Hibiscus: Medicinal Flowering Plant – Details and Care Tips

Hibiscus: Medicinal Flowering Plant – Details and Care Tips
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Hibiscus plants are known for their colorful, large flowers. These flowers can make a decorative addition to a home or garden but have medicinal uses as well. Flowers of the hibiscus come in many colors. They may be red, yellow, white, or peach-colored, and maybe as large as 6 inches across. The flowers and leaves can be turned into teas and extracts of liquid which can help treat a variety of conditions.

Quick Details of Hibiscus

Common NameGudhal, China Rose, Rose of Sharon
TypeOutdoor Flowering Ornamental Plant
Maintenance Low/Moderate
FloweringAll around the year depending on species
LightBright Direct Light
Temperature Can survive the harsh climate up to an extent
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer like Compost, Potassium based fertilizers
HabitatEurasia, Australia
Common DiseasesBacterial blight, leaf spot, rot, gnats
Scientific nameHibiscus rosa sinensis


Hibiscus are flowering plants belonging to the Malvaceae family native to Eurasia and Australia. They are both perennial and annual plants. There are around 300 species of hibiscus plants. They can either be shrubs or woody or trees. They consist of hundreds of species and are mostly cultivated as an outdoor ornamental plant. The leaves and the flowers are used in the cosmetic industry.

The leaves are ovate and arranged alternatively with lobed margins. The flowers are large and trumpet-shaped and can have five or more petals. The petals can be of different colors. In some species, the flower color changes with age.

Special about hibiscus:

In China the hibiscus flower represents personal glory and native Americans consider hibiscus to be the flower for women. The leaves and the flowers can be used as shampoo. The different colours and patterns of the flowers makes them attractive.

Usage of Hibiscus:

  • A tea made from hibiscus flowers are said to be a rich source of vitamin-c
  • The flower is given as an offering for Goddess Kali
  • It is the national flower for Haiti.
  • A species of hibiscus known as kenaf is used for making paper.
  • The inner bark of sea hibiscus is used for making ropes.
  • Dried hibiscus is a delicacy in Mexico.
  • It has several uses in medicine especially Ayurveda

General Care for Hibiscus:

Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil; mulch to help retain moisture.

Light: An area with good air circulation yields the best flowers and strongest stems and is the best environment for disease prevention. Total sun to a slight shade in the afternoon. a dry, scorching afternoon sun can burn the foliage and the plant should be protected against damaging winds.

Water: The plant prefers moist soil and tolerates no drought. In hotter weather, they should be watered regularly and up to twice a day, particularly if grown in a container. In colder weather, watering may be cut back a bit. Hibiscus stressed by water can drop their buds or become more susceptible to insects and disease. They should not be left in standing water as root damage/rot can take place.

Fertilizer: Hibiscus requires a high potassium (K) fertilizer, low in phosphorus ( P), and a small amount of nitrogen ( N)-too much phosphorus will kill hibiscus. Hibiscus often react well to organic fertilizer, and usually, a good layer of compost is adequate once a year. Do not fertilize after July as this can push new frost-damaging growth.

Pruning: Hibiscus requires very little pruning. Pruning the tips can encourage branching and because more branching means more flowers, a little trim late spring to early summer is good for the plant. In spring, they can be cut back 4-6 inches from the ground, anytime before the new growth arises. Pruning of the plants during extreme cold or heat conditions can be stressful to the plant and can result in it spoiling the plant’s health.

Pest Control and Other Diseases:

Hibiscus are not easily prone to any diseases or pests.in some cases the ants present in the plant carries the aphids eggs to the plant, this helps them feed on the byproducts produced by the aphids.

Some diseases include:

Fungus gnats or shore flies: Caused due to small flies. Mostly seen in plants grown indoors. Fungus gnats lay their eggs in a mix of wet pots. The larvae feed on the fungus present near the roots of the plant and later continue to feed on the roots of the plant.

Shore flies do not feed on plants straight away. They prefer algae often found on potted plants or the surface of the mix in which the plants grow. their presence is much less likely to harm your plants than fungus gnats.

Leaf spot: Various strains of the fungus in plants and trees, including hibiscus, cause leaf spot diseases. The symptoms vary depending on the strain of the fungus but generally appear on foliage as discolored, irregular spots. Leaves fall off the branches in severe infestations and go down to the ground. Unless the hibiscus is unhealthy, leaf spots are usually tolerated with little to no damage.

Rot: Different fungi cause rots, attacking a wide array of plants and trees. The above-ground rot symptoms include prematurely dropping discolored leaves, stem dieback, and mushroom clusters that appear at the base of the plant. Rots are caused by soggy, poorly drained soil. The best defense against rots is ensuring that the hibiscus grows in well-drained soil.

Blight: Bacterial blight affects the leaves of plants with hibiscus causing distortion, discoloration, leaf dropping, and dieback stem. Botrytis blight affects the flowers of the hibiscus, causing discolored or spotted buds, and probable bud rot. It also leads to discolored shoots and leaves wilting and dropping off the stems. Botrytis blight can also have symptoms like twig dieback and non-opening buds. Pruning the diseased branches and providing good airflow to the hibiscus helps control both bacterial and botrytis blight.


The propagation takes place through cutting. The cutting is done from new growth or a softwood and a 4 to 6 inches stem is cut and placed inside the soil. The cut is made below the leaf node. The stem is dipped into the rooting hormone. Another way of propagating hibiscus is through the use of seeds.



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