Getting Hibiscus Flowers to Bloom

September 18, 2008
Hibiscus Flower


I have a hibiscus plant that will bloom, but the blooms will not open up completely before they die. I have planted it in the ground and fertilized it. I water it everyday, but nothing seems to work. What should I try next?

Hardiness Zone: 9a

Keri from Houston, TX



What kind of hibiscus do you have? There are hundreds of varieties available, many with curious flower forms. For example, the variety "Flower of an Hour" (Hibiscus trionum) has 2 inch wide white to pale yellow flowers with dark centers that typically only bloom for a couple of hours each day.

Is it possible you have a "Turk's Cap" (Malvaviscus penduliflorus)? This flower is isn't technically a hibiscus, but it's closely related. The fact that it is often referred to as "Sleeping Hibiscus" only adds to the confusion. The flowers resemble those of a "wilted" hibiscus. They never fully open, but hang down in a tubular fashion from the stems of the plant (this is a clever adaptation by the plant to encourage pollination by hummingbirds, which are typically attracted to bell-shaped flowers. Here is a picture for reference:

If what you have turns out to be a Turk's Cap, it will bloom off and on throughout the year, usually looking its best in early winter.


Another possibility is bud drop (leaves start to open then dry up and fall off). This is common with hibiscuses, and is caused by stress from improper watering (not enough), too much fertilizer, extremely hot weather, or insect damage from the likes of aphids or thrips. Double flowered varieties of hibiscus seem to be particularly susceptible to bud drop.



By josh (Guest Post)
July 2, 20081 found this helpful
Best Answer

Are you sure they are the type that fully opens? Not all of the Hibiscus flowers fully open certain types do not.

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13 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

October 23, 2010

I have a hibiscus which gets full sun daily. It develops a bunch of bloom pods, but just before they bloom they fall off. Only a few make it to full bloom. I water it daily in the hot summer, two times per day. Also, I fertilize weekly with Miracle Grow granular 10-52-10, 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. What can I do to get the blooms to come to full maturation? Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 10a

By JOHN COMBES from Gold Canyon, AZ


September 13, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have read that hibiscus don't like lots of phosphorus so 52 is too high. Something like 6-2-8 should work better for you.

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June 18, 2018

I am a novice gardener. I planted 3 hibiscus plants. They are tropical. I fertilized them and now they aren't blooming. They were flowering well before the fertilizing. I used a 10-4-12. Also I live in southwest Florida. Thanks for your help.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
June 18, 20180 found this helpful

I am never good with fertilizers (and I am terrified to use them with the dog) so I usually avoid them, but I know Hibiscus need food...and water just isn't enough. You do have to be careful feeding them around pets and small children and keep them away from the area for a few days.


So for your case, it sounds like it may have been overfed (sort of like how we are at Thanksgiving :)

This article explains it better than I can:

After it "rests", as the article suggests, the Pennington site (although that is what they are selling) gives info on their choices for food. This site always make it easy for me to understand what's what when it comes to the right mixes, which is why I like it.

Hope it all works out and you get to enjoy your lovely flowers soon!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
June 18, 20180 found this helpful

Make sure you do not have thrips, a kind of insect. You also need the right amount of sun, water and fertilizer.


This article will help you:


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
June 18, 20181 found this helpful

The fertilizer sounds okay but you may have fed them too much at one time or too much so soon after newly planting.

  • If you mean your plants were blooming when you bought them and stopped after planting then this may be due to the fact that nurseries (force feed) plants to make them bloom as a blooming plant will sell much, much faster than one that is not blooming. Nurseries know how to make flowers bloom at certain times (they do this with poinsettias at Christmas time) and it may take a little while for them to start blooming again.
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  • If you planted them in the ground, you may have to wait a couple of weeks and only water and no more fertilizer until they get more buds.
  • If it is not too much fertilizer then you could be over watering, especially if it is raining regularly and you are still watering also.
  • I like to use liquid fertilizer as I can weaken it and just add a little when I think it is time.
  • Also be sure the fertilizer is on the outer part of the canopy as that is where the roots are and do not add fertilizer at the close base of the plant.
  • Use mulch so the ground stays moist but not wet.
  • Add a little bone meal once in a while as this will help almost any plant have more flowers.

Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
June 19, 20180 found this helpful

Let it rest at least 6 weeks until the next feeding...then use less 1/2 less than the first time. If you see that isn't enough, you can always increase the next time!

