Hibiscus Care

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  #1  
Old 05-18-2007, 06:03 PM
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Hibiscus care

Mother's Day 2007:

Son brought by a large hibiscus plant (lovely deep coral flower) and said "Happy Mother's Day - I'll be over later to help plant it." Wonderful! Beautiful plant from handsome son!

30 minutes later: Daughter #1 came over, said, "Happy Mother's Day," and presented me with 2 potted hibiscus plants - one trained to be a "tree" and the other a bush - both potted. (One from her, and other from daughter #2 in Georgia.) Now I have 3 hibiscus plants.

Living in NC where the temps range from near 100 in summer to "0" in winter, I have my concerns about the care and keeping of these hibiscus bushes.
  1. Do I plant them in the ground and expect them to shed leaves in winter and green up again in spring and bloom?
  2. In order for them to survive, do I have to pot them in containers and place them in the garage (it will still get pretty cold in there in winter) in order for them to survive the winter?

Now I'll sit back and let the experts chat away with my directions for the care and keeping of hibiscus plants in NC.
GG

P.S. Son #2 and Daughter #3 still unaccounted for.
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2007, 06:35 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Those R Tropical Plants .u Should Not Plant Them They Need To Be Placed Inside To Survie The Winter. They Also Love Warter Get A Spray Bottle ,warter Them Every Day Along With There Leaves Spray Them Eveyday.
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:57 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Granny..we have the same type of weather here in Arkansas....you can plant the hibiscus outside, but you must protedt it from freezing....and make sure if you plant outside to make sure the area has good drainage. Also, if the temps get above 95 you might have trouble..keep it well watered..the flower buds may fall off from the heat, but it won't die. although the hibiscus is tropical, it does not like high, dry temps. Oh, and another thing..if you plant outside, make sure you only water when absolutely necessary in the winter or you could wind up with a nasty root fungus (the hibiscus, not you hon ) If your plant stays in below freezing temps more than half a day or so, it is probably gonna die.....and lastly..if you do have to cover it,, make sure you use a material that won't cause your plants foilage to lose moisture..I think it's call transpirant or anti-transpirant or something like that......I was extremely foolish this year and covered some plants with regular carpenter's plastic and lost a large amount of plants...when I knew better! hope this helps
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Old 05-18-2007, 07:34 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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I have another opinion. 18 years ago, I worked at a plant nursery, I purchased two hibiscus plants for my mom. We planted them outside immediately (
I should say we live in maryland and experience all types of weather conditions) EVERY YEAR the come back in FULL BLOOM and are beautiful, in the winter there are no precautions taken. They completely die down except for some odd looking wood poking out of the ground. I love them so much I am thinking about transfering them to my home. 18 years and going strong....I couldn't have asked for anything better. ENJOY!
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:43 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Also if you leave them in a pot make sure it has drainage holes!! and water from the bottom of the plant use a little saucer they perfer bottom watering rather than top watering.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:50 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Differences

Are there different types of "tropical" hibiscus?
GG
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:22 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyGodley
Are there different types of "tropical" hibiscus?
GG
I think everyone just has their own way to care for them
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:23 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesx62003
I have another opinion. 18 years ago, I worked at a plant nursery, I purchased two hibiscus plants for my mom. We planted them outside immediately (
I should say we live in maryland and experience all types of weather conditions) EVERY YEAR the come back in FULL BLOOM and are beautiful, in the winter there are no precautions taken. They completely die down except for some odd looking wood poking out of the ground. I love them so much I am thinking about transfering them to my home. 18 years and going strong....I couldn't have asked for anything better. ENJOY!
I have heard that people let them do this.....it sure sounds a lot easier..I may just let mine go this winter and see what they do.
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Old 05-19-2007, 08:36 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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I may have to plant in ground and hope for the best. I have a bad back (right now it is being really BAD) and can't be lifting these pots. Sometimes others are too busy to help. I am really looking forward to having these lovely flowers.
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Old 05-19-2007, 11:13 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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I have an opinion also...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesx62003
I have another opinion. 18 years ago, I worked at a plant nursery, I purchased two hibiscus plants for my mom. We planted them outside immediately (
I should say we live in maryland and experience all types of weather conditions) EVERY YEAR the come back in FULL BLOOM and are beautiful, in the winter there are no precautions taken. They completely die down except for some odd looking wood poking out of the ground. I love them so much I am thinking about transfering them to my home. 18 years and going strong....I couldn't have asked for anything better. ENJOY!
I live in northeastern Pennsylvania and it gets cold here also,
I have a hibiscus with pink flowers and planted it about 8 years ago, outside and never worry about it it has beautiful flowers every years and it never lets me down.
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:26 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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There are 2 different types of hibiscus. I have the ones that die down every year to nothing then come back. My Mother has the tropical ones that do not die back to the ground. The best way that I can tell you to know which type you have is to look at the leaves. If they are dark dark green and shiny on woody stems, you most likely have the tropical type. Like Kelley says they can winter outside with care. If the leaves are a lighter lime-ish green on green stems, then you probably have the other type like mine that die back each year. Hope that helps and what wonderful kids to give a gift you can enjoy for a long long time!!
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:09 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyGodley
Are there different types of "tropical" hibiscus?
GG

