Hibiscus can grow both in grounds and pots. But some gardeners grow them in pots for easy overwintering. To keep the potted Hibiscus healthy, you must choose the right type of container as it can affect the plant’s health.
A 10-inch clay pot with drainage holes is best for a young Hibiscus plant. Choose a pot 1-2 inches bigger than the present one during repotting. You should pick an unglazed clay pot or a terracotta pot for hibiscus as plastic pots restrict airflow to the roots leading to several problems.
There are many other things to consider while selecting the best kind of pot for Hibiscus. This article will elaborate on the ideal type and size of container for Hibiscus and factors to consider while choosing the pot.
How to choose the ideal container for Hibiscus?
For selecting the ideal size and type of container for the Hibiscus, there are some factors you should consider.
Otherwise, any ordinary pot won’t keep the plant safe and healthy.
Let’s learn how those factors can determine the suitable container for Hibiscus.
The drainage system in the planters is a vital factor.
Without drainage holes, the excess water will stay in the container around the roots and rot them.
The excess water will block the flow of oxygen and proper air circulation.
The roots will suffocate and fail to transfer the water and nutrients to other plant parts.
As a result, despite having proper water and fertilization, the plant will display signs of underwatering and under fertilization.
The fertilizer salts, too, won’t get the chance to flush out of the soil.
They will accumulate in the soil and keep harming the plant.
So, whatever pot you select, make sure it has drainage holes.
Size of the pot
The size of the pot is also important.
The size should be the same as the plant’s diameter.
Knowing another basic thing about Hibiscus will give you a hint about the size of the planter.
Since many gardens have Hibiscus, you will notice that it doesn’t grow very tall.
The plant grows wide over time and turns out to be very bushy.
This means that the root grows in a wide direction and is not deep.
So, when you choose a container, go for the wide containers and not the very deep ones.
Material of the pot
Though you can use any planter of your choice, you must ensure that the plant doesn’t get heated up.
This is essential to check during the summers, especially when placing Hibiscus outdoors.
Terracotta can help here.
Since they are porous pots, they can release the hot air from the plant and the roots.
However, if you use plastic pots, make sure it’s not black because black colors can absorb sunlight.
And water the plant more frequently.
You can even use wooden pots as it is porous in most cases and can also help in releasing the hot air.
It is better to avoid metal and plastic pots, especially if you have kept them outdoors.
They get heated up very quickly and can burn the roots.
Moreover, the metal pots can develop rust, and the plastic pots can become brittle and lose color due to the scorching sun.
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Once you accomplish the above three factors, you can jump into any style of container you want.
Choose the one that looks great with your Hibiscus plant.
Ceramics are glazed pots that can give a simple yet sophisticated look.
Plastics are available in multiple colors, and you can play with the colors.
But, make sure they don’t get exposed to the outdoor sunlight.
If you want to keep things simple and concentrate more on the plant’s health, use terracotta pots.
If you admire decorations and styles but don’t want to change the current pot right now, use decorative cache pots.
Just place the plant in it.
You can use any shape of pots, depending on the size and shape of the plant.
There are multiple shapes available: round, square, rectangle, oval, etc.
Choose any one that fits your plant.
What is the best size of planter for Hibiscus?
For the best size, begin with a container measuring 10 inches across.
Hibiscus grows extensively wider and not very deep, and a wide container will work well.
This type of planter is called geranium pots because Geraniums also grow wide and not deep.
For the depth, ensure that the depth of the container is around 4 to 6 inches.
It is because the roots grow 6 inches long.
While repotting, if you don’t want your plant to grow very big, choose the old size of the container.
It should be of the same size as the plant in diameter.
But, if you want to give the plant space to grow, choose a planter 1-2 inches bigger than the present one.
For example, jump from a 10-inch pot to a 12-inch container or 12-inch to 14-inch.
What is the best pot material and color for Hibiscus?
