Are Hibiscus an Annual or Perennial?

Hibiscus is a shrub that features large vibrantly-colored flowers during the summer. There is confusion about whether Hibiscus is an annual or a perennial. There are two varieties of Hibiscus: hardy Hibiscus and tropical Hibiscus. Both types are perennials, but the tropical variety is grown as an annual in some instances.


What is Hardy Hibiscus?

Hardy Hibiscus are perennial plants that grow in zones 4 through 8. As long as they are adequately protected in the winter, they will come back each year. Wrapping a hardy Hibiscus in fabric will ward off the winter chill and ensure the plant is ready to go come spring. A type of hibiscus, rose of sharon, is also typically cold hardy up to growing zone 5.


What is Tropical Hibiscus?

As the name implies, tropical Hibiscus grow in warmer areas and can be found in zones 9, 10, and 11. When grown in a warm climate, tropical Hibiscus is a perennial that will survive the winter. The tropical variety prefers temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees. It is best to cover the plant overnight if the temperature is expected to dip below 50 degrees.  

Tropical Hibiscus may go dormant during the winter, but this plant can grow all year with the right conditions. Typically these are grown as hibiscus trees and grown as an ornamental annual in colder climates.


Can You Grow a Hibiscus as an Annual?

Tropical Hibiscus are not cut out for winter weather, but many gardeners love the blooms and choose to grow this plant in colder regions. Tropical Hibiscus can handle summertime weather in zones 4 through 8, but once the temperature drops, the plant will die back if left outdoors. 

Some cold-area gardeners grow tropical Hibiscus outdoors as an annual. Another option is to grow tropical Hibiscus as a potted plant. The container can spend the summer outdoors, and before the cold temperatures settle in, the Hibiscus can be brought inside.

Tropical Hibiscus is not always easy to grow as houseplants due to the light, humidity, and temperatures needed. Still, the perennial Hibiscus plant can survive the winter indoors and go back outside when the spring temperature is consistently above 55 degrees.

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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 13-12-2021