Actually the are 2 different kinds

I have both.
Tropical Hibiscus will not survive outside in the winter, they are strictly a pot plant unless you live in a warm climate year round.
I also have what I call Dinner plate hibiscus which have a huge bloom and are planted outside and bloom every year.
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:08 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Will the tropical plant survive (roots/branches live) and releaf the following spring? I have other types of plants that loose their leaves but releaf in the spring. Their branches are just "dead wood" during the winter.

?Will tropical hibiscus releaf in spring????
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:47 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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here is an idea....plant ONE outside and see how that one does over the summer/winter and keep the other in a pot on your porch and bring it in for winter...if the other one outside survives this winter..then you can plant the one from the pot in the ground...but if it does NOT survive...you will still have one beautiful one to look at and admire Happy expermenting
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:39 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Okay, the cooler weather is here. I thought I would share this info that I found for your hibiscus


"Will My Hibiscus Overwinter Outside?"

You need to know which one you have. Unfortunately, garden centers, nurseries and home improvement centers lump all hibiscus together.

If your hibiscus has glossy deep green leaves, 3-6" flowers of red, pink, orange, yellow, double or single flowers, it is probably a TROPICAL hibiscus. While many common garden varieties have the 3-6" blooms, many of the hybrid varieties of tropical hibiscus can have blooms around 10" in diameter under ideal conditions.

Another way to check is if the flowers are salmon, peach, orange, or yellow, or double flowered, then you probably have a TROPICAL hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus do not come in these colors or in doubles! Many tropical hibiscus flowers have more than one color in a bloom either in bands or as spots.

If your hibiscus has dull medium green heart shaped leaves, dinner plate sized white, pink or red flowers with HUGE, bomb shaped buds (2-4" in length!), it is a perennial, hardy hibiscus.

Hardy hibiscus need very little care over the winter, they are root hardy to about zone 5 with no protection. They die to the ground each year.

If you have a tropical hibiscus, remember it is a TROPICAL. They will not tolerate more than a night or two of light freezes. Even one hard freeze (below 25) could kill the plant. These plants are native to sunny, warm and usually humid tropical places.

They detest cold, rainy weather and cold, wet soil. They will not reliably survive outdoors north of zone 9. In all other areas, it may be a good idea to bring them indoors BEFORE temps regularly drop below 40-45 F at night to avoid any damage.

Treating your tropical hibiscus correctly will give you years of enjoyment. But remember, they are not immortal! Some are spent after 4 or 5 years in a pot and should be tossed away at this point. Try some of the many and never ending new hybrids being developed!
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:42 AM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Here is some info on TROPICAL hibiscus


Below are a few common tropical hibiscus questions and brief answers. For much more complete information, consult The Hibiscus Handbook that can be ordered from the society's publications page. Other pages at this site may cover some topics in more detail. Another excellent source of information is our Tropical Hibiscus Mail List - join and ask your questions there. For more information on our mail list go to this page.
Q. Where can I get the gorgeous varieties I've seen on the Web pages?
A. If you live near a chapter of the American Hibiscus Society, give them a call. Other than that, you can contact some of the growers who maintain a presence on the Web.

