Hibiscus - Knowledgebase Question

Alto, NM
Question by jenne
March 6, 2001
I have several Hibiscus as house plants and 2 of them will not bloom, no matter how much I fertilize. They just seem to grow shoots or leaves but no blossoms. Also, how much can I cut them back and when is the best time to do it?


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Answer from NGA
March 6, 2001

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Hibiscus flower best in full sun. How much sunlight do your plants receive indoors? Can you put them in a sunnier location? Also, what type of fertilizer are you using? Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorus helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus, such as Miracle-Gro's Plant Food at 15-30-15. Bone meal is an organic source of phosphorus. You might want to try fertilizing with just phosphorus with something like super phosphate, 0-45-0, to see if that helps. Water thoroughly before and after applying to help prevent burn. Cut them back in late winter early spring before new growth starts. A general guideline is no more than one third of a plant per season. I hope this info helps.

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