June 24, 20180 found this helpful

My plants are beginning to bloom again.I pushed away the mulch and soil to get too . the fertilizer.Should I now place more soil and mulch because the plants are now lower than the soil line?

July 27, 20180 found this helpful

I only use worm castings to fertilize no matter what plant it is. You can't burn your plants, and the enzimes and nutrients are outstanding for the plant.


I even use them on my inground plants. I will never use anything else.

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August 19, 2016

Deer ate only the buds on 2 hibiscus. I moved them to my back deck where I have another plant in full bloom that the deer did not eat. The 2 plants the deer ate have never bloomed again even though they are healthy and have grown new leaves.

What can I do to get them to bloom again?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
August 21, 20161 found this helpful

All the hibiscus I've grown have just one 'series' of blooms per season. If deer ate all the buds for that series, the plant wont bloom any more until next year when it starts a new bloom series.

July 7, 20210 found this helpful

I am having the exact same problem.

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July 28, 2009

My hibiscus is loaded with blooms, they are not developing like they did last year. Most of them fall off before opening or the blooms are very small like a husk. What can I do? Thanks for any help.

By Sue from Fairmount, TX


September 21, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Don't cut it back unless you want to root the cuttings and they are easy to do this time of year. Just cut back to the first part of old growth (grey bark) and put in soil and keep moist. Leave outside (I put mine under the plant so I know what color is in the pot till it roots.

Not blooming is usually 2 things; not enough water put a pan under it that will hold about 2 inches of water as they are very thirsty, and fertilizer. I use 10.10.10 and liquid 20.20.20 during the summer. Don't forget the sun....takes all you can get but at least 3 hours. I live in south Georgia and I have to take mine in in the winter. It will bloom all winter long if given enough bright light and the other things but in winter curb the fertilizer a little but keep the water coming. Good growing.

As for the lady with small blooms ... fertilizer and water and maybe a bigger pot.

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June 3, 2016

My hibiscus won't flower, it was in the ground and growing well. I fertlized the plant and still no flowers. I have potted the hibiscus now and have fertilzed with a good fertilizer and waited a few months, still no flowers. I have used a flower booster fertilizer specifically for hibiscus and still no flowers. The plant itself is healthy, lush and green with constant new growth, but it has never flowered.

The plant is outside in the pot and gets good sunlight. I live in a humid zone. This hibiscus has never flowered and I have had it for over 1 and half years now. I have 2x other hibiscus that are thriving and constantly flower. Can anyone give me advice on how I can get it to flower?


June 5, 20160 found this helpful

Maybe you gave the plant too much fertilizer that is why it is making constant new growth. Flowering for a plant is a tentative to survive and if your plant has such a happy life with plenty to ''eat'' why should she bother to make flowers. Just put it on the diet and most of all don't forget to prune it in early spring.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 131 Feedbacks
June 5, 20162 found this helpful

Maybe you gave the plant too much fertilizer that is why it is making constant new growth. Flowering for a plant is a tentative to survive and if your plant has such a happy life with plenty to ''eat'' why should it bother to have flowers. Just put it on the diet and most of all prune it in early spring. Cut the central main branches at half length and cut the side branches leaving only 3 or 4 buds. Pruning will make new branches start and the flowers will appear on this new branches. Cutting the flowers once they faded also helps the plant produce new ones.

August 1, 20160 found this helpful

Hibiscus hasn't flowered for four years what am l doing wrong?

September 1, 20160 found this helpful

same response 4 plants in a row 2 bloom constantly 2 are healthy fed (sounds like a bad kid) no blooms

September 27, 20160 found this helpful

My healthy hibiscus plant will no longer bloom.

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May 20, 2017

My tropical hibiscus has stopped blooming. The plant is deep green and growing. The only thing different is I put 1-2 inches of potting soil around the whole pot (2-1/2 ft by 25").

Thank you.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
May 21, 20171 found this helpful

The potting soil should not have made a difference except when plants are changed (in almost any way) they need a slight adjustment period. Maybe you have not given it a chance to recover yet.
Did you water thoroughly after adding new soil? Have you been giving your plant the correct amount/kind of fertilizer? I know that I have to keep tract of when I use fertilizer if I want continuous bloom. (Also, be sure you are using the correct type of fertilizer for your hibiscus.)
Here is a link that has just about everything you will ever need to know about caring for your hibiscus. Just look to the sides (on this site) and you will see lots of links to check. Hope you see beautiful blooms soon.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 21, 20170 found this helpful

It needs warm weather. The season has just started. I would be patient.

