How to Care For Hibiscus Bonsai Plant

Are you a flower enthusiast? If yes, then don’t stop reading. 

We are here to give you the best experience while you grow a vibrant flowering bonsai tree- the Hibiscus! These are the most beginner-friendly and the easiest flower bonsai trees you can ever grow!

Hibiscus plants are tropical evergreen and semi-deciduous tree types. It includes over 200 varieties of hibiscus species; few bloom flowers, and others don’t. The hibiscus plants are beginner-friendly and require minimal effort once you plant and grow them through their early stages.

Read on further as we explain the various types of hibiscus plants and how to care for these flowering bonsai trees. 

Hibiscus bonsai tree specifications

Botanical nameHibiscus rosa-sinensis
Common nameChinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus, rose mallow, and shoeblack plant
DescriptionThe plant is valued for its large, attractive trumpet-shaped flowers. These bloom during the summer seasons and are collected for medicinal properties. The plant is native to Asian countries like India, China, and Malaysia.
Height50 cm
Width40 cm
Sunlight Full sunlight or semi-shaded. Avoid frost and cold winter climates.
WateringWater regularly, avoid overwatering the plants 
FertilizingFertilize the plant twice a month during the growing season, and avoid over-fertilization during the flowering period.
Pruning timeDo frequent pruning on a yearly basis. Avoid pruning once the summer starts. 
Repotting timeReplant every 2 or 3 years in the summer for the young plants. Once mature, a 4 or 5 years gap is ideal.
Life span50 years
NoteHibiscus plants are different from other flowering plants by their flowering traits. They bloom throughout the year when you care for them properly.

How to Identify Hibiscus plant Varieties

Thanks to the hybridization and cultivars! Now we have over 200 species of hibiscus grown across the globe. It will take forever to detail each one of them. Some of those are more cherished than others while making a bonsai, depending on its characteristics. 

Broadly these 200 species can be divided into five subtypes,

  1. Hardy
  2. Tropical 
  3. Native
  4. Annuals and
  5. Perennials 

Hardy hibiscus

Unlike their other cousins, the hardy hibiscus variety is famous for its huge dinner-plate flowers. These perennial plants are distinguished for these huge blooms and their medicinal values. The most famous hardy hibiscus species is ‘Rose of Sharon’, including white, pink or purple flowers.

Tropical hibiscus

As the name suggests, the tropical hibiscus suits tropical climate conditions more. They are identified by the presence of large flowers in vibrant colors. The flower lasts only for a day through flowering all year round. ‘Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis’ is a famous example of topically grown hibiscus plants.

Native hibiscus

The native hibiscus varieties are more adaptable to different soil conditions; they mostly grow in the wetlands and marshes, though they can also tolerate dryness. The most popular native variety of hibiscus is the ‘Scarlet Rose Mallow’. These woody perennial plants are known for their five-petaled flowers, blooming in bright crimson-red color.

Annual hibiscus

The annual hibiscus plants are the tropical variety of hibiscus grown annually. These plants need a slightly cooler climate to survive. A famous variety of annual hibiscus is the ‘Red leaf hibiscus’. It has red-colored foliage and flowers.

Perennial hibiscus

The perennial hibiscus plants grow all year round and include everything from tropical, native, and hardy varieties of hibiscus. These plants have many varieties, from small, dwarf-like plants to large, tall tree-like bushes.

Hibiscus Bonsai Care guidelines

Caring for hibiscus bonsai plants needs minimal effort. You can care for them like any other tropical flowering plant. If you stay in tropical regions, planting them outdoors or near a window will reduce your efforts almost by half. If you stay in a colder region, provide sufficient sunlight and protect them from frost. 

Read on further as we discuss the different aspects of care and concern while you grow a bonsai hibiscus plant.


Hibiscus belongs to the tropical plant category. It enjoys full sunlight or semi-shaded locations. If placed indoors, opt for a south-facing window sill location. 

It is very delicate to cold and frost. Take the plants indoors when the winter temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, place the hibiscus bonsai plants in greenhouses, the perfect place to survive cold and frost-free winters. 


