Floral tattoos will never go out of style, and hibiscus tattoos are the reigning queens of the ink garden.
There are many species of hibiscus, also known by rose mallow, its proper botanical name.
But the hibiscus bloom you’re likely familiar with is the kind depicted in a popular emoji.
Close your eyes and picture deep pink petals in a trumpet-like shape.
A small, Dr. Seuss style stem protrudes from the middle of this flower.
On that stem are small pom-pom protrusions that give it a whimsical sexiness.
Once you’ve seen a hibiscus flower, you’ll never forget it.
These tropical blooms have captured the hearts of all who see them.
There is so much myth and folklore around these gorgeous botanical creatures.
It’s no surprise to see so many of them in tattoo designs.
Did you recently stumble upon this beautiful bloom?
Are you looking to get a hibiscus tattoo of your very own?
Are you excited about your latest tattoo design, and need the perfect finishing touch?
Before diving into any new piece, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge about your chosen symbol.
A hibiscus tattoo is not specific to any one culture, so it is available to anyone who might choose it.
But isn’t it fun to learn, and learn deeply? Learn everything there is to know about hibiscus tattoos and you can look down at your design with pride.
Where do Hibiscus Flowers Come From?
It is difficult to pink down the exact origins of the hibiscus flower.
Once people saw it, they began transporting it all over the world to enjoy themselves.
Now there are more variations and colors of Hibiscus flowers than we may ever discover!
Hibiscus flowers are tropical and thrive in hot humid soil.
Botanists spectate it all started on the continent of Asia in China or India.
Both cultures have their own mythology when it comes to this dazzling blossom.
Hibiscus Symbolism in Different Cultures
When people see something beautiful, they seek to understand it.
This is how we have thrust so much meaning upon this delicate little bloom.
In tattoo culture, the hibiscus is generally worn by women.
But there’s nothing preventing another gender from sporting a hibiscus tattoo.
They do pop up in Polynesian tribal tattoos, which are often worn by men.
In the tattoo world, hibiscus often symbolizes the beauty and delicacy of a young woman.
Their deep, passionate hues can also stand for love or lusty feelings.
When lovers want to avoid name tattoos, they may go for a hibiscus as a sign of devotion.
People with Polynesian background will often pair a sea turtle with a hibiscus.
This design has many visual interpretations, and each one is unique.
The sea turtle symbolizes longevity and strength.
Paired with the tropical hibiscus flower, it makes a statement of Polynesian pride.
The hibiscus is Malaysia’s official flower.
In Malay culture, the red petals of the hibiscus represent courage.
The hibiscus won over other beautiful flower options because of its five petals.
In Malaysia, there are 5 National Principles known as Rukun Negara.
This set of principals is the direct result of race wars in Malaysia in 1970.
Now, children recite the pledge in school. The 5 principals are:
- Belief in God
- Loyalty to the King and Country
- Supremacy of Constitution
- Rule of Law
- Courtesy and Morality
In Malaysia, a hibiscus tattoo is a symbol of national pride and respect for these values.
In China, the hibiscus flower is not assigned to any gender.
In this culture it symbolizes wealth and fame.
It is appropriate as a celebration of an accomplishment and is a popular gift in such situations.
Why not make the party last forever with a hibiscus tattoo?
Fame and glory may be fleeting, but you’ll always have a reminder of that special moment.
In the Hindu belief system, colorful flowers decorate elaborate shrines.
Hibiscus flowers are one of the official offerings made to Kali.
This fierce goddess is distinct among others.
Because of her passion, and because she is always seen with her tongue sticking out.
The projection in the middle of the hibiscus makes the flower look like it is sticking out its tongue.
So, naturally it is Kali’s preferred blossom.
Main Themes in Hibiscus Tattoos
Turtle Hibiscus Tattoos
Hummingbird and Hibiscus Tattoos
Skull and Hibiscus Tattoos
The Meanings of Colors in Hibiscus Tattoos
Red Hibiscus Tattoos
As with many red things, a red hibiscus represents passion.
