HIBISCUS FOR DAYS

Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

The Hibiscus originating from China sure can produce the most flamboyant flowers and is the ultimate plant for creating a touch of the tropics. It forms huge blooms, up to 10cm in diameter, on a shrubby upright plant that you can train to grow as a small tree.

 

THE FLOWERS

The fantastic individual blossoms only last a day or two, but with so many blooms you barely have the chance to notice the ones you’ve missed. The Hibiscus bloom’s freely from late spring through autumn and occasionally spot flowers through winter so they are worth the effort. The giant blooms are eye-catching and irresistible. Plus, hibiscus come in a dizzying array of colour’s from shades of red to pink to orange, yellow and white.

 

THE ENVIROMENT

They are tough, too. Even a neglected hibiscus can continue to flower through the harshest conditions. It prefers uniformly moist soil and be sure they always receive optimal sunlight. Full sun for the whole day will see your hibiscus grow and flower to its full potential. Hibiscus plants in any level of shade will tend to be leggy and will not flower well and it’s great to also note they are also second line salt tolerant so perfect for the costal home.

 

POTTED HIBISCUS

Hibiscus plants are great because they can be grown in containers, which works well if you live in a climate affected by frost, as they can be brought inside on those cold nights. But remember that they will depend on you in grown in pots and containers for all their water and nutritional needs. Glazed ceramic or terracotta pots are preferable, but not essential. Plastic pots sitting in the sun can tend to overheat the root system, which in time can lead to health problems.

 

WATERING

In warm weather, you should be watering your hibiscus plant on a daily basis. During the winter months it should be watered about every 7-8 days or when the first 5cm of soil feels dry.

 

PRUNING

Pruning hibiscus is a great way to give these plants just what they need, as it helps stimulate budding on new shoots. When to prune depends on the specifics of your area and growing conditions. The main idea is to prune just before a warming trend is coming, so that your hibiscus will grow very actively, and the increasing warmth will pull them forward into lush new growth.  It also rejuvenates the plants while encouraging them to maintain an attractive appearance and healthy, vigorous growth. Don't be afraid to cut far down the stem, leaving 3-4 nodes on each main branch and be sure to leave some leaves on the plant. After a heavy pruning there should still be a dozen or so healthy green leaves to carry on the photosynthesis the plant needs.

 

WHAT COULD GO GRONG

Yellow leaves the plant gets with time usually mean that these leaves are getting old and soon will be replaced. If there are too many yellow leaves, this means the bush is stressed. The commonest reasons of the stress occurrence are:

·       pest infestation

·       under-watering

·       drastic environmental changes