How to Grow Hibiscus from Seed, Stem, or Root

Hibiscus is a plant with bright, large and colorful flowers; the color of the flowers varies from red, orange, yellow to white, black, etc. There are also a lot of hybrid species with a mixture of colors.

It constantly bears flowers throughout the year and it can quickly be grown at home.

How to grow hibiscus

Hibiscus is a herbaceous plant used for ornamental and veneration purposes.

It is an annual and perennial plant that can sometimes grow to the length of short trees.

How to grow hibiscus

The leaves are commonly lobed and have a glossy or a paper-like texture, depending on the variety. The flowering occurs in a bunch or separately, and the flowers’ lifespan is between 24-48 hours.

Types of hibiscus

Before you cultivate it, select the proper type suitable for your condition. The prominent types of hibiscus are

  1. Hibiscus, Mars Madness (with Large magenta flowers)
  2. H. moscheutos for wetland in states of MA so. to FL, w to NM, KS, IL, WI
  3. H. laevis (also called H. militaris. for states like  MN, IL, IN, OH, and PA)
  4. H. grandiflorus (for states like LA, FL, GA)
  5. H. palustris (Swamp rose mallow) for states like MA to NC.
  6. Hibiscus coccineus (Scarlet rose mallow/Texas Star for states VA, FL, LA & AR)

The plant is quite common and can be quickly grown. It requires the following conditions and methods during its growth.

Soil

It thrives best on sandy, loam, or alluvial soils but not on heavy soils; More or less, it grows in any soil but soils with low drainage capacity. It does not grow well in water-logged or wet soil conditions. Hibiscus also prefers slightly acidic and neutral pH conditions in the ground.

Climatic conditions

Hibiscus requires moderate temperature, not below 20°C.

It requires average sunlight ranging from 8-9 hours daily.

Irrigation depends on the season and during the rainy season, they require less irrigation, while in summers, they are to be watered daily or even twice a day during arid conditions.

Method of planting of care of Hibiscus plant

These are the step by step methods of planting and taking care of an

Sowing Time

The ideal time of the year for sowing hibiscus seeds ranges is between March to September.

The seeds are to be sown in small pots till they grow up to be seedlings and then you should transfer them into bigger pots. This process is also called Transplanting.

Soil Preparation

The mixture inside the small and big pot should contain rich Coco Peat and any organic compost, ideally vermicompost or Cow dung.

This soil preparation helps ensure a 100% germination rate.

Seed Plantation or Stem Propagation

Hibiscus is grown by either the conventional seed planting method or the new cutting propagation method.

For homegrown plants, the seed sowing method is the preferred and the conventional way.

In the conventional method, moist seeds are sown and the small pots are wrapped by cellophane paper till the first view of the seedling is noticed. The cellophane paper helps in maintaining an optimum atmosphere around the baby plant and provides a stable environment.

In the cutting/grafting method, a small pruned stem of one hibiscus plant is attached to a healthy and full-grown different plant at a certain angle so that the small stem can start growing on the new plant. This method is most commonly performed in hibiscus plants to produce a different color of hibiscus flowers from the same plant and sometimes to produce hybrid flowers of various color combinations.

Transplantation

Take small pots with a hole at the bottom to prevent root rot.

Fill them up to 80% of their capacity with the above mention mixture.
Sow the seeds at a depth of 2 to 3 cms of soil mixture inside the pots.

Keep under controlled environments like inside a transparent box or wrap with a cellophane paper under indirect sunlight.

Germination becomes visible after a week, then keep the pots under direct sunlight when true leaves begin to appear. The seedlings are transplanted (shifted from small containers to bigger ones) after the plant gains a height of 6-8 inches or more.

Nutrient management

After transplanting, we need to take care of the growing plant by providing adequate irrigation and nutrients.

Cow-dung or any organic manure like Farmyard manure generally helps maintain the nourishment, although sometimes more focused fertilizer application is required.

Hibiscus flowers bloom better when nutrients are in adequate quantity.

In the summer season, adding more potassium to the soil through fertigation or compost treatment helps the plant or adding DAP (diammonium phosphate) after 20-25 days to ensure complete development and successful flowering.

Pruning

Pruning is quintessential as it stimulates the new growth of shoots and buds and replaces the old/dead branches and stems with young and new ones.

The ideal time for pruning is between June to August.

It involves removing or cutting plant branches or stems from providing the plant a proper shape and maintaining its aesthetic quality.

The average height of hibiscus plants is between 4-5feet, whereas pruning helps them attain 7-8ft.

Management

Like any other flowering plant, this plant requires attention and care from insects, bugs, and other tiny organisms to not destroy the plant and its beauty.

It is necessary to inspect the plant stems, branches and leaves from time to time to recognize pests and diseases and terminate them.