Watering a hibiscus bonsai tree is similar to any other flowering bonsai tree. The tree is watered regularly and thoroughly. As the plants stay in the hot sun, check for soil dryness and keep them moist.

At the time, avoid overwatering the plant so much that you end up with soggy soil. The main defect of overwatering is stress. Plants, especially in the growing season, might shed their leaves and flowers if it’s stressed.

Never use hard water to water the plant. Opt for rainwater or water with a pH value between 6.5 and 7.5. Doing so protects the roots from lime deposits.


The hibiscus bonsai trees are capable of accepting both solid and liquid fertilizers. However, solid fertilizers are preferred, as the plants gradually absorb them.

Feed the plants twice every month during summers and once a month during winters. Add organic pellets to the soil and allow them to do the magic. If you use liquid fertilizers, dilute them before use and avoid spraying them on the foliage. 

Fertilizers speed up the growing process in the plant, though they don’t induce growth. Over-fertilizing can induce stress in the bonsai trees. Refrain from overfertilizing the plants to avoid such stress, especially growing the flowering season.

Pruning and wiring

Pruning is the process of trimming to control the plant’s growth, which helps maintain the small figure of the plant. Regular pruning and wiring will help achieve the desired shape in the bonsai. Over the years, they eventually develop luscious floral growth.

It is best to trim the new growth considerably when pruning. Trim half of the new growth and cut off the dead and improper branches. If you aim for flowers, avoid pruning the plants during summers. 

Wiring requires care and skill, as these branches are brittle. The older branches might break; hence, try to wire the younger branches only. You can use Guy-wires to hold the plant in shape. 

Once the shaping is over, cut the wires and never detangle them. Maintain a routine of training your bonsai hibiscus tree regularly for the first few years. Once the plant matures, you can reduce the frequency from 1 or 2 years to 3 or 4 years. By then, the plants will already have a defined growth.


The hibiscus bonsai plants need fresh soil every few years to retain soil fertility and encourage growth. After a few years, the roots also overgrow and seep through the potholes; your plant needs a makeover. 

Repotting will encourage better growth and control the root spread. Once you pick the roots from the soil, carefully wash them.

Check for dirt and diseases in the root balls—a perfect chance to trim away the damaged roots and the overspread new roots. Leave the primary roots intact and reduce the overall mass by ⅓ its total volume.

Now either use the plant pot or choose a bigger plant pot to replicate the bonsai trees. Make sure you use abundant Akadama soil in your soil mixture. Once the soil is packed with plant roots, carefully water them thoroughly until the excess water seeps through the potholes.

After repotting, avoid adding any fertilizer to your hibiscus plant to avoid stress. The perfect time for repotting will be during mid-summer. Young plants need repotting once every 2 -3 years. After the plant matures, repotting reduces to once every 4 -5 years. 


You can propagate the hibiscus bonsai trees through seeds and cuttings. The cutting method is more effective as you can easily achieve the desired parental plant traits. 

  • To propagate by cuttings, start by selecting a healthy branch from a hibiscus plant of around 5 to 7 inches.
  • Remove the leaves and trim one end of the stem until the soft bark is exposed.
  • Induce faster root growth by applying root hormones in the bark-free tips
  • Place the cuttings in the soil mixture with Akadama, pea moss, sand, and pebbles.
  • Water regularly, and within 15 days, you can see new shoots growing
  • Once shoots grow, start training them into a bonsai variety.

To reduce your training phase, you can also opt for a dwarf hibiscus bonsai tree. These trees already have smaller leaves and stunted growth.

Pests and diseases

Hibiscus plants are mostly free from pests and diseases. If any occurs, it is best to control the dosage of pesticides as these are delicate plants and easily get damaged by overdosages. 

Using hard water will create lime deposits in the root and kill the plant’s growth. Also, avoid over-fertilization, which is also harmful to plant growth.


You have a huge collection to pick your favorite!

Choose an appropriate type depending on your environmental conditions and flowering requirement. Once you set them up in a proper sunny location, as they mature, you can enjoy the flowers every few weeks with minimal effort. 

Hibiscus bonsai plants will be the perfect newbie to add to your homegrown bonsai trees. 

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