Introduction Hibiscus flowers summons memories of Mai Tais on lanais. Their exotic blooms and glossy leaves add a dramatic accent to temperate gardens. There are many different varieties of hibiscus including perennial, annual, evergreen and deciduous. These instructions are for the Tropical Hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis). Step One Water hibiscus when the soil is dry to the touch. The roots must remain constantly moist, but not wet. Well-drained soil is key. Step Two Fertilize hibiscus every 3 weeks with a low nitrogen fertilizer (0-10-10) applied at 1/2 the label recommendation during the spring and summer. Phosphorous and potassium, the last two numbers on the fertilizer label, encourage flower production and root growth. Step Three Tip prune hibiscus to keep the plants bushy and full of blooms. Pinch off the tips of branches to encourage multiple growth tips further down the stem. Step Four Apply a layer of organic mulch under plants to prevent moisture loss and weed growth. Step Five Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer at 1/2 strength when leaf color fades. Yellow leaves indicate a hungry plant or under-watering. The foliage should be a deep glossy green. An application of a balanced slow release fertilizer in the spring will encourage new growth. Foliar feeding is acceptable. Step Six Remove faded flowers to keep plants looking tidy. Grooming also discourages insect pests by eliminating their hiding places. Step Seven Protect hibiscus from cold weather. Move plants grown in containers to a protected area. Plants grown in the ground should be covered if temperatures are expected to drop below freezing. Step Eight Apply an anti-transpirant to protect plants from excessive heat or cold. Cloud Cover is a product which prevents moisture loss through the foliage due to transpiration. Step Nine Watch closely for insect pests. White fly, aphid, scale and mealy bug are notorious for dining on hibiscus. Use an insecticidal soap to treat unwanted pests.