Q. Do I have to water them every day?
A. Hibiscus do not like wet feet, but neither should they be allowed to dry out -- especially in hot weather. Organic matter in the soil and mulch on top help to maintain a constant level of moisture in the summer. In pots or not, good drainage is very important!

Q. How much sun?
A. They do like a lot of direct light, but under a blazing sun from dawn 'til dusk with temperatures in the 90s, 32+(C) and many of these hybrids will reduce their blooming. A little shade during the heat of the day and they will reward you with more and larger blooms.
Q. What do you do with them in the winter?
A. In climates where freezes are common, growers will keep all or most of their plants in pots so they can be brought inside - there is a page at this site devoted to this. Another advantage of potted plants is that they can be lain on their side and are, therefore, easier to cover and protect when left outside. Tropical hibiscus can only withstand freezing temperatures for a brief time before there is damage. In milder climates (USDA zones 9&10), if you can trap sufficient ground heat by covering your plants, you may be able to prevent freeze damage to plants in the ground.
Q. How and when do I prune?
A. It's best to prune when the tender new growth that results won't have near-freezing temperatures to contend with. Many will prune a third to a half of a plant at a time so that they will still get some blooms from the unpruned branches. Use sharp shears and prune just above an "eye."

Q. What pests attack hibiscus and how do you control them?
A. Try to control aphids, thrips whiteflies and spider mites before they have established themselves. Please see our page on insects. Remember that a happy and healthy plant has a better chance of dealing with insects and diseases.
Q. Why does my hibiscus have yellow leaves?
A. Basically, for two reasons: 1. The leaves are old and the plant is discarding them. 2. The plant is under some stress. That stress may be from a too strong dosage of fertilizer it recently got or its soil has been too wet recently or some insecticide was applied improperly or its root system was disrupted or lighting conditions in a new location are very different from the old one. It could also be a disease. There are many possible reasons. Sometimes yellow leaves (from stress) are indicative of a problem and sometimes it simply indicates a temporary discomfort the plant is having.

Q. What kind of fertilizer do you use and how often?
A. Many use a higher nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and shift to a higher potassium fertilizer in the summer. Often, growers recommend low phosphorous fertilizer to promote blooms. Some use only a 10-10-10. For potted plants, many think a 20-10-20, water soluble product, is ideal. Don't forget that your fertilizers should have the minor elements like iron, copper, manganese, etc. Fertilize lightly and often, especially at the beginning and during the growing season. Timed release fertilizers are very popular. A pH of 5.5 to 7.8 is okay, but some recommend 6 to 7 for best results. Nutrients may not be properly absorbed and plant performance will suffer drastically if far outside these ranges.
Q. What causes my buds to drop before the bloom opens?
A. Buds are very sensitive and if your plant is under stress from too much or too little water or fertilizer, thrips or other factors, the buds may fall. Also, some varieties (particularly doubles) are more prone to bud drop.

Q. What type of soil should I use?
A. A sandy soil rich in organic matter that will retain water is ideal. Mulching aids moisture retention and shields the roots from the summer sun. For potted plants, some growers prefer a commercial soilless mixture and others prefer a mixture that contains sharp sand for aeration, pine bark grit and fines and larger bits, topsoil, compost. An ideal soil pH is 6 to 7. Hard water and proximity to things like concrete will reduce the acidity the plant wants.

Q. How do I get my hibiscus to be bushy?
A. By careful pruning and pinching back of new growth, you can shape your hibiscus. Some varieties make magnificent bushes and excellent hedges, while others may tend to be spindly. Each variety seems to have its own "personality."
Q. Do they do as well in pots as in the ground?
A. Given the choice, many growers prefer pots because if a plant isn't thriving in one area it may do better in a different location. Also, applications of fertilizer, etc. are slower to leave the root area if the plants are in pots - less risk of nematodes, too. On the other hand, forgetting the dangers of freeze damage, plants in the ground benefit from being able to spread their roots farther and will need less frequent watering. Also, remember that a leafy plant needs much more water than one with few leaves. Giving both the same amount of water and they both will not thrive -- unless excess water is able to drain. The do not like to sit in soggy soil!!!

