China Rose, hibiscus rosa sinensis

Yellow china rose with a few leaves against a pale gray background.

China rose, also called Chinese hibiscus or Hawaiian hibiscus, is a symbol of everything exotic.

Key China rose facts

NameHibiscus rosa sinensis
FamilyMalvaceae (mallow family)
Type – indoor plant

Height – 1 ⅓ to 5 feet (0.4 to 1.5 meters) (up to 13 feet (4 meters) in their natural environment)
Exposure – well-lit
Foliage – evergreen if grown indoors

Flowering – March to November

They are plants that boast rare beauty and bloom over an extended period of time. In our latitudes they are mostly grown as indoor plants, however they can be grown outdoors wherever the climate permits, that is, as long as it never freezes outside.

Planting and re-potting of China rose

China roses of various types in ornate pots in a painter's workplace.If the China rose you have just purchased is already bearing flowers, do not re-pot the plant because this may disturb it. Hibiscus rosa sinensis likes feeling a bit tight in its pot.

  • Repotting China roses is generally performed in March, before plant growth resumes.
  • Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the previous one.
  • Place at the bottom of it a bed of gravel or clay beads to ensure drainage.
  • Ideally, prepare one part soil mix and one part heath.

If you wish to grow your China roses outdoors, it must not freeze in your area. Growing outdoors is only possible in zones with mild or tropical climates.

  • Choose a sun-bathed area, sheltered from stronger winds.
  • Plant your China rose in a mix of garden soil, soil mix and heath.

If it freezes in your area, choose a different hibiscus variety, althea or rose mallow.

Propagate China roses through cuttings in spring or summer.

Caring for and pruning China Rose

Your China roses will be all the more beautiful and full of flowers if you prune them at the beginning of spring.

  • Prune lightly, focus on remodeling the silhouette delicately in March.

During the growth phase, add flower plant fertilizer to spur vegetation and ensure that your China roses will bloom spectacularly.

Watering China rose

Watering China roses in fall and winter

When your hibiscus has entered dormancy, start reducing water input to match ambient temperatures.

  • The cooler it is, the less water a plant needs.
  • Conversely, if temperatures hover around 65°F (18°C), it will be necessary to water more.

Watering China roses in spring and summer

This is the period when water needs are the highest.

  • Watering once or twice a week should be enough.
  • It is crucial to not drown roots and let the ground dry off before watering again.

Diseases and parasites that attack China rose

China rose leaves start to wither and leaves turn themselves inside-out:

  • This is often due to excess heat or exposure to the sun is too strong.
  • It may help to place the pot in a basin of soft or non-hard water for a short while and then drain it out.

Hibiscus rosa sinensis leaves are sticky and pasty and little insects invade leaves:

  • This is an aphid attack, here is how to fight them.

Flower buds fall off before blooming;

  • This is often related to excessive air dryness.
  • Avoid setting the plant near a radiator or an overly exposed window.
  • Place the pot on a bed of gravel or clay pebbles doused in water.

Leaves are covered with a white cottony felt:

Leaves drop off unexpectedly and suddenly:

  • This is connected to excess water. Wait until soil surface is dry before watering again.
  • Avoid cold breezes or sudden changes in temperature.

Smart tip about China rose

To boost flower-bearing, remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois): Flower Council Holland