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Hibiscus: Plant That Blooms All Year

By Serba Agiobu-Kemmer
04 July 2015   |   4:40 am
HIBISCUS flowers are recognizable by their large colorful blossoms, which create stunning display all-year attracting humming birds, butterflies and bees to a garden.

Apricot BrandyHIBISCUS flowers are recognizable by their large colorful blossoms, which create stunning display all-year attracting humming birds, butterflies and bees to a garden.

Their large blooms can be up to a foot wide. Consisting of hundreds of species, the hibiscus (hibiscus spp.) plant helps create a high tropical ambiance in your garden, no matter what variety. Hibiscus is a genus of flower plants in the mallow family, Malvaceael (including the okra plant).

It is quite large containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Commonly known simply as Hibiscus, or less so as rose mallow, the genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants as well as woody shrubs and small trees.

The generic name was derived from the Greek world ‘‘hibiskos” which was the name Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40-90) gave it. There are many different species in the hibiscus family that are used in gardening, agriculture, and manufacturing. The over 200 hibiscus spp. Vary in size, color and cold hardiness.

Blooms may be white, red, pink, yellow, blue, purple, peach, orange, salmon, or bi-color. Preparing to plant Choose type of Hibiscus plant: Hibiscus comes in a variety of colors and appearance, what is more important than choosing the look of the plant, is finding one that will thrive in your local environment.

Double pink hibiscus To grow hibiscus in your home garden, it’s important to know the three main types of plants: Tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, China Rose) Hardy Perennial Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos ‘‘Rose mallow,” ‘‘Mash Mallow;” Hibiscus mutabilis; Hibiscus coccineus ‘‘scarlet hibiscus,” Hibiscus grandiflora) Hardy hibiscus shrub (Hibiscus syriacus, Althea officinalis or Rose-of-Sharon) Generally speaking, they can be categorized simply as tropical and hardy. Tropical will grow in areas with warm weather and temperature above 50F (10c) throughout the year.

Hardy hibiscus are hybrid that have been developed to grow in cold wintery areas. Here we choose the tropical hibiscus which is relevant to our climate and region which is a tropical zone.

Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis or Rose of China) is a popular choice for tropical gardens and container plants. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a flowering plant that blooms all year-round. It grows as a small shrub or tree, with stiff woody stems and thick glossy dark green leaves.

It has large eye-catching flowers and is cultivated throughout the tropics and other warm climates. Hibiscus vary in size. The normal height is 12 to 18 inches, but they can grow to as high as 5 feet if not cut back.

Tropical hibiscus has glossy flowers of red, pink, orange, yellow, salmon, peach, double or single flowers. While many common garden varieties have 3-6 inches wide blooms, many of the hybrid can have blooms around 10 inches in diameter under ideal conditions. Hardy hibiscus do not come in these colors or in double petals.

Many tropical hibiscus flowers have more than one color in a bloom either in bands or as spots. Tropical hibiscus are popular ConfederateRose(H. mutabilis). plants for the landscape and growing indoors.

As plants native to sunny warm and usually humid tropical places, they detest cold, rainy weather and cold wet soil. They will not survive a day in any wintery condition. In temperate zone, they can only be enjoyed as container plants outdoor in the summer but need to be taken indoors before night temperature drop below 40 F.

They will need a bright sunny area, or under fluorescent lights or in a green house where the optimum temperatures indoors are between 55-70 F and water when they are dry.

Tropical hibiscus are wonderful and you can enjoy them in the garden landscape and as houseplants in both the northern regions of the planet in cold climates, as well as the tropics.

As house plants they beautify our homes, and create an ambience that makes us feel good. Keep hibiscus growing all year by regular watering, fertilizing and providing as much light as possible and right temperatures and other conditions.

Propagation Decide how you are going to grow your hibiscus As with most flowering plants, there are three general ways to grow your hibiscus from seed from transplant, or from a cutting.