Q. How long do tropical hibiscus plants live?
A. Some of the older garden varieties have been known to live for 50 years or more. Some of the newer hybrids may have lifespans of 5-10 years.

Q. How can I propagate hibiscus.?
A. Some varieties will root easily in a medium like perlite using rooting hormones, while others are very difficult to root. Air-layering can also be used. Propagation of hybrids is usually done by grafting to a proven rootstock variety to assure vigor and to efficiently use the hybrids' wood.

Q. My hybrid hibiscus is blooming with a different bloom, why?
A. Probably it's the rootstock that's blooming. A vigorous rootstock, if allowed to grow, may "overpower" the grafted part -- any new growth (suckers) below the graft should be carefully removed to prevent this. Also, if the grafted, upper part has been killed, any new blooms will be from the surviving rootstock variety.
Q. Can I propagate my hibiscus from seed?
A. Yes, but because of the complex genetics of today's varieties, unless yours is a species hibiscus (unlikely), any seeds your plant produces will likely produce seedlings that have different bloom and plant characteristics . If you used pollen from a different variety, the odds are that it will share properties of both parents.
To get a plant to produce a pod, it needs to be a variety that is a "willing" seed producer and you need fresh pollen from a variety that has potent pollen. With temperatures between 60 and 80F degrees and high humidity and these "willing" parents, your chances are improved. The fresh pollen is applied to the stigma pads at the end of the style. If you have been successful, after the flower falls off, a pod will begin to form. After 6-10 weeks this pod (about the size of the end of your thumb) will turn brown (ripen) and open -- exposing black seeds about the size of apple seeds. Sometimes, even with "willing" parents and ideal conditions, it can be very difficult to get seeds.

Q. Do the blooms only last a day?
A. If left on the plant or cut and brought inside (no water necessary), the blooms of most varieties last only a day. There are a few whose blooms look good after 2 or 3 days. When cooler weather slows the plants' processes, blooms do last longer than during the summer.

Q. Why isn't my plant blooming like it did last year?
A. Perhaps frost damaged the upper plant and it's still recovering.

Q. How do I "jump start" my hibiscus after winter?
A. A higher nitrogen fertlizer and a careful pruning will usually trigger healthy new growth. Fish emulsion solutions are used by many growers.

Q. What diseases can damage my hibiscus?
A. Occasionally, bacterial and viral diseases may threaten a plant. Try to avoid spreading these problems by sterilizing shears and isolating the affected plant if possible. Plants that cannot be revived should be carefully discarded. Try to consult an expert. Many diseases can be cured with the proper treatment. Sometimes something as simple as adding a weak chlorine bleach solution to the soil may kill the pathogen and sometimes a specialized product is necessary. Again, remember that a properly watered and fertilized plant is better able to resist problems.


Q. How large will they grow?
A. Some of the garden varieties may grow to heights of 10-15 feet or even more. Most of the hybrids won't get nearly that large, in fact, some may only grow a few inches a year. Being in the ground or in a pot and pot size are also factors.
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  #17  
Old 11-06-2007, 07:22 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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okay, my tropical hibiscus has been dug up and brought inside. The entire north and western part of Arkansas is under a freeze warning tonight.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:59 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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Well, DH and I are not able to plant and dig that much so here is the case......

They stayed in their pots through the hot/dry summer w/ me watering them as much as I could - usually 2x/day to keep them from completely drying up.

DH had a man come work on our bushes in front of house about a month ago and he planted the buses and said the "might" make it through if mulched enough.

Next, DH had a nursery man come and plan some landscaping for us and asked him about the trop. hB bushes and he said - no way would they make it.

So, they are planted and mulched. If they survive we have flowers next year. If they don't survive, we have learned - I guess. I hate that we can't keep the plants the kids gave me for mothers day, but that is the way it will have to be.

Wish we could still dig and plant as we have in the past.

Thanks KM for remembering my question and providing such good information.
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  #19  
Old 11-07-2007, 12:29 PM

RE: Hibiscus care

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We stuck ours in the ground and are hoping for the best. Maybe Kelly can remind us in the Spring to go out and see if they are alive or just a stick in the ground!
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