Pink Hibiscus Tattoos
Representing romantic love, friendship, and youth.
Purple Hibiscus Tattoos
A regal color that can also suggest mystery.
Purple is a special color in nature, and one of the rarer ones to find.
That may be why it has regal and spiritual connotations.
You’re a rare beauty, why not celebrate that with a tattoo to match?
Yellow Hibiscus Tattoos
A rare hibiscus, but beautiful; it represents happiness and good omens.
White Hibiscus Tattoos
Purity, innocence, and youth.
Hibiscus Tattoo Designs
Hibiscus flowers may be one of the more popular floral designs in the world of ink, but they’re far from cliché.
There are so many ways to portray this luscious bloom.
Whether you’re looking for something bold and bright, sexy, and subdued, or something in between, there’s a way to make hibiscus flowers work with your inky aesthetic.
Read on to discover the many ways to interpret a hibiscus design.
Black and Grey Hibiscus Tattoos
If you’re building a collection of black and grey designs, you may think you have to avoid florals.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
What’s nice about a black and grey floral tattoo is that potentially distracting hues are swapped for depth and detail.
A black and grey hibiscus tattoo will showcase the unique shape of the flower.
There are so many innovative techniques in black and grey tattooing.
Your artist can create dimension with realistic shading or creative play between light and shadow.
This style is ideal for someone who loves a striking design but never wants their tattoo to clash with their clothing.
It’s basic black, minus the basic.
Realistic Hibiscus Tattoos
Why mess with a beautiful thing?
A hibiscus is such a dazzling flower all on its own, and a realistic tattoo design will show that natural beauty off.
These realistic floral pieces have photo-realism qualities with a little artistic flair.
The muted, organic tones are highly saturated, with light and shadow adding some extra visual interest.
The final result is something like an oil painting.
A realistic hibiscus tattoo is a perfect choice for someone who wants a piece of artistic expression on their skin but doesn’t like that traditional tattoo look.
Black-work Hibiscus Tattoos
Black-work is a perfect blend between abstract contemporary designs and black and grey restraint.
You want a tattoo that’s somehow striking and subtle?
Black-work tattoos straddle that line.
Black-work involves using large sections of deeply saturated black ink for stunning contrast.
We love to see this style applied to flower tattoos because it’s well balanced between masculine and feminine elements.
These tattoos are perfect for someone who wants a unique design but isn’t a fan of bright colors.
Illustrative Hibiscus Tattoos
“Illustrative” is a wide umbrella term.
It can incorporate realistic, old school, and Neo-traditional techniques.
The main calling card for an illustrative tattoo is it’s “drawn on” quality.
Tattoos like this aren’t meant to look all the way cartoonish, but they aren’t realistic either.
They’re a good choice for someone creative with artistic flair because there’s a lot of versatility within the style.
Because there are no rules for a “proper” illustrative design, you can add all kinds of personal charm and customization to your illustrative hibiscus tattoo.
We personally love a pineapple as a nod toward the flower’s tropical roots.
Dot-work Hibiscus Tattoos
If you’re envisioning a floral piece with a soft, delicate quality, consider a dot-work style for your hibiscus tattoo.
Dot work is born out of the pen and ink art form and uses thousands of tiny dots to create a soft, elegant end result.
Dots will be placed closer or farther from each other to create the illusion of depth and shading.
This is a perfect look for someone who wants a floral tattoo design but isn’t a fan of bold outlines and wall to wall color fills.
Watercolor Hibiscus Tattoos
Hibiscus tattoos don’t have to be so literal.
Sometimes it’s nice to see that an artist can capture the essence of their subject, rather than every last detail.
In a watercolor tattoo, bursts of color splatter and bleed, just like in a watercolor painting.
Some watercolor tattoos have an outline, others boldly go without one.