Growing from seed can be fun, because you can create an entirely new cultivar by crossing two existing varieties of hibiscus. On the other hand, growing from seed requires the most work and you may not be successful. If you are looking for a quick and immediate results, you should find a pre-existing potted hibiscus to transplant into your garden.

When buying hibiscus, look for plants that have lots of new buds and healthy leaves. Growing from cuttings is the least likely to be successful as it requires specific conditions in order to work out.

If you’re new to gardening or growing hibiscus, avoid growing from cuttings. You may not have much variety of choice when growing from a pre-existing potted plant as nurseries typically carry a few varieties of hibiscus seedling or transplants.

Double yellow hibiscus CopyUses Hibiscus bring a touch lush tropical paradise to your home interior or exterior. Hibiscus can be used as specimen shrub or to create a hedge, adding interest along a bare wall, screen an unsightly fence, to create a tropical paradise by a swimming pool, or as cut flowers for floral arrangements.

Fortunately for the hibiscus grower, there are very few diseases and pests that attack healthy growing hibiscus. As with all living things, it’s far better to prevent disease before its strikes than to have to deal with it after it strikes.

Just like other plants they have their own set of issues, but not much. Knowing the symptoms of diseases that can affect your hibiscus will help in curing the plant before it’s too late. Like humans, and pets many illnesses can be cured with good hygiene, nutrition, and good clean air flow.

Diseases prevention Vigorous Growth Growth is one of the best protection against disease that you can give your hibiscus. When a plant is growing vigorously, the immune system is also working vigorously and the hibiscus is much more capable of protecting itself from any kind of bacterial fungal or viral attack.

If your plant is languishing and not growing, the immune system is also languishing, and the plant will be most at risk for a disease. So first line at defense against disease is keep your hibiscus growing and thriving all year by regular watering, fertilizing and providing as much light as possible.

Be sure to cut back leggy, leafless shoots. Good Hygiene Most bacterial and fungal infections begin with some kind of poor hygiene. Rotting flowers sticking to stems, soggy soil and roots with stagnating water, dirty pruning shears, untreated broken branches – all these can allow disease microbes into the cells of our hibiscus.

Manage any pest: It may be beneficial to add a layer of mulch to your hibiscus garden, so this will block out weeds and trap in moisture.

Pullout any weeds on sight, so that your hibiscus are not forced to compete for space and nutrients. Tropical hibiscus tend to have issues with pest on occasion, more so than hardy varieties. If you notice spotting or decaying leaves, try using an origanic insecticide to kill any disease or bugs harming the hibiscus plants.

Yellow leaves are caused by root damage or lack of water. They may be result of over fertilizing. Watering Are you watering your hibiscus correctly? Too much or too little will stress a hibiscus and impede growth. Try to keep your hibiscus plant moist not soaking wet.

Make sure that the soil is damp at all times as when it dries out, it can cause wilting and heat stroke in plants. Choose the perfect location Try to find a sunny site that has good drainage, water pooling will draw out your hibiscus on the other hand avoid a location that is primarily sand. Amend soil Hibiscus have picky soil requirements, so it’s worth it to take time to amend the soil prior to planting them.

Test the pH of your garden soil, hibiscus prefer acidic soil, so anything above 6.5pH will have to be made more acidic. Additionally, you will need to supplement the soil with plenty of nutrients and fertilizer. Mix garden in a garden compost several weeks (or months, if you have the time) prior to planting.

You will also want to add a fertilizer to the soil mix that is low in phosphorus and high in potassium. If the pH of your soil is too basic add in peat moss to balance it out. Common low phosphorus/high potassium fertilizer include a 10-4-12 mixture or a 9-3-13 mixture.

Pruning Although pruning sounds counter intuitive, it actually helps to promote new growth and cause more blossoms to appear. Never cut more than 2/3 of a single branch at a time, as this can harm hibiscus more than it helps. These carefree plants, will bloom month after month to brighten up any landscape.

Although individual bloom last for only 1-3 days. The flowers can be left on the plant or cut them to use in flower arrangements or use them in tea or cooking. These lovely flowers are a must have in the home garden to brighten up the landscape and to attract wildlife.