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Fertilizing Hibiscus: When, How & Which Fertilizer To Use

The Hibiscus plant is a very common type of plant we see in gardening. I can’t blame it because the glossy green leaves and soft colorful flowers (pink, red, burgundy, lavender, or yellow) is representing pure beauty.

Thankfully hibiscus is a plant that doesn’t require much attention and it’s easy to please. However, don’t think that the beautiful blooming will happen if the food is lacking. 

Hibiscus requires fertilizer with slow release or something water-soluble. Either way, it’s fine but the NPK ratio should be balanced, and most importantly use a medium amount of nitrogen, low quantity of phosphorus, and high potassium. 

When to fertilize Hibiscus?

As I mentioned previously, slow release is preferable for hibiscus, and in that case, fertilizing 4 times a year would be ideal. You can fertilize 

  • Early Spring times (until in the middle of April 20th).
  • After the first blooming is done.
  • In the middle of Summer.
  • Early Winter times (at the beginning of December)

Hibiscus performs the best if you use a frequent but light approach. This way, you will prevent overfertilizing and under-fertilizing reasons.

Many professionals claim that the best formula is a 3-1-4 or 10-5-20 ratio, but they’re not the only formulas.

How To Fertilize Hibiscus?

For ground plants, it’s easy to hook a hose or fertilizer, plus you have zero worries about the mess. Fertilizer injectors do not cost, so I strongly recommend to add it in your system.

For hibiscus in pots, make sure you have poured the fertilizer into the tips of the tree’s canopy. The most common mistake is people just fertilize the base and they’re done.

 Here are some tips on better fertilization.

  • Water the hibiscus plant beforehand, because the chances of burning the root are higher.
  • Fertilize hibiscus frequently but lightly, rather than deeply and rarely. 
  • Fertilize the hibiscus every 2 weeks.
  • Soak hibiscus in the water to dissolve better the fertilizer and make sure it reaches the entire root.
  • Wear gardening gloves and a mask if you use chemical fertilizer. 

 Best Fertilizers For Hibiscus

1.Peter’s Professional Series

Another great product from Peter’s professional series for general purpose food for plants. It comes in a water-soluble form with a 20-20-20 balanced NPK ratio.

Peter’s contains 20% of nitrogen in total with urea nitrogen (11.5%) nitrate (5.3%) and ammoniacal (3.2%) nitrogen. Besides, 20% of phosphate and soluble potash, there are small percentages of magnesium, zinc, copper, and boron soluble. 

Here are instructions on how to use Peter’s plant food. Use 1 tsp per gallon of water and mix the product. Apply as a root drench or spray once a week for better results. Never exceed the dosage and you better store the product in a cool and dry location after you open the package.

Keep in mind that Peter’s a chemical fertilizer so keep the children and pets away. 

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2. Burpee Natural Purpose Granular

Burpee is the vice versa of Peter’s it’s natural organic fertilizer. This purposeful fertilizer will make your hibiscus plant grow stronger and blossoming flowers.

Besides, you can use the fertilizer for vegetables, flowers, and herbs as well, and will stop the starving of food for up to 3 months. Hibiscus is a different scenario, you have to feed it frequently and lightly, but just in case you might want to use it for other purposes. 

The NPK is balanced with a 4-4-4 ratio. The granular form is a less expensive way to feed the plant. It’s ideal for pots and container plants.

Here are the instructions on how to use the product. In the first stages apply 1/2 cut per cubic foot with the growing mix and for beds, 1 cup per 20 square feet plus watering thoroughly will be fine. For shrubs use 1/4 cup with a 2-foot diameter.

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3. Miracle-Gro Plant Food

Miracle-Gro creates miracles for your hibiscus plant because you have to feed every week once or once every two weeks.

It’s amazing for hibiscus and other vegetables for bountiful production. The covering area with 1.5 lbs is more or less 600 square feet. The NPK on the other hand is an 18-18-21 ratio. For the best results, 30 days after the planting, use the fertilizer for vigorous growth.

Here are some instructions on how to use it. First of all, fill the jar of the fertilizer with the water-soluble food and then connect the hose. You have the choice to pick the pattern of the spraying. Squeeze the button and you’re ready to start. 

For outdoors, you need a watering can with the mixture of 1 tablespoon for a gallon of water, and for indoors 1/2 teaspoon for a gallon of water.

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Signs Of Overfertilization in Hibiscus Plant

The signs of overfertilization are quite visible, however, you have to identify that you have overfed the hibiscus plant. Many factors can give literally the same signs. Remember, the solution is easier than identification. Here are some visual signs of overfertilization. 

  1. You spot some crust of fertilizer on the surface.
  2. Yellowish tips of leaves.
  3. The hibiscus plant becomes limp 
  4. Quite slow growth or no growth at all.
  5. The seedlings 
  6. Leaves are falling off and look pale.
  7. The stem has leaned over.

If you wonder what will happens when you add more fertilizer than necessary, the soil is exposed to too much salt and hurts other beneficial little microorganisms occurred in the soil.

A Brief Recap

Fertilizing hibiscus is a little bit challenging because the process of repetition will be tiring for many people. Hibiscus asks for frequency between 1 time a week or 1 time every 2 weeks fertilization in a light way. 

I cannot pass without mentioning to wear protective gloves and a face mask while using chemical fertilizers and organic ones isn’t doing much damage.

As for when to fertilize the hibiscus, early spring, after the first blooming, in the mid-summer and early winter.

Further Reading

Here you have how to revive the hibiscus plant in case the plant is about to die. Save it for later these topics on killing the blackberry bushes easily or getting rid of dallisgrass.

Read the article to get some tips on how to keep the sensitive anthurium blooming.

Natalia Michalska

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