Though you can use a planter made of any material, terracottas are best, especially if the plant is outdoors.
The potted plant will remain exposed to direct sunlight for very long hours.
Hibiscus loves sunlight, but they are sensitive to overheating.
Using a terracotta pot will help keep the plant and its roots cool.
Besides, terracotta also helps in air circulation.
You can even use ceramics pots.
It might not be as porous as terracotta but will help air circulation.
Additionally, the pot’s glazed texture and sophisticated and simple appearance can match your plant well.
Your fascination for aesthetics will also get fulfilled to some extent.
For indoor Hibiscus, you can use any pot.
As they won’t get direct sunlight like the outdoor plants, there are fewer chances of pots becoming heated, brittle, or fading.
The color should not be black.
Black can absorb heat greatly, overheat the roots and result in root burns.
So, avoid the color black.
Can I use Cache pots?
If you don’t want to change the current container of your plant, choose decorative cache pots to hold your plant.
It mainly works better for the big mature plants.
Take a cache pot measuring 14 inches to get hold of the plant.
Also, ensure the drainage holes.
If there isn’t any, make one so that the water doesn’t sit on a pool of water.
If you don’t want to destroy the pot’s look by drilling holes, take the main planter out from the decorative one while watering.
Let it drain the excess water. Once it has stopped dripping any extra water, put it back into the cachepot.
A good pot should be clean and have drainage holes.
While buying the containers, check for their hygiene.
A clean pot is the best kind of pot for Hibiscus.
If you plan to reuse an old pot, clean it properly with soapy water to remove all the old potting soil.
Soak the pots in bleach to eliminate all the bacteria, fungus, bug eggs, and spores.
Use 1 part bleach and 9 parts water.
Wash the pots with water and let them dry before planting.
The clay pots sometimes have white crusts.
These are the accumulation of minerals and salts from fertilizers and tap water.
Remove them properly using steel-wood pads or a stiff-bristled brush damped with vinegar solution.
While cleaning the plastic pots, first use a damp cloth soaked in soapy water, scrub it to clean the pot and then dip them in bleach.
Whatever pot you select for your Hibiscus plants, make sure it has drainage holes.
It should either be one big hole similar to the size of a finger or multiple small holes.
If there isn’t any drainage system, choose another pot or make one hole by drilling.
What are the effects of using the wrong pot for Hibiscus?
If you are using a container that doesn’t have drainage holes, it’s very small or big, or it is overheated frequently, you are not using the right pot for Hibiscus.
Effects of using a small container
There are many bad effects of using a small container.
If the plant is bigger than the container, then the planter won’t be able to hold the weight of the plant for a long time.
Additionally, a small pot holds only a limited amount of soil.
When you provide water, the plant doesn’t receive enough.
It is said that Hibiscus can still grow their roots if they are standing in a small pot with cramped space around.
But that should not last for a very long time.
If the pot becomes too small, the roots will grow out of the drainage holes and from the soil surface.
When you take the plant out, you will find that the roots have grown in a circular motion.
It is rootbound.
Over time, the roots will become so compact that untangling will become difficult.
Moreover, there will rarely be any soil left, due to which the plant won’t receive enough water and nutrients.
When the roots grow out from the drainage holes, it blocks the drainage system.
When watered, the water will stay in the pot around the roots and rot them.
That is why it is important to give Hibiscus enough space to grow.
Being very fast-growing plants, Hibiscus must be repotted every year.
But also check whether the plant is ready to repot.
As I said before, it can grow in cramped spaces.
Effects of using very big planters
A big planter will need more soil.
The soil will take a long time to dry and drain.
This can cause overwatering.
To avoid such conditions, you must use the right size container.
However, this is beneficial if you don’t water the plant from time to time.
But it’s not good if you are watering the plant daily.
Effects of using black pots
Black color can absorb heat and sunlight greatly.
Under the direct sun, a plant standing in a black pot will get overheated very quickly.
