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Hibiscus Flowers – How to grow the plant, what soil conditions, and care needed




A large number of you must have seen Hibiscus flowers (Hibiscus on Wikipedia), you know those large red or orange flowers with the stamen. These are tropical plants, that can also easily grow in pots, and can live for a large number of years as long as you take good care of them. They go in a wide range with the flowers ranging in size from anywhere between 2 inches to almost a foot in diameter. Similarly, the plants can vary in size between bush sizes plants to tall ones ranging to 6 feet in height. As a result, you need to plan for the ones you need, since they could be used for pots, or in hedges, or for ornamental use in gardens.

Hibiscus and fear of frost

Hibiscus are however afraid of frost, so if you live in an area with frost, then they should be taken indoors; if in zones 9 and 10, then you can cover them and leave them outside when frost threatens (although covering in plastic should be the last resort, best to cover with mulch or straw). However, if you are in zone 8 or more north where the frost is thicker, then they should be brought indoors, else you are in danger of losing your plants.

Hibiscus and soil conditions

When planting anything, you should have read about the soil condition needed for the plant. For Hibiscus, the soil should be well draining, as the roots will rot if left in soil which is water logged. The soil should ideally be a good mixture of organic matter (peat, moss, or the universal favorite, compost), sand and topsoil. If you can ensure the pH condition of the soil, keep it between 6 and 7. Once you have planted them, ensure that you do mulching regularly, since this helps in retaining surface moisture present in the soil, and also improves availability of nutrients. Make sure that you have prepared the soil before planting, and this will ensure a long life for your plant.

Hibiscus and continuous care

Hibiscus normally are not very comfortable with lifting, which is why we mentioned in the beginning that you should plan for where you want to plant them. Once planted, monitor the pH and if necessary, add garden lime to adjust the pH levels. Add organic material when required to ensure that the soil has enough organic material in it. Hibiscus needs light and some amount of warmth to survive and thrive, even if this is only for a few hours every day. If not enough in winter, then use artificial light. In winter, the water may need to be heated to some extent to ensure that you are not watering with cold water.

Pruning of your hibiscus plant

Like any other plant, you need to ensure that you carry out pruning of the plant to increase the life of the plant, shape the plant, and to produce better flowers. You should carry out pruning of your plants before the growth of the new season, typically around September; this can be later, but should never be too close to the first frost. When the plant grows too woody (which happens every few years), then prune hard, cutting back to the main trunk and leaving a few branches. This will add a lot of life to the plant. Watch out for a lot of yellow leaves in the plant, since that means that the plant is under stress, and you need to worry about the cause of the stress (pests, low water, etc).

Link: Lots of articles for Hibiscus.
Lots of photos of Hibiscus at pbase (link)
Photos of Hibiscus at betterphoto.com (link)





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