Watercolor hibiscus tattoos have a lively expressive quality, but multi-layered “washes” of color keep the aesthetic soft.
It’s a beautiful choice for someone who wants something a little different.
Etching Hibiscus Tattoos
As technology becomes more advanced, we begin to see a romantic attitude toward vintage artistry and techniques.
An etching hibiscus tattoo combines fresh, modern techniques with a retro aesthetic for a design that’s fresh with a nostalgic spin.
Etching tattoos look like they’ve been carved out of wood.
They’re especially well suited to floral designs because of their romantic, yesteryear quality.
They almost have an old west feel to them, perfect for someone in the modern world with an old soul.
Neo-traditional Hibiscus Tattoos
The Neo-traditional style is a perfect fit for a hibiscus tattoo.
Neo-traditional tattoos are bold, highly saturated, and full of ornate curvy lines.
Many of the colors in the Neo-traditional palette are muted and organic, making them well suited to flowers.
If you want American traditional chutzpah with a splash of ornamental detailing, you’ll be happy with a Neo-traditional Hibiscus tattoo.
One Line Tattoos
In one line artwork, the artist has the challenge of making a design recognizable with just one continuous line.
That means no shading, no small details, just one long line.
A one line tattoo can be a beautiful way to utilize negative space, creating a simple yet unforgettable design.
In a one line tattoo, only the most essential details are included.
It’s interesting how, in this one line hibiscus tattoo, we recognize the hibiscus immediately.
Stripping something to its basics can be a truly stunning approach.
American Traditional Tattoos
American traditional tattoos and hibiscus flowers go together like ice cream and apple pie.
The entire American Traditional design was born out of a sailor’s love for the island of Hawaii.
If you like bold outlines and even bolder fills of deep, saturated color, look no further than an American traditional tattoo.
An American Traditional Hibiscus tattoo will be purposefully 2D.
It’s a tattoo that looks like a tattoo, perfect for those with an enthusiasm for the classic styles of American tattoo’s beginnings.
Hibiscus Tattoo Ideas
Hibiscus is a beautiful, versatile design that has become a classic in the tattoo world for good reason.
Still on the fence?
Check out this bouquet of botanical tattoos for some inspiration!
Small Hibiscus Tattoos
Social media star Tasia Alexis has a small hibiscus tattoo inside of her ear.
It’s a sweet, simple design that makes a statement without being too distracting.
The Hibiscus is well suited to the tiny tattoo movement because it can be recognizable without a lot of detail.
These tattoos are perfect for someone who wants to mark an occasion but isn’t necessarily interested in being tatted up.
Small tattoos are also great if you plan on building a tattoo collection over time.
What memory will you immortalize with your small hibiscus tattoo?
The hips are a sensual place for a tattoo design, making them a perfect match for a sexy hibiscus.
Because of a hibiscus flower’s expressive and curvaceous shape, it can flow with curvier parts of the body quite nicely.
Simple Hibiscus Tattoos
Keep it simple, sugar.
Sometimes the most effective choice is the most subtle one.
We love the delicate qualities of these gorgeous hibiscus tattoos.
Ornamental Hibiscus Tattoos
Realistic tattoos can be framed with abstract ornamental styles for a look that’s the best of both worlds.
This is a great way to make a tattoo flow with the shape of your body, as the ornamental features are versatile.
Color Hibiscus Tattoos
We love hibiscus flowers for their sumptuous tropical blooms, and they deserve to be captured in a color tattoo.
Go bold and get bright and beautiful with an expressive color palette.
Hibiscus Tattoo Artists You Should Follow
For more floral tattoos, go to:
Hibiscus Tattoo FAQ
Red: as with many red things, a red hibiscus represents passion.
Pink: romantic love, friendship, and youth.
Purple: a regal color that can also suggest mystery.
Yellow: a rare hibiscus, but beautiful; it represents happiness and good omens.
White: purity, innocence, and youth.