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May 11, 2018

I just bought my plant a week ago. I left in it the pot it was in and placed it on my flower bed. It had one beautiful flower and lots of buds. The flower eventually fell off, but all the buds kinda dried up and didn't bloom. What happened? Did I over water it? I used some Miracle Gro initially. Will it bloom again this season?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 11, 20180 found this helpful

It might have been shocked a bit by the transplant. I think it will recover.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
May 16, 20180 found this helpful

so at first i wondered if the miracle gro was bad for hibiscus since some plants don't like it but it looks like as long as you don't have a fertilizer too high in nitrogen you're good and that miracle gro is good

the other thing aside from thrips infestation is, did you ever let it go dry? Have too little sun? This is Hawaii's native plant so it really needs that tropical thing happening. Consistent water and light are good for it

October 3, 20220 found this helpful

I see it was mentioned Miracle grow is safe however I had both hardy and non hardy hibiscus that were blooming fine until I started using miracle grow. On the hardy hibiscus the buds all dried up and became brown on the non hardy they quit budding and in some cases the buds started but never completely formed.

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August 6, 2016

I had 3 thriving, blooming hibiscus (purchased at Home Depot) that were growing beautifully in containers on my front porch (Camp Lejeune, NC). The deer decided they were good to eat, and ate most of the leaves, all the flowers, and some of the stems. When I realized what was going on, I moved them to my Carolina room and babied and nourished them back to health.

I've since put them back in their original location (with deer repellent on the ground around them), and they are still producing lots of leaves, but I've only seen 2 flowers in the 5-6 weeks since I moved them back. What am I doing wrong?

Hibiscus Not Blooming


August 19, 20161 found this helpful

Deer ate only the buds of two of my hibiscus. I moved them to my back deck where I have a plant in full bloom, but neither have produced buds again. They are healthy and leaves are beautiful. What can I do to get them to bloom again.

August 19, 20160 found this helpful

I had a similar problem. As it turns out, 2 of my 3 hibiscus have started blooming g again after moving them back to their original location. I watered and fertilized them, then sprayed the lawn about 2 feet out and the plants themselves with a rabbit and deer repellant. Seems to have worked.

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September 18, 2011

I have a bright orange hibiscus that is about fifteen years old. it has been outside in a pot all summer long but only bloomed once with two flowers. It is about five feet high and the leaves are thick and green, but it is not blooming. I will bring it inside soon, but what should I do with it so it will bloom in the upcoming months?

By Lynda D


September 21, 20111 found this helpful

Hi! Is this a tropical or hardy hibiscus? I've found with the tropicals that they either are not getting enough water, lack of fertilizer or are root bound. I'm sure you've kept up with the water and such so if it's tropical I'd guess it's to big for your pot. Leaving the rootswithout enough room for the roots to grow.

For a hardy hibiscus all of these are also likely possibilities. However hardy hibiscus can be finicky. Many prefer to be planted in the ground while others thrive in pots. Then again it could just need a good pruning.

When my peppermint schnapps quits blooming it's either water or pruning they need. ( this is a hardy hibiscus ). I discovered that my rose mallow preferred a pot because it wouldn't bloom in the ground! I've had a bad tropical this year too!

How do you usually care for it in winter?

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July 9, 2016

My hardy hibiscus plants bloom wonderfully when they first flower, but the buds following the first blooming dry up and fall off. These are supposed to bloom throughout the summer. Why is this happening?

Growing zone 6 I think (southern Ohio). Hey, I'm not an expert horticulturalist. :)

Thank you.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
March 12, 20170 found this helpful

Several things can cause this. cut open a fallen bud. Does it have pests inside it or their eggs? If so, that is probably the issue, as it is the most common one.
Also, they will do this if too much water or not enough water, too fertile of soil, or needing fertilizer, and too much or hot of a sun, or not enough sun and its too cool. They can be finicky.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 13, 2006
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July 28, 2009

A friend just gave me a Hibiscus tree and although it looks very healthy there are no blooms. She said it only had a few flowers on it all season.


August 15, 2008
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