiscus is hardy and which one isn’t?

How Do You Grow Tropical Hibiscus?

If you live in colder regions you can grow tropical hibiscus as annuals.

You can also try to grow the plant in containers. so that you can bring them inside during the winter unless you live in an extremely warm climate.

we have a detailed post on how to grow tropical hibiscus or Hibiscus rosa-sinesis in your garden check that out for more information.

How Do You Grow Hardy or Perennial Hibiscus?

  • The tree needs at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. make sure there are no large tree or overhead plants nearby.
  • Use an all purpose fertilizer like this one to feed your perennial tree.
  • Water the tree twice a week Initially once the tree establishes itself, water once every week. first allow the soil to dry up and then water thoroughly.
  • If your place is very windy, don’t forget to protect the plant fro strong winds.
  • Prune your perennial hibiscus tree regularly it will encourage growth.
  • Some perennial hibiscus will die back to the ground in the winter season, wait for it to return in the late spring. once you see new growth, start feeding and watering the tree.


Hibiscus are tropical plants and are commonly grown as annuals except in very warm climates. When grown as an annual they will typically bloom until the first frost of fall and can reach 10-12′ tall.

If you live in a very warm climate, such as a coastal southern state, you may be able to grow them as perennials.

You can keep tropical hibiscus alive through the winter if you live in a warmer climate or if you bring it inside and nurture it through cold weather.

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