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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hibiscus – How to grow it

Hibiscus plants lend colour and delight to any garden. With their large, vibrant blooms, these shrubs can give your backyard that much-needed tropical feel.

Interested in growing your own hibiscus plants? Here’s what you need to know:

Getting To Know Your Hibiscus

Hibiscus are hardy shrubs that have been cultivated around Asia and the Pacific for centuries. They come in various cultivars with flower colours ranging from the classic red, pink, and white to colour combinations like yellow, orange, peach, and even silver. 

Hibiscus make great hedges, landscape shrubs, and in some instances, windbreakers. Being a perennial plant, it flowers all year round. Their large blooms are also often used to attract bees and butterflies.

These plants are very versatile and low-maintenance, too. They can grow even in small spaces in urban and suburban areas. 

How To Plant Hibiscus

To plant a hibiscus shrub, you will need loose, well-draining, and slightly acidic soil.

Select a sunny spot in your garden, but make sure that the plants get enough shelter so as to protect their blooms from burning off in the heat.

Once you’ve selected a nice area, dig a hole about twice the size of the shrub’s pot and transfer your hibiscus carefully. Fill the remaining space with some garden soil and high-quality garden mix. Don’t forget to add a layer of mulch around its base for added protection and nutrients.

How To Care For Your Hibiscus

As mentioned earlier, hibiscus shrubs don’t require a lot of maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it some tender loving care regularly! Here are some tips on how to keep your hibiscus strong and healthy for years to come:

Watering

Your hibiscus needs regular watering, especially right after planting and during the drier months. Water your plants until the soil is moist, but make sure not to drench it. In the winter, do not water the plant unless the soil looks extremely dry.

Pruning

Pruning depends on the variety of your hibiscus plant. Most plants, though, are annually pruned towards the end of spring or during the start of the summer months.

To prune your hibiscus properly, cut the branches by the leaf joint. Make sure the cuts are angled away from the main bush to encourage new growth outwards. For a gorgeous plant, aim to create about 3-4 main branches. Remove any dead branches completely.

Feeding

Hibiscus are heavy feeders, which means you’ll have to give it controlled-release, high-potassium fertilisers during the warm season. Poultry manure and seaweed tonics are helpful in providing nutrients to the plant and improving the quality of the soil.

Controlling Pests and Diseases

Hibiscus can be attacked by the usual suspects: aphids, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

It could also suffer from hibiscus beetle infestation, where the beetle attacks young flower buds, causing them to drop before they even open. In such cases, make sure to spot-spray organic pesticides like pyrethrum during the spring or autumn. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilisers to prevent attracting said beetles.

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