Some of the major pests and diseases which can affect are

Pests

  1. Aphids: These are tiny multi-colored pests that siphon plant sap from the vegetative part of the plant and attack in a swarm.
  2. Whiteflies: It’s a micro mosquito-sized insect that siphons juices
  3. Thrips: Tiny, thin pests that lay their eggs on the buds, often resulting in premature bud drop
  4. Mealybugs: They have a whitish cotton-like body and they drink the sap juice from the plant.
  5. Scales: They have a hard or a soft back and damage the plant by feeding on sap from leaves, stems and trunks.
  6. Ants: Ants feed on the sugary leftovers of Aphids, Thrips, and Whiteflies, etc. They don’t personally damage the plant but eat the beneficial insects to protect the harmful ones.

Prevention

Application of insecticidal soap sprays or petroleum/vegetable-based oils for the above pests while luring ants away from the plant through various baits are helpful steps in eliminating pest-related problems.

Diseases

Leaf Spot

leaf spot

Fungus on the plant may cause brown or black round patches on the leaves. Infected leaves should be removed and burnt. The plants should be treated with a fungicide such as Mancozeb.

Sooty Mould

It’s a type of black fungus found on the exterior surfaces of leaves growing in the discharge of aphids, mealybugs, many scales, and whiteflies. Oil emulsion or homogenous oil sprays will detach the fungus and help cleanse up the plants.

Root and Collar Rot

Various species of fungi may cause the roots to turn soft and corrode and do somewhat the same effect to the stems.

Infected plants will have wilted and curled leaves showing symptoms of deficiency of water.

Generally, root rots occur in wet conditions due to excessive irrigation or lousy drainage. Watering when required and recovery of soil drainage is the primary remedy to get rid of it.

Powdery Mildew

White spots on hibiscus leaves turn grey and tan as the fungus grows and engulfs more area; the fungus can result in stunted growth and, in very severe cases, can cause withering in leaves.

Fungicides such as Terrazol or Fongarid help in getting rid of the fungus.

Physiological Disorders

Apart from insects, fungus and other outward factors, plants also suffer and die due to our negligence; this happens when we do not take proper care and supply the required fertilizer, water, or sunlight.

These disorders occur due to an imbalance of the nutrients, fertilizers, water, or soil pH.

Bud Drop

bud drop in hibiscus

It is the most commonly occurring disease in the hibiscus plant; its severity differs from variety to variety in this plant. The primary cause of bud drop is found to be the scarcity of food or water. Massive quantities of nitrogen, mainly found with foliar fertilizers, have been the primary reason to cause bud drop.

Scheduled irrigation and fertilizer application seem to be the foremost cure. We should also change the plant’s location to a different place inside the garden or change the variety depending on the condition of the disease.

Yellow leaves

yellow leaves

Plants of hibiscus naturally shed their old leaves numerous times during the year. The large old leaves from the plant bottom will change into bright yellow and drop within a few days.

This is a common occurrence; but, if the yellowing and dropping continue towards the plant top, it can be due to a deficiency of nutrients or the moisture around the root zone.

The yellowing usually sets off by a warm or chill day or unwanted insect repellents such as Malathion or Lannate.

Balanced nutrient and irrigation management and maintaining a proper climatic atmosphere of the plant can help revive green leaves.

leaf burns

Improper supervision of the yellowing disorder could lead to severe cases of the leaf or stem burns.

Hibiscus Benefits

  • It has demulcent and astringent properties.
  • As a medicine, it is used in conditions like upset stomach, high blood pressure, as a laxative, etc.
  • As food, it is used as a tea to prevent the build-up of fat in the liver and prevent obesity.

FAQ’s

Can hibiscus grow indoors, in the shade

Few varieties can grow indoors, but they have to be kept under artificial lighting of extreme proportion like a 5-6 tube fluorescent light. It should be under a minimum of 16 hours within one day.
Hibiscus plants require 8-9 hours of sunlight to bloom to their complete capacity. It will still grow decently in the shade but only partially; It won’t flower such well.

Can hibiscus grow in acid soil?

These plants can grow on acidic soil as they prefer neutral to acidic soil conditions. The optimum soil pH ranges from 5.5-6.8. Alkaline soils should be avoided as the pH can retard the plant’s nutrient uptake from the soil.

How to grow hibiscus from root

Hibiscus can be grown from root systems, mostly in large containers.
The plant’s crown should be placed very carefully so that it is a little bit beneath the surface of the growing material.
The ideal growth from each stem should be 3-5 nodes and pruning is essential and it has to be done every 2-3 days to provide a better shape.
The plant has to be kept moist, but it should not get excessively wet or dry.
These plants can’t grow indoors or under shade and require full sunlight. Wilting should be avoided at any cost, as it can lead to severe disorders.
Hibiscus also requires a decent amount of nutrients and the nitrogen content through fertigation should be around 150-220 ppm.
The sustainable pH of the soil should be in the range of 6-6.5. These root incorporated plants should always be kept under warm and humid conditions as they can’t bloom under cooler temperatures, the ideal temperature ranges from above 70°C

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