Taking care of a hibiscus plant doesn’t have to be complicated. Hibiscus trees are tropical charms that will bring an exotic feel to your space. They are also some of the long-lasting plants that can grow to become as tall as 15 feet. The plants also produce colorful blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. Since hibiscus plants are tropical, they require a certain amount of care to make sure that they do well and flourish when grown in other environments.
My backyard has these spectacular beauties, and I know that given the best care, a hibiscus plant will reward you greatly. They look fantastic when they are planted together. However, if you’re backyard or front yard is small, then you can grow a hibiscus plant alone and make it the centerpiece in your space. Now that we have already established that care of a hibiscus plant can be challenging especially for new owners, let me offer you a couple of suggestions to help you succeed.
Common Hibiscus Varieties
Hibiscus plants are basically categorized into two groups; tropical varieties and hardy varieties. Understanding which you are growing is important because it can inform the care you provide the plant. For example, the ability to position it out in the yard or having to bring it in to shelter it during the winter season. But the care for the 2 groups is almost about the same.
One of the ways of differentiating the hibiscus plants is through the petals. The hibiscus can either be double or single with variations in the number of petals.
The six common colors are orange, yellow, red, white, lavender, and brown. The blooms are also found in a broad range of color mixes and color tones.
Hibiscus trees can be grown successfully using all-purpose soil. You just have to ensure that you provide proper fertilization. Most of the all-purpose soils are well-draining and are suitable for hibiscus.
The soil should have a pH of between 5.5 to 6.5. if you grow your hibiscus on alkaline soils, they might experience micronutrient shortages. When choosing a fertilizer, it’s advisable to consider selecting a hibiscus-specific fertilizer. However, you can use any that you have as long as you ensure that your plant is receiving all the crucial nutrients.
Watering Hibiscus Plants
Hibiscus plants need well-drained soils as already established above. Just like most other plants, they also require frequent watering. Water them when watering all your other plants and they should be fine. The frequency of watering should also be increased during drier months such as summer.
Hibiscus Tree Fertilization
Hibiscus are heavy feeders. The key to getting it right with heavy-feeding hibiscus plants is to fertilize often. Adopting a fertilization routine for your hibiscus is essential to preserve energetic and healthy plants. For example, you can use a water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 17-5-24. Mix a 1/2 teaspoon of the fertilizer into 1 gallon of water if you do your watering daily. Mix 1 teaspoon of fertilizer per 1 gallon of water if you only fertilize once per week.
Heavy pruning on hibiscus plants is best done in early spring. It should, however, be completely avoided in late fall or throughout winter. It’s advisable to perform light upkeep pruning. This type of pruning may be done at any time of the year to get rid of dead or infected wood, rubbing stems, and weak or saggy branches.
It is important to note that hibiscus trees produce new flowers on brand-new growth. Therefore, if the plants are pruned heavily during the active growing season, the emergence of blooms will be delayed or minimal.
Diseases and Pests in Hibiscus Plants
Just like many other plants, hibiscus trees can be attacked by a number of bugs. Pest infestations attack flowers, leaves, buds, and can cause serious problems if not controlled properly.
Typically, all the bugs can be controlled with applications of contact of systemic pesticides. The best way to control pests in all types of plants is through regular examinations. This way you will be able to notice the pests before they multiply and become a full-blown infestation. Two you will also prevent the pests from spreading to neighboring plants.
If pests are a common problem in your yard, routine spray schedules might minimize the number of pesticides required. Just as a word of caution, pesticides can be devastating to your hibiscus plant. This is because hibiscus trees are quite sensitive.
Common Hibiscus Pests
Spider Mites which may be identified from the presence of mottled yellow leaves that worsen over time. Whiteflies can be seen as a white mess on leaves or white-colored flies near the plant. Aphids are seen as black, green, or white noticeable bugs on the plant. Snow Scale which is seen as intense white, small, specks on the plant’s bark. Fungus Gnats or Shore flies which are seen as little dark bugs noticed flying around the trees.
Another common problem with hibiscus is premature flower bud dropping. Some varieties, especially the doubles varieties, are known to experience early bud drop. Some hibiscus types flower well during one season of the year and then do so well in others and drop their buds.
Common Hibiscus Diseases
Dieback disease which is characterized by wilted leaves on one branch. Wilt disease which is characterized by all leaves on plant becoming wilted. Leaf Fungus characterized by black spots on the plant’s leaves.
Growing Hibiscus In Containers
Many plant owners find that growing hibiscus plants in containers is simpler than growing the plants directly in the yard. If you establish the hibiscus flower in a pot or planter, you can move it around. The possibility to move it around is especially important if you live in a place with insufficient light levels. You can position it in a location where it will get a lot of light to make sure that it gets the light that it requires to grow.
In the winter, you can also ensure that the temperature level is warm enough for the plants to make it through. If it all of a sudden is listed below freezing outside, you can quickly move the hibiscus inside and give it some shelter.
It is important to make sure that the planter or pot that you use for your hibiscus has sufficiently sized drainage holes. The pot should drain water well. Although some plants can tolerate overwatering than others, most plants don’t like sitting in water.
In addition, cement pots tend to motivate hibiscus growth, and are, therefore, preferred for hibiscus plants. Clay pots such as terra cotta are not the best option because they can make the soil alkaline in time.
Propagation of Hibiscus Plants
When learning how to take care of a hibiscus plant you will also learn about propagation. Propagating a hibiscus plant begins with a hibiscus softwood cutting. This is a branch of an existing plant that has not yet developed. The stem will still be relatively soft, so be careful when trimming it. The cuttings need to be four to six inches in length, and it should still have fresh leaves left on it.
Deep the cutting in some rooting hormone. Place the cutting into some moist well-draining soil to motivate it to produce roots. Cover the cutting to produce a greenhouse effect for the cutting and promote growth. For best results keep the soil moist at all times to ensure that the plant develops roots. This is the easiest method for getting new hibiscus plants.
Propagating through the use of seeds is also another method. However, it’s more complex and many beginners have trouble establishing hibiscus plants from seeds. The conditions need to be ideal for the seeds to germinate.
Use the pointed end of a pen to make small holes to place the seeds. After putting the seeds in the holes, cover them with a thin layer of soil. Water the soil lightly where the seeds have been established. The seedlings will make an appearance through the soil in about two to four weeks.
Common Problems of Hibiscus Plants
As you take care of a hibiscus plant you might encounter some common problems. If you do, don’t feel discouraged, you are not alone.
Hibiscus Leaves Turning Yellow
Hibiscus plants can have a problem with the leaves turning yellow. The problem of yellow leaves can be caused by too much direct sunlight. Even though hibiscus is a tropical plant, you may require to move it to a shady location once in a while.
The leaves can also turn yellow from an attack by pests or diseases. Mites, aphids, and whiteflies can likewise cause concerns for hibiscus plants. If you discover an attack, take action immediately and use mild dish soap to clean up the leaves. If it is serious take more serious measures as discussed above.
Hibiscus plants are lovely flowering bushes that take a lot of care. However, if you are trying to find a plant that will add a tropical touch to your yard, hibiscus is a great idea. The short blossom life of hibiscus plants is nothing to worry about. The plant produces new and fresh blossoms each day during the flowering season. Simply enjoy your colorful blooms before they begin to wilt throughout the afternoon.
If you love flowering plants check these 30 flowering indoor plants that you can add to your home.
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