Why does hibiscus not bear fruit?

Should I remove dead flowers from hibiscus?

Covered with withered flowers, the garden hibiscus can no longer be talked about of lavish beauty. Every year in late summer and autumn, the picturesque ornamental shrub becomes a horticultural problem child. It's similar to its exotic counterpart on the windowsill called Chinese rose hawk. The question arises as to how to deal with dead flowers on the hibiscus indoors and outdoors. Read this guide to find out how to do it right.


Differentiate garden hibiscus and indoor hibiscus

The splendid family of mallow plants with the species-rich hibiscus genus gives us lavish flowering trees for the garden, balcony and living room. The most popular types in Central Europe are Hibiscus syriacus, in German Garten-Eibisch or Straucheibisch, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, in German Chinese rose hibiscus or room hibiscus.

Both species come from tropical or subtropical regions of Asia and inspire with colorful, up to 20 centimeters large cupped flowers. Regardless of their common origin and growth as woody flower beauties, garden hibiscus and indoor hibiscus show striking differences:

Garden hibiscus, hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus)

  • Height: 150 to 250 cm
  • Flowering period: July to September
  • deciduous
  • hardy: temperature minimum - 17.8 degrees Celsius

Room hibiscus, rose hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

  • Height: 80 to 120 cm, rarely higher
  • Flowering period: February to October
  • evergreen
  • not hardy: temperature minimum 10 degrees Celsius

Both species lay their beautiful flowers on this year's wood. Pollinated flowers transform into capsule fruits up to 2 centimeters in size with kidney-shaped, 2 to 4 millimeter long seeds. If the capsule fruits tear open, the seeds are distributed with the wind. Garden hibiscus in particular makes itself unpopular with this behavior because it tends to be invasive self-sowing.

Remove dead flowers from garden hibiscus

The long flowering period from summer to autumn does not mean that a single hibiscus flower will live that many months. Rather, there is a lively growth and decay on the garden hibiscus. New buds continually unfold, while the colorful shell flowers gradually wither. There are two reasons why you should regularly remove dead flowers. Each pollinated flower turns into a large capsule, bulging with seeds.

A garden hawk invests a lot of energy in the growth of seed heads and neglects the creation of new buds. Furthermore, after a rain shower, dried-up petals lay over deeper, closed flower buds. Sticky buds can only unfold with difficulty or fall unopened to the ground. Regularly cleaning out faded flowers makes a significant contribution to the fact that a garden hibiscus shows its best side.

How to do it right:

  • Grasp wilted flower with one hand
  • Grasp the flower stalk between your index finger and thumb
  • cancel to the side
  • alternatively, bend the faded flower to the side with one hand
  • Use scissors to cut off everything that has faded on the flower stem

No more withered hibiscus flowers should be removed from mid-September. Breaking out or cutting causes the shoot to grow more rapidly. Fresh shoots in autumn affect winter hardiness. The last withered hibiscus flowers should be removed as part of the pruning care, which ideally takes place in early spring.

Tip: fertilize your garden hibiscus with compost or nettle manure after cleaning out dead flowers. The additional nutrients ensure that dormant, tightly closed buds open quickly for an opulent re-bloom. From the end of August, stop the supply of nutrients so that the shoots mature before winter.

Indoor hibiscus sheds dead flowers

In living rooms and conservatories, winged pollinators do not have access to the room hibiscus. From February onwards, Chinese rose hibiscus is full of confidence and will put on its magnificent flower garment to attract bees, bumblebees and butterflies.

If the exotic beauty registers that its efforts are unsuccessful, it throws off withered flowers without further ado. There is no need for the rose hawk to invest further energy in an inflorescence that does not produce seeds and offspring. It is up to your personal judgment whether you are waiting for the course of nature or plucking off an annoying, wilted flower.

Clean up rose hawk on the balcony
Zimmer-Hibiskus likes to show off its lavish blossoms on the summer balcony. If Chinese rose hawk is outdoors from June to August / September, busy bees, bumblebees and butterflies will not miss this opportunity. In the hunt for nectar, the shell flowers are pollinated by the insects. Now your indoor hibiscus does not dream of shedding its fertilized flowers. From the numerous seeds, the Asian flower beauty expects a whole host of offspring and invests all her energy in the growth of capsule fruits.

According to hibiscus experts, this process can significantly affect the abundance of flowers in the coming flowering season. It is therefore advisable to remove faded flowers from Chinese rose hawk on the balcony as soon as possible. At the latest when the long stylus column swells in the middle of the blossom, it is time to intervene. The procedure is no different from cleaning out withered inflorescences on the garden hibiscus.

Tip: Use scissors with a bypass mechanism if you cut off dead flowers on the hibiscus. Scissors with this functionality have two sharp cutting edges and leave smooth cuts. Anvil scissors, on the other hand, are based on a sharp cutting edge and a blunt opposite side, the anvil. This carries a high risk of bruised shoots.

frequently asked Questions

Is garden hibiscus poisonous?
Garden hibiscus and indoor hibiscus do not contain any toxic substances. Thus, the picturesque flowering shrub is perfect for the family garden. The safety also includes pets. There is nothing to worry about when your dog, cat or rabbit nibble on flowers and leaves.

Because I failed to remove dead flowers on the hibiscus, numerous seed heads developed. How can I stop unwanted self-sowing anyway?
Take action before the capsule fruits open and spread myriads of seeds in the garden. You can choose between two approaches. Take a pair of scissors and cut off all seed heads step by step. It goes faster if you wipe off the ripening fruit manually. Hold a bowl with one hand while wiping off the seed heads from bottom to top with the other hand.

My 10 year old garden hibiscus has bloomed splendidly. Now at the end of September the shrub is still full of buds that do not open. What to do?
The cause of the problem is presumably cold and wet autumn weather. If the temperatures drop below 10 degrees at night, the last flowers get stuck in their buds. Gently shaking the garden hibiscus is enough and many buds will fall off. This is a natural process that does not require any action. If you prune the hibiscus next spring, you will remove any remaining buds and last withered flowers.