Hibiscus has large delicate flowers that bear some resemblance to holly-hocks. See more pictures of house plants.

Hibiscus, or rose of China, is an indoor shrub that is related to the cotton plant. Its pretty flowers come in many different colors.

The hibiscus is an attractive indoor shrub with glossy, maple-like leaves and short-lived, holly-hocklike flowers in shades of red, pink, yellow, orange, and white that are over six inches in diameter. Varieties with variegated leaves also exist.


Modern hibiscus are treated with a growth retardant before sale, keeping the plant compact for up to a year or more. After that, the plant will quickly head for the ceiling, although it can be kept under control through regular pruning. Watch out for spider mites.

Hibiscus Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Common Names: Hibiscus, Rose of China

Light Requirement for Hibiscus: Full Sun to Bright Light

Water Requirement for Hibiscus: Evenly Moist

Humidity for Hibiscus: High

Temperature for Hibiscus: Cool to House

Fertilizer for Hibiscus: High Phosphorus

Potting Mix for Hibiscus: All-Purpose

Propagation of Hibiscus: Stem Cuttings

Decorative Use for Hibiscus: Floor, Table

Care Rating for Hibiscus: Demanding

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Larry Hodgson is a full time garden writer out of Quebec City in the heart of French Canada where he grows well over 3,000 species and varieties. His book credits include Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho's Complete Guide to Houseplants, as well as other titles in English and French. He's the winner of the Perennial Plant Association's 2006 Garden Media Award.