Due to this, the soil will also dry out frequently.
Hibiscus is sensitive to overheating, and if the condition prolongs, the roots will burn.
Additionally, you will have to make extra effort to provide water constantly to keep the plant cool.
Though you can use any pot, you should not use metal and plastic pots for outdoor Hibiscus.
These pots can get overheated quickly, thus burning the roots.
Moreover, the plastic pots become brittle.
The color fades over time due to daily exposure to sunlight for prolonged hours.
Fiberglass containers will also become brittle more than plastic pots if exposed to sunlight.
The metal pots can form rust, depending on the metal type you have bought.
Effects of using containers without drainage holes
The plant will suffer from overwatering or root rot even if you provide them with the right amount of water at the right time and use the right type of soil.
The problem is with the drainage system of the planter.
Without the holes, the water will remain stagnant, and your plant will undergo root rot.
Over time, the condition of the plant will deteriorate, and it will end up dying.
So, the drainage system in the containers is one of the most important factors than the others.
How to pot a Hibiscus plant?
When you bring a new plant, it stands over an ordinary pot.
After bringing it home, you have to replant it in a slightly larger pot (1-2 inches bigger).
Apply the same during repotting.
Since they are large and fast-growing plants, choose a pot that can hold their weight when they begin to grow.
Ceramics or terracotta can work.
Hibiscus will grow around 5-6 feet.
The shorter varieties reach about 2-5 feet.
Make sure the drainage holes of the pot.
Fill the container with soil, place the plant, and cover the roots with more soil.
Don’t water immediately as they might get hurt while repotting.
Let them heal for 2-3 days, and then you can water them.
Don’t expose them to direct sunlight for some weeks until you see any new healthy growth.
How to take care of potted Hibiscus plants?
Growing Hibiscus in pots can be both easy and tricky.
You need to take special care about the watering because half of the water drains out.
Without adequate water, the plant will turn yellow and drop the flower buds.
- Check the soil frequently and water them when the top 1-2 inches of the soil feels too dry, especially under the sunlight and during scorching weather.
- Generally, they need watering 4-5 times per week. But in the summers, they need daily watering and sometimes twice a day if the weather is sweltering.
- Let them have at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. If direct sunlight is too intense to handle, reduce it to 2-3 hours and let them have 6-8 hours of filtered sun.
- Use well-drained, sandy loam soil for Hibiscus. It can retain moisture and even drain the excess. You can all-purpose potting soil with some vermiculite or pumice to help drainage.
- Hibiscus requires heavy feeding, especially if they are under the full sun. Feed them regularly with water-soluble fertilizers. But do it in the morning. Intense summer heat will make the water-soluble fertilizers evaporate before the plant can absorb them. If you are confused about the amounts, shift to slow-release or homemade fertilizers. They will slowly release the nutrients into the soil without hurting the roots.
- Prune Hibiscus from time to time to encourage healthy growth and good shape.
- If you own tropical Hibiscus, bring it indoors during the winters if you belong to zones 4 to 8.
- Watch for pests like spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, scales, or thrips.
Whatever pot you choose for your Hibiscus is totally up to you. If you are the one that enjoys decorations or love colors, you can use cache pots and plastic pots.
For the good health of the plant, use terra cotta pots. With health, if you want a classy or natural look, go for ceramics or wooden pots. These will ensure air circulation and prevent overheating.
Plastics and metals can heat up quickly. These pots and fiberglass pots become brittle outside under the sun. But indoors, there is less risk as they don’t receive direct sunlight like outdoors.
Ensure that the pots have drainage holes because the plant will die without drainage. Besides, ensure that size matches that of the plant, or it’s only 1-2 inches bigger.
Don’t use the same pot for several years, and don’t excitedly choose a very big planter. That will only harm your plant.
Reference: Wikipedia, ASPCA, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, American Society for Horticultural Science, Tropical Hibiscus by Texas A&M University, Sciencedirect.