7 Tips To For The Right Hibiscus Fertilizer Choices

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With the right type of Hibiscus fertilizer and the right Hibiscus care, your plants will grow vigorously and produce a great many large and beautiful flowers. 

These flowering plants are what you imagine when you daydream of lying by the pool on your patio in Florida.

Beautiful red hibiscus flowerPin
Rich red Hibiscus blooms

They have dark green leaves with pink, yellow, orange, lavender, red, white, or bi-color flowers. The key to successful tropical Hibiscus flowers is to feed regularly and correctly.

Doing so promotes bright colors and strong wood to support the plants’ heavy and copious blooms. 

This article shares advice for choosing or making just the right fertilizer to support your tropical Hibiscus plants.

#1 – What’s The Best Kind Of Soil For Hibiscus?

The best soil to plant Hibiscus is a light, airy mixture consisting mostly of non-nutritive substances such as perlite, coco coir, composted bark, and peat moss.

Don’t forget to amend the soil with manure or compost for additional vitamins and minerals.

Potting mix mediums provide little or no nourishment.

Their main purpose is to keep the root system in place and moist. For this reason, vigilance and fertilizing hibiscus should be your top priority.

What is the best fertilizer for hibiscus?

The best fertilizer for hibiscus plants depends on the specific needs of the plant and the growing conditions.

Hibiscus generally benefits from a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 blend.

A slow-release fertilizer can also be beneficial for sustained feeding.

#2 – What Combination or Blend of Nutrients Should Be In Hibiscus Fertilizer?

Hibiscus plants are heavy feeders, especially when planted in pots during their active growth. So, it’s important to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth with hibiscus food.

Potassium is the most important nutrient for a Hibiscus plant.

Related: What does potassium do for plants?

Pink hibiscus flowers with raindrops.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @urbanizedgarden

It’s fundamental in the overall functioning of every aspect of the plant’s metabolism and growth.

Potassium provides essential support for photosynthesis, which is the plants’ means of transforming sunlight into sugars, which plants need as nourishment.

Every part of the hibiscus plant, from roots to stems to blossoms, relies on potassium and the photosynthesis it enables.

Potassium is also key to delivering water to every part of the plant.

A plant with high potassium in its system has healthy, well-hydrated, plump individual cells throughout.

This results in a beautiful, lush, disease, and drought-resistant plant.

Potassium is a key player in every kind of transport in plants.

It helps move chemicals, nutrients, and plant food throughout the system.

It does this by functioning as floating, free ions, moving through the plant system, locking onto chemicals and other necessary substances, and carrying them where they are needed.

Stressed plants lose free-floating potassium ions easily, so they must be replaced frequently.

Some sources of stress include:

  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Heavy Blooming
  • Drought

Nitrogen is the second most important nutrient for Hibiscus plants.

All plants make good use of nitrogen within their chlorophyll, enzymes, and proteins.

It is an extremely important aspect of the metabolic processes of plants.

Finding the precise middle range of nitrogen to support your plants’ growth and metabolism without causing problems is very important.

A lack of nitrogen causes stunted and halted plant growth, but excessive amounts of nitrogen can cause fertilizer burn, which manifests as dark brown, crispy leaf edges.

Watch carefully for signs of fertilizer burn caused by nitrogen.

If you see the leaf edges beginning to brown:

  • Stop fertilizing for a minimum of 2 weeks.
  • Use clean, pure water during this time.
  • Rainwater or filtered water is best.
  • When you start fertilizing again, use a weakened solution.
  • Reduce how much fertilizer you’ve been using by half, and keep a close eye on your plants for new signs of fertilizer burn.

If you see burn again, repeat this purification process and continue reducing the amount of fertilizer you use until you have arrived at a safe formulation.

Phosphorous is the third most important Hibiscus nutrient.

Although phosphorus fertilizer is often a major element in commercial fertilizers formulated for blooming, it’s a mistake to give Hibiscus a lot of phosphorous.

Contrary to its usual effect on plants, phosphorus can cause Hibiscus plants to go into overall decline.

Excessive phosphorus will stunt new growth and cause yellow leaves and the dropping of leaves.

Neglecting your plant care will bring a complete stop to blooming.

