Hibiscus: The Hawaii State Flower and its Amazing Properties

shutterstock 778098709 1 FloraQueen EN Hibiscus: The Hawaii State Flower and its Amazing Properties

In 1988, the Hawaiian hibiscus, formerly known as hibiscus brackenridgei, became the official Hawaiian flower. The yellow hibiscus is cultivated as an ornamental plant in regions with mild winters. It is a gorgeous hibiscus with luxurious foliage and contrasting flowers.

The hibiscus is a perennial shrub belonging to the malvaceae family. It grows in semi-open areas, in scrubland, fallow ground, or along rivers. In several African countries, the plant is consumed or used for medicinal properties.

The flower is a symbol of beautiful summer and exoticism. There are two types of hibiscus: indoor and outdoor. The indoor hibiscus is also called “Chinese Rose,” and the outdoor hibiscus is named “Mauve tree.”  Both of them require limited maintenance to reveal their magnificent flowers. 

Today, in this article, we are going to learn more about planting and growing this stunning flower.

•       Description

•       Planting

•       How to grow yellow hibiscus?

•       Choosing the right location

•       Watering the hibiscus

•       Pests and diseases

•       Symbolism

•       Medicinal properties


Hibiscus calyphyllus is a shrubby plant with stems 1 to 3 m long but can collapse into a bush, and rarely exceeds 2 m in height. Its stems and foliage covered with dense hairs. Its alternate leaves are simple, with an oval to the orbicular blade and a slightly cordate base, sometimes divided into three lobes. The leaves are 12 to 20 cm wide, toothed, light green, and long-stalked. They produce dense and abundant foliage that forms a perfect setting for the large, pale flowers.

The flowers of hibiscus calyphyllus are about 10 cm wide, with a pretty lemon-yellow to a creamy yellow hue, which is particularly luminous. A purplish-brown center enhances light corolla. 

Additionally, the flower shows five well-spreading petals and a stamens column with purple pistils and yellow stamens. These flowers are attractive to insects. They then produce a very hairy capsule filled with 4 mm long kidney-shaped seeds.


The location for planting should be sunny or semi-shaded but with periods of direct sunlight. Put it indoors or outdoors. Outdoor cultivation is only possible up to 0 °C with wintering in a frost-free conservatory or indoors in a room with little heating.

This species can only be grown outdoors. The pot height can be up to 2 m. Adapt the pot size to the desired development. First, earthen pots allow better root respiration. Second, it is essential to provide good drainage. Finally, the substrate should be composed of peat soil and pine bark.

How to Grow Yellow Hibiscus?

The plant’s rusticity can be limited at -6 °C. It is cultivated in the open ground when the winters are mild or in pots. Make sure to put it under protection in winter.

It grows rapidly in rich, deep, humus-rich soil that remains cool throughout the year. The yellow hibiscus is resistant to drought. If you are willing to obtain fantastic lush foliage,  do not water hibiscus calyphyllus regularly. Instead, the plant should be exposed to the sun in the morning and the shade in the afternoon.

When its branches become too weak, do not hesitate to cut the plant down, even during the growing season. Even in mild areas where a large part of the stems remains alive during the winter, the cutting in spring can lead to broader and beautiful foliage.

Choosing the Right Location

All botany lovers know that choosing the right location for your plant is essential. Indoors, the hibiscus needs a lot of light to be able to flower. So select a spot near a window or behind a bay window. In winter, a minimum of six hours of sunshine or light is necessary for the hibiscus to ensure its development. 

In summer, it can be moved outside, on a terrace or a balcony. Avoid leaving the plant behind the bay window during this season of the year.

Additionally, it should not be exposed to much direct sunlight. For the outdoor hibiscus, we advise you to choose a location with a sunny to semi-shady exposure. The shrub is sensitive to frost and should, therefore, be protected by a veil of by wintering from November onwards.

Watering the Hibiscus

Watering an indoor hibiscus is directly related to the ambient temperature and the growth periods of the plant. The periods when water needs are the highest take place in spring and summer. Thus, we recommend watering your hibiscus once or twice a week.

Make sure to let the soil dry out thoroughly between waterings. You should also be careful not to overwater your hibiscus. To prevent your hibiscus from dying during your holidays, be sure to brief the neighbor who should be watering it! During autumn and winter, reduce watering significantly. The lower the temperature drops, the less water the hibiscus should need.

Pests and Diseases

Among the enemies of the hibiscus are mealy bugs and red spiders. These appear if the atmosphere is hot and dry. Spray hibiscus foliage with clean water every other day between April and October. Use manure to anticipate the appearance of pests. If you see fluff on the underside of the leaves, remove it with black soap and water.  

To get rid of these parasites, use specific products. Choose organic rather than chemical products.


The hibiscus flower has different meanings and symbols, depending on culture and tradition. In North America, the hibiscus symbolizes the perfect wife or woman. In China, a hibiscus symbolizes the beauty of fame or glory. You can offer it to both men and women.

Hibiscus comes in a rainbow of floral colors. The meanings of the colors differ from one culture to another, but they have common associations. Some hibiscus is a mixture of colors, but one color can predominate.

The white symbolizes purity, beauty, and femininity.  However, yellow is associated with happiness, radiant sunshine, and good luck. 

Moreover, pink symbolizes friendship and all forms of love, not just romantic love. Purple is associated with mystery, knowledge, and the upper classes.  Red is a symbol of desire and enthusiasm.

Medicinal Properties

Hibiscus makes a refreshing drink. It is also a mild laxative. The plant is antibacterial, a diuretic, a uterine muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic. It is also hypotensive, spasmolytic, and cholesterol-lowering. 

Hibiscus treats colds and inflammations of the upper respiratory tract. Additionally, it can treat urinary infections and menstrual pain. It also acts against hypertension, high cholesterol, fever, and stomach pain. The hibiscus helps to treat oozing eczema, allergies, dermatoses. Sometimes, people use it as a poultice.

The state of Hawaii in the United States has played an essential role in the popularity of the hibiscus. Seven species are native to the archipelago, and the hibiscus has become the state’s emblem. You can find it on the famous Hawaiian shirts. As a symbol of tropical islands, the flower renews itself continually. Additionally, hibiscus is not only appreciated for its beauty but also its medicinal effects and tastes.

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