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Do Hibiscus Plants Need Full Sun? (And How Much Is Too Much?)

Do Hibiscus Plants Need Full Sun? (And How Much Is Too Much?)

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Hibiscus flowers are big and incredibly beautiful. Their vibrant nature has caused many people to want to keep them in their gardens.

If you’re thinking about putting some in your garden sometime soon, you’ll want to learn about how to take care of them. Many people are curious about the light requirements of these plants.

Do hibiscus plants need full sun or are they better off in partial shade? What should you do to guarantee that they’ll grow properly?

Keep reading to get all of the necessary information about hibiscus plants and what type of sunlight is best for them. You’ll also get some important tips that will help you to get the optimal growth out of your plant.

Hibiscus Plants Generally Like Full Sun the Best

Hibiscus Bush In Full Sun

If you want a hibiscus plant to do the best that it possibly can, you’re likely going to want to place it in full sun. As you likely already know, hibiscus flowers can grow pretty large and this is why so much energy is needed.

The plant really does need all of that sunlight so that it can flower and grow as it normally should. Placing your plant in a spot that will receive a lot of sunlight is going to be ideal.

If you don’t have a spot that offers full sun, you can still grow a hibiscus in your garden. Hibiscus plants can do pretty well in partial shade, but it isn’t going to grow as well as normal under these conditions.

You’ll notice that flowering and growth will suffer compared to when one is placed in full sunlight. Anyone who wants to be able to enjoy hibiscus plants to the fullest should likely just do their best to find a spot where the plant can get full sun.

Sometimes Shade Is Good

Sometimes shade is good for hibiscus plants when you’re living in a particularly hot climate. For example, those who are living in the southern portions of the United States might find that the temperatures will get exceptionally high during parts of the summer.

During the hottest months of the year, it might be kind of rough on your plant to be in complete sun. Providing some shade under these circumstances will be a good thing, but you don’t want to go overboard.

This is still a plant that does best when it gets as much sunlight as it can, but the harshness of the sun might be too much if the weather is incredibly hot. You’ll have to use your best judgment and do what you can to protect the plant.

Some dedicated hibiscus plant owners will shade their plants during the hottest parts of the day. This can be accomplished by using a type of umbrella that you can retract.

It might seem to be a bit of a pain to have to do this at first, but it really isn’t that difficult. If it can help the plant to thrive even during the hottest months of the year, then it’s certainly worthwhile.

Those who live in typical climates aren’t likely going to have to bother doing something such as this. It’s when temperatures are regularly 100 degrees Fahrenheit that things will get particularly dicey for hibiscus plants, but it could be good to protect the plants when it’s in the upper 90s as well.

Generally, these plants really likes warm weather, and standard summer temperatures will help the plant to grow strong. You probably need to be more worried about cold snaps during the spring than you do very hot weather during the summer.

Hibiscus Plants Hate the Cold

Potted Hibiscus Plant Indoors For Winter Months

Hibiscus plants really do seem to hate the cold weather. If you live in a place where the spring weather can still get fairly cold, you’ll need to be careful.

Experts recommend protecting your hibiscus plant using mulch. Applying a layer of mulch can protect them during the winter months and even into the early spring when it still might be kind of cold.

Organic mulch should be good to use for this purpose. Most people wind up using straw, hay, or sugarcane, but you can use others too.

When placing the mulch, it’s going to be best not to touch the stem. So long as you remember this, it should be easy to use the mulch to protect your plant from the cold weather.

Watering Your Hibiscus

Watering your hibiscus is another important part of getting it to grow as much as possible. You don’t want to let it dry out too much or it’s going to start to look bad.

The soil should be kept relatively moist and you also want to use soil that drains well. Ensuring that it’s been planted in a spot with well-draining soil will be imperative.

If you make a mistake and don’t water it enough, it might start to dry out. When this occurs, it’ll start to look different and the foliage of the plant might appear to be dead.

You don’t have to worry too much when this happens since the plant can re-bud when you take care of it. The way that the hibiscus looks is actually a method to protect itself and its root system.

Of course, watering a hibiscus plant too much is also something that can harm the plant. This is why you want to use soil that drains very well so that you can avoid mishaps.

Hibiscus Pruning

Hibiscus pruning is something that can be done, but it isn’t completely necessary. Some hibiscus enthusiasts choose to cut back old growth in the fall or the winter, depending on the weather where they are.

Even if you don’t do this, the plant is going to produce new growth. The new growth will come up every year from the ground so long as you’re taking care of it.

If you’re looking to make the hibiscus as pretty as possible, you can encourage it to branch out with more flower stalks using pruning methods. This could help you to enjoy more flowers, and it’s said that pruning in the early summer gives you the best results.

Just Be Mindful of the Needs of Your Hibiscus Plant

Just being mindful of the needs of your hibiscus plant will be enough for you to do a good job. Choose a nice sunny spot in your yard where the plant can get all of the light that it needs.

If you combine a good sunny spot with soil that drains properly and good watering routines, the plant will grow very strong. You should be able to enjoy large flowers, and you might even be able to encourage the plant to produce more stalks with pruning methods.

Now that you know more about the hibiscus and what you should be doing, it’ll be easier to get the good results that you have been hoping for. Continue to take care of it to the best of your abilities and you’ll be able to enjoy it for a long time.

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Thursday 16th of May 2024

My small hibiscus sits on the upper deck on the backside of house. It sits in full sun at zone 9. It is dropping beautiful buds daily. No signs of bugs. What can I do?

Lisa Bridenstine

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Hi Lois, You might want to open up a bud and check for larvae inside. Hibiscus midges will lay eggs inside of the buds and the larvae will feed on the buds from the inside. You can see a little more about this at the end of this article:


Cindy Preisser

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

Great information. I love hibiscus and have been planting them in the sun but now realize they have been affected by the heat we have here in Texas so I will have to deal with that especially this year with the temperatures so high.

Lisa Bridenstine

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

The heat this year has been so tough! Best of luck!



Sunday 12th of June 2022

Your information is very helpful! I bought two 3 gallon hibiscus potted plants in March 2022, though I knew nothing about hibiscus.

I get fun sun on the back side of my house, year round, but get full sun on the front side only from late spring until fall. Would like to plant the hibiscus on the front side of the house, where I can enjoy their beauty, daily, but that might not be possible, as they require at least 6 hours of sun. I live in Zone 7b


Friday 20th of May 2022


Above you say "When placing the mulch, it’s going to be best not to touch the stem. So long as you remember this, it should be easy to use the mulch to protect the hibiscus plant from the cold weather."

Please explain why that is important.

Thank you, Sharon


Tuesday 21st of June 2022

Hi Sharon, If you put the mulch right up to the stem it can promote rotting, so it is best to leave a a few inches between the stem and the mulch.

Happy Planting! Lisa