If a Hibiscus is given too much phosphorous for an extended period, it will eventually die.

#3 – How Can You Determine The Amount Of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, And Potassium In Your Fertilizer?

Look at the three numbers on the label of the fertilizer bag you are considering.

These three numbers are called the NPK numbers, whether that’s balanced organic or slow-release liquid fertilizer or not.

This stands for the chemical names for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Be sure to read labels carefully because these numbers can appear in different orders or may refer to different ingredients in fertilizers coming from countries other than the United States.

Balanced fertilizer has all three numbers the same.

This is not what you want.

A balanced fertilizer will have too little potassium and too much phosphorus to keep tropical plants healthy.

When you are choosing the best hibiscus fertilizer, look for one with a medium amount of nitrogen, a low amount of phosphorus, and a high amount of potassium.

According to professional Hibiscus growers, Hibiscus does best with a fertilizer formulation ratio of 3 -1 – 4.

This is an average amount of nitrogen, a low amount of phosphorus, and a high amount of potassium.

If you cannot find this exact hibiscus fertilizer ratio, always adjust the formulation yourself to prevent any deficiency.

Each of the key ingredients can be purchased individually, and always dilute your fertilizer to reduce the overall amount of nutrition.

#4 – What Else Should A Good Hibiscus Fertilizer Contain?

There are also minor or trace elements included in a good Hibiscus fertilizer formula.

Look for small amounts of iron, magnesium, and copper.

They should be a time-release fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizer form that you apply through late summer or early fall.

A common mistake novice hibiscus growers make is to use “Bloom Booster” fertilizers.

Certain versions of miracle-gro are acceptable.

HibisGain has a perfect mix for your Hibiscus if you’re looking at multiple solutions.

You can also use granules, a slow-release fertilizer that can be applied during the early summer or early winter.

#5 – Is It Alright To Use Discount Fertilizer?

Understand it’s always better to invest in a high-quality fertilizer than to purchase a large amount of bargain-basement fertilizer.

Cheap fertilizers typically do not dissolve thoroughly in water and may wash away before your plant can absorb them.

Plant care and blooming yellow hibiscus.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @gardening_niti

Cheaper formulations may contain chemicals damaging to Hibiscus houseplants.

Avoid formulations providing minerals in a chloride form, especially.

Many cheap fertilizers use chloride forms, but understanding this results in dosing your plant with chlorine.

This is extremely damaging to Hibiscus. Repeated use will eventually kill your plant.

#6 – How Often Should Hibiscus Be Fertilized?

You must fertilize your Hibiscus plant lightly and frequently.

Following the weekly practice often used for orchids may be a good idea for Hibiscus.

Ideally, you should fertilize weekly during the plant’s growing season and not fertilize at all during the two coldest months of the year in your area.

When the weather begins to warm up, start fertilizing again gradually.

Use a weak solution once every two weeks.

When early spring has arrived, begin fully fertilizing again.

In full sun, they require more.

Continue through the blooming season in autumn and then reduce fertilizing as the weather cools.

If you are fertilizing once a week and are using a specially formulated Hibiscus fertilizer, safely follow packaging instructions.

If you are making do with a type of fertilizer not specially formulated for Hibiscus, you may wish to dilute it by half, watch the results, and increase or decrease accordingly.

During feedings, watch for aphids on hibiscus and spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, and pink hibiscus mealybug.

Learn details on getting rid of:

These pests will ruin your Hibiscus flower buds and mess up your hard work.

Prune away any infected areas and use standard pest control practices to save your plant before continuing your fertilizer routine.

#7 – What’s The Best Way To Fertilize Hibiscus?

If your Chinese Hibiscus or Texas Star coccineus hibiscus plants are outdoors in the ground, use a fertilizer injector attached to your watering hose.

This type of device can work well with a drip-style watering system.

Alternately, fertilize by hand by mixing up your fertilizer solution in a watering can.

The best time to fertilize is after watering your plants thoroughly to avoid burning the healthy roots.

If keeping up with Hibiscus fertilizing is more complicated than you thought, purchase time-released Hibiscus fertilizers you place in the soil once every three or four months.

Remember not to use a time-release fertilizer during the winter months.

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