How to Make Fertilizer for Hibiscus

Hibiscus plants have the beautiful and exotic-looking flowers that are extremely popular in the tropics. This flowering plant also makes for a great household plant if you want to add a nice leafy plant that flowers relatively easily. If you want to keep your hibiscus plant healthy and continually flowering, it's important to know how to properly fertilize this plant.

Red Hibiscus and Green Leaves
credit: Moelyn Photos/Moment/GettyImages

Many hibiscus owners neglect their plants by not fertilizing them. This leads to the plant looking slightly lackluster with a lack of blooms or yellow leaves since it may not be obtaining the amount of nutrients it needs through the soil. Indoor hibiscus plants are kept in pots, which only provide a certain amount of nutrients since the soil it has access to is very limited.

How to Fertilize a Hibiscus Plant

It's important to fertilize your hibiscus plant because it will act as hibiscus food that will allow the plant to grow to its full potential and make it look as beautiful as possible. You can either chose to buy the fertilizer in store or make a DIY version using household items. If you go with an in-store version, you need to decide if you want a slow-release fertilizer or a water-soluble solution. Before selecting on a whim, it's important to know what you're looking at when comparing the various fertilizer options.

When checking labels, look for the letters N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus) and K (Potassium). These are the three key elements that a hibiscus plant craves because they all offer positive nutrients that will benefit the plant. The nitrogen, which can be hurtful to the roots if there's too much or too little, will promote healthy leaves.

The added phosphorus should provide a large number of blooms as well as a good root system. Finally, the potassium also helps with root development and should also give the plant an overall boost in health.

How Often Should Hibiscus be Fertilized?

The frequency in which you need to add fertilizer to the soil will depend on which fertilizer you select. If you go with a DIY fertilizer, each method will have its own frequency due to the item you select to make your fertilizer. The same rings true for water-soluble and slow-release fertilizers, which also need to be balanced fertilizers. This means they all have to have the same numbers on the product, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.

The water-soluble fertilizers should be used at half strength to make sure there's no over-fertilization. This solution should be used on the hibiscus plant every two weeks during the spring and summer months. When autumn settles in, this fertilizer should be used less often and prolonged to every four weeks over autumn and winter. The slow-release fertilizer is slightly easier as you only need to use it four times per year: after initial blooms, early spring, mid-summer and early winter.

How to Make Fertilizer

Homemade fertilizer is an easy DIY project that can come from various items found in your home. One item that's commonly found in homes is used coffee grounds. While this might seem like an unlikely item to use as fertilizer, coffee grounds actually provide nitrogen and potassium to the hibiscus plant. Simply dry the used grounds on a newspaper in sunlight for two or three days then sprinkle it over the soil from the trunk continuing outward to where the branches end.

There are two other DIY ways to fertilize your hibiscus. The first is to use eggshells that have been put through a food processor. Once they've been ground into a fine powder, simply sprinkle the powder over the soil. If you have a fish tank in your home, the dirty fish water can be used to water your plants. There's no need to prepare anything for this fertilizer because your fish have already done the work. Use this dirty water to water all houseplants, including your hibiscus, every other week for great results.


Lisa Dingman

Lisa Dingman

Taking on the role of the household's 'handyman' was a natural path for me. Watching my dad as a child be able to fix anything made me want to be just like him. Now with I toolbox of my own I tackle any task that my home throws my way. If the task can be accomplished with my own two hands I have never been the type to hire someone else to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than staring at your completed project while you brush some dirt from your hands.