Hibiscus: Same Pot for 2-3 years. Is this restricting growth and why it looks so bad this year?

Jim Ginas
by Jim Ginas
2 years ago, LOTS of flowers EVERY DAY. I would look out to the pool and new blooms everyday. Last year, hardly any, this year, ONLY 1 so far! I think the Pot is too small and restricting growth. What else do I need to do?
NOT healthy, not flowering.
  14 answers
  • Sara C Sara C on May 31, 2012
    I think you are right. It's probably root bound. Take it out of the pot and plant that puppy in the ground with lots of organic matter. It's early yet so you might get some rebound this season. Let the winter kill it off, cut it down to the ground and do it all over again next year. At least that's what we do here in N FL.
  • Rejeana C Rejeana C on May 31, 2012
    Definately need bigger pot and soil.
  • Donna McCrummen Donna McCrummen on May 31, 2012
    I'm not sure hibiscus is perennial in your area. Where are the hometalking gardeners?
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on May 31, 2012
    @ Shabby: one of my fav girls just moved to Little Falls, NJ! close by your area. (Maryland girl, Mrytle Beach, SC, now Little Falls!) I'm originally from LI.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 01, 2012
    Jim, the easiest way to find out about the roots is just to give a tug and pull the plant out of the pot. I do question the hardiness of hibiscus where you are. Do you bring the plant inside for the winter, or is that a perennial hibiscus?
    • Cathy Conran-Warmels Cathy Conran-Warmels on May 16, 2016
      @Douglas Hunt I just potted a Hibiscus that is hardy in the zone 5 area of Michigan. the reason I potted it is that I wanted the height in the garden. Do I just leave it in the pot in the same area or should I bring it into the garage after a frost in the fall? I really look forward to your advise Doug.
  • Friend, you need a bigger pot, Miracle Gro Moisture Control soil and azalea fertilizer, also add 3 Tbs bone meal and 3 Tbs chelated iron. never allow a hibiscus to dry out or it will go yellow on you.
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Jun 01, 2012
    @ Garden: thank you, copied & pasted to my phone so I can get all that today! (bigger pot, Miracle Gro Moisture Control soil, azalea fertilizer, bone meal, 3 Tbs chelated iron) @ Doug: we bring them into the sunroom in late fall (heated by 3 vents-house room temp, all windows and plenty of sun.) not sure if it is a perrenial hibiscuc. Wife had one we kept in the living room and we had that for 7-10 years now, grows flowers throughout the year, winter included. In-fact she made me bring it when we moved from southern MD to here 4+ years ago!
  • Connie Connie on Sep 04, 2014
    Notice the twisted trunk ? Hibiscus doesn't come like that. It looks like it could be a Rose of Sharon- multi colored. I have one of those in my front yard that's doing gr8 ! Oh wow this question was from 2012 ?? why do they keep these questions on here so long ????
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Sep 04, 2014
      @Connie They definitely are Hibiscus. Had a local Gardening center here and confirmed the care of our plants, each are different as they were planning new shrubs and trees to provide a wall behind the back yard and to compliment what we had behind the pool. Plus we bought them ourselves.
  • This is a houseplant or tropical hibiscus and in our zone it will need to be brought inside. One thing about tropicals in my experience is that they do not like to be moved around, dried, out, in the wind or drafts,or their leaves get wet. I have 2 of them that are full and loaded with blooms again and i only repot to a pot about 2" larger than what you have. If you go too large of a pot then the plant will spend more time growing roots and not growing on top. A plant that is root bound will be tight roots and the roots will be coming out of the pot! A plant can be top heavy without being 'root bound'. I use fish fertilizer when I remember. I found that they like bright indirect light or in my case a light filtered shade under my Oaks. This will come back next year but as Douglas states check to see if the roots are tightly bound which I think they are not in that case leave the plant in that pot. I see no yellowing of leaves and they appear to be green. Get some fish fertilizer at Lowe's or Home Depot and water it and other plants with that. Bring it in about October (mine are brought in when the weather gets to about 40+ at night). When you bring it in I have to warn you the leaves will fall off and it will look pathetic. I overwinter my ferns and tropicals in the garage and water about once a week so it goes somewhat dormant. If you bring in the house treat it as a house plant and put in a southern window and water a couple times a week but not let it get too wet. Hope this info helps.
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Sep 24, 2014
    so 2 years later and AGAIN all they Hibiscus outgrew their pots - ROOTBOUND for sure! We bought new really large pots for bringing them in for winter. LOTS of beautiful leaves and flowers this year, so we are excited to see with new larger pots again, how next spring/summer works out!
  • Joyce.palumbo Joyce.palumbo on Sep 26, 2014
    I live in northeast wisconsin. I have a braided hibiscus tree planted in a large pot. I had it on my front porch and it bloomed all summer. When it got colder I brought it into the house, now all the leaves are falling off. What can I do ? Joyce
    • See 2 previous
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Apr 30, 2016
      @Gabrielle Falk Perfect! thank you! Our problem is the Hibiscus can't live in the soil in the winter here.... I think..... may have to try that, but I assume the winter in my zone will kill them, so we are stuck with pots and bring them in during the winter/early spring months, they continue growing and eventually become root bound.
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Sep 27, 2014
    Joyce, The plant will readjust and after a few weeks, grow back new leaves. We do the same, we always bring ours in, place near a window and they actually blossom flowers during the winter too. Not sure if that is healthy for these plants as I know some say they should go dormant, but in southern states they bloom year round, so I don't know. We do the same and they have always done well year round. (OUR issue is changing to bigger pots again this year, and I clipped back the branches as they were getting too big for the inside and to keep them shaped.
    • See 1 previous
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Oct 05, 2014
      @Joyce.palumbo if you bring it in, it will live. Will go into shock for a couple/few weeks, then start adjusting, then new leaves and will be fine. Once you bring it back out next year, and definitely harden them until consistent warm (like mid-70s or higher..... don't rush them back out....
  • Pat769509 Pat769509 on Mar 16, 2015
    plant this perennial in the ground, definetly should be taken out of the pot. The leaves fall off because it's in the dormat period.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Mar 18, 2015
      @Pattyandal Hi Patty. Our problem the last few years is winter has been so harsh in terms of temps dropping below Zero (this year sub-teens!), the freeze would kil the plants. They have been doing pretty decent since we've replanted in new soil and bigger pots. Thank you for your note.
  • Maria Maria on May 12, 2016
    Put it in the ground and watch it grow.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on May 12, 2016
      @Maria had the SAME exact thought, THOUGH with our climate, my concern is the sub-freezing temps in Winter will kill them.