How to Care for a Hawaiian Yellow Hibiscus


Hawaii’s official flower is the yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei). The locals call this brightly colored flower the "pua aloalo." Hibiscus flowers of all colors grow densely on the island chain, but in 1988, the Hawaiian legislature elected yellow as the official bloom. Hibiscus means "delicate beauty." Hibiscus flowers grow to 6 inches in diameter and have five petals. In the center of the five, egg-shaped petals is a yellow stamen.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


General Care
  1. Add organic mulch to the flowerbed to help the yellow hibiscus retain moisture. The ideal mulch depth is between 4 and 8 inches deep. Avoid placing mulch against the trunk.

  2. Fertilize the flower one month after planting and then once a month during the flowering season. Add a slow release fertilizer of 12:5:14 to the yellow hibiscus plant.

  3. Prune the hibiscus in September. Cut the plant back by no more than one-third.

  4. Mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 1 gallon of warm water. Pour the soapy mixture into a pump sprayer.

  5. Spray the plant with soapy water to remove pests as needed.

Winter Care
  1. Examine the plant to verify it is the tropical variety of hibiscus. A plant with yellow flowers with glossy green leaves indicates that it is "tropical." This variety of flower needs protection from the cold. It is grown as a container plant and brought inside during the winter in most areas of the country.

  2. Trim the yellow hibiscus back to a height no higher than 4 feet. Pull away dead flowers and remove old leaves from the pot. This lowers the chances of bringing pests inside.

  3. Water the yellow hibiscus with a hose to wash the flower. Let the plant dry before bringing it inside or place a protective plastic sheet under the plant. Only water the plant when the soil becomes dry and powdery.

  4. Bring the potted hibiscus indoors before outside temperatures reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

  5. Place the yellow hibiscus in a sunny window or under bright fluorescent lights. The perfect indoor temperature is 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover the trunk of the yellow hibiscus with plastic wrap if you have planted it in the ground. Do not attempt to transplant it for the winter. This may kill the hibiscus.

  • There are two types of hibiscus, the hardy variation and the tropical variety. Plant the hardier versions if you live in an area that experiences cold winter weather.

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