For optimal growth, provide hibiscus plants with 6–8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Hibiscuses are sun-loving tropical plants that grow best in slightly moist soil. Make sure to prevent hibiscus from drying out during hot, sunny weather by increasing your watering frequency or providing light afternoon shade. Excess of sun can cause hibiscus plants to dry out and struggle. Both indoor and outdoor plants benefit from the morning sun and partial shade during the afternoon.
Table of Contents
How Many Hours of Sun Does a Hibiscus Need?
Hibiscus requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. However, this is the bare minimum. Hibiscus grows best when it receives 8 hours of sunlight. Although they don’t soak up quite as much sun as zinnias, hibiscus flowers grow best when planted in full sun. However, in regions with hot summers, it’s best to provide morning sun with an east-facing planting. Then, protect your hibiscus from the sun during the hottest part of the day.
- 6–8 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for hibiscus plants.
- Hibiscus can grow with as little 2 hours of direct light as long as it also receives 6–8 hours of indirect light daily.
- Hibiscus can thrive in a variety of gardens or indoors because its sunlight needs are flexible.
If you are growing your hibiscus indoors, you can get by with providing less direct sunlight. As long as your potted hibiscus receives 2 hours of direct sunlight, it can thrive on indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. So, hibiscus doesn’t need to be placed near a south-facing window. It can grow with exposure to light from the east or west.
Can Hibiscus Tolerate Full Sun?
Hibiscus grows best in full sun, which means this plant prefers to get 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, hibiscus plants, especially perennial hibiscus, prefer moist soil. So, it’s important to plant hibiscus flowers in areas where they are not exposed to hot afternoon sun that will dry out the soil. If you have a sunny, moist area in your garden, plant hibiscus there.
- Hibiscus grows best in full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight per-day).
- “Full sun” is not the same as “the sunniest spot in your garden.”
- Hibiscus suffers in drought conditions brought on by hot afternoon sun.
- Plant hibiscus in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Reserve south and west-facing plantings for herbs and other drought-tolerant plants.
Indoor hibiscus plants also grow best when provided with 6 hours of direct sunlight. Although tropical hibiscus prefers moist soil, it is slightly more drought-tolerant than perennial hibiscus. Because hibiscus suffers in dry conditions, it’s best to choose a planting or window that receives morning sun and light afternoon shade. The sunny, dry portions of your garden are best reserved for growing thyme and other sun-loving herbs.
Can Hibiscus Get Too Much Sun?
Too much sun exposure can damage hibiscus plants. If soil is allowed to fully dry out during hot temperatures, your hibiscus will suffer from heat stress. Hibiscus that is too hot and dry will begin to turn yellow and wilt. Leaf breakage and flower wilting are also common for hibiscus suffering from drought conditions. If you begin to see these signs, use the following tips to save your hibiscus:
Move Hibiscus Out of Direct Sunlight
Provide shade for outdoor hibiscus suffering from sun exposure. You can use a row cover designed to protect plants from frost for this purpose. Simply cover your hibiscus plants during the afternoon to prevent the sun from overheating the plant and drying out the soil.
- Providing partial shade to sun-damaged hibiscus gives your plant a chance to recover.
- Use this row cover to protect sun-scorched outdoor hibiscus from excess sun.
- Shield indoor hibiscus from sun by using sheer curtains or moving the plant out of direct sunlight.
If you are growing hibiscus indoors, protect it from excess sun by placing a sheer curtain over the window that is casting heavy sunlight on your plant. Alternatively, you can move the plant further from the window or relocate it to another room. Each of these methods can prevent sun scorch.
Increase Watering Frequency
Hot weather combined with long hours of sunlight dries out the soil, which is damaging to moisture-loving hibiscus. Check the soil of outdoor hibiscus plantings. If the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil is dry, it’s time to water. Hibiscus grows best in soil that is consistently moist but never soggy or muddy.
- Dry soil due will weaken and kill hibiscus.
- To maintain moist soil for hibiscus, increase watering frequency as temperatures rise.
- Water outdoor hibiscus whenever the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) is dry.
- Indoor hibiscus should be watered 3–4 times per-week in early summer.
- Potted hibiscus often requires daily watering in late summer.
Indoor hibiscus has increased watering needs as summer heats up. In spring and early summer, 3–4 weekly watering sessions is enough for optimal soil moisture. In mid to late summer, increase watering frequency. In order to keep the top inch of soil moist, daily watering is often required in late summer.
Mist Hibiscus Leaves and Flowers
If your hibiscus leaves and flowers are wilting or breaking, try misting the plant with a spray bottle once per week. This helps create a humid microclimate for your plant and introduces moisture to the leaves and flowers.
- Once each week, mist the leaves and flowers of your hibiscus plant with water.
- Misting hibiscus helps reduce wilting and leaf breakage.
- Mist outdoor hibiscus with a gentle sprinkler or watering can.
- Use this mister bottle for indoor hibiscus.
You can mist outdoor hibiscus by watering with a gentle sprinkler system. For indoor hibiscus, use a mister bottle designed for watering succulents. A weekly misting of your plant’s leaves and flowers can revitalize struggling hibiscus.
How Do You Know If Your Hibiscus Has Enough Sunlight?
If your hibiscus plant is receiving adequate sunlight its leaves will be vibrant green. New leaf growth at the ends of branches is another sign that your plant is getting adequate light. Your hibiscus will also produce more flowers when light conditions are optimal.
- The majority of leaves are bright green.
- Your hibiscus is growing new leaves.
- Your hibiscus is flowering throughout mid to late summer.
- Old flowers and leaves wilting is not a cause for alarm.
It’s not a bad sign if there are a few yellow leaves on your hibiscus plant, as long as they are older leaves. Your plant will naturally lose leaves over time. Losing old leaves and blossoms is part of the plant’s growth process. This leaf loss is not a cause for concern as long as your plant is producing new leaves.
Can Hibiscus Be Grown in Shade?
While hibiscuses can grow in partial shade, they may gradually lose their lively appearance. If you have been providing your plant is wilting in the shade, it may be suffering from lack of light. Hibiscus plants grow best when they receive 6–8 hours of direct sunlight per day. If your plant is struggling in the shade, give it more sun.
- Hibiscus can grow in partial shade as long as it receives at least 6 hours of sun per-day.
- If your plant is wilting after providing shade, provide more sunlight instead.
- In hot locations, hibiscus grows best in morning sun with light afternoon shade.
If you live in a sunny location, hibiscus can benefit from minimal shade, primarily as protection from the bright mid-day sun. It’s best to leave hibiscus unshaded in the morning. Then, add a shade cover to protect it from the afternoon sun. This makes East-facing plantings ideal for hibiscus growing in hot, sunny regions.
How Much Light Does Hibiscus Need?
When providing light for hibiscus the top rules to keep in mind are:
- Hibiscus requires 6–8 hours of direct sun daily.
- You can grow hibiscus with as little as 2 hours of direct sunlight plus 6–8 hours of indirect light per-day.
- Hibiscus prefers moist soil. It will die if soil is allowed to dry out.
- Increase watering frequency in late summer to prevent soil from drying out.
- Plant hibiscus where it will receive morning sun but will be lightly shaded in the afternoon.
Hibiscus will develop root rot if the soil is allowed to become boggy, but as a rule, hibiscus does better with more water instead of less. Frequent watering in hot temperatures will balance out increased sun and heat. This leads to a healthy hibiscus that flowers through the latter half of summer.