Hibiscus is a beautiful plant that produces massive abundant bell-shaped flowers. To add to their beauty, they attract butterflies and hummingbirds and can grow up to a height of 15 feet. With their vibrant colors, they really know how to illuminate a space, something that not many flowers manage to do. They come in an array of bright colors, such as yellow, orange, peach, pink, white, and red.
Hibiscus plant from cuttings is easy to grow and should be done so in early spring. The cuttings should be taken from established and healthy plants. They require ample amounts of sunshine, so be sure to cater to their needs, and you can enjoy an abundance of blooms, starting from spring to the end of fall.
How to Grow Hibiscus Plant From Cutting
Follow these simple guidelines and tips on growing hibiscus from cuttings and how to maintain them, and you’re set!
1. Take Your Hibiscus Cuttings
Find a stem that looks fresh and healthy. You need to pick the stem carefully as the cutting will eventually blossom into replicas of the original plant. Ideally, the cut stem should be around four to six inches long.
It should be cut off from a relatively new growth that is established and pencil-wide thick. It should also be derived from softwood, the branches on the hibiscus that have not developed yet. These will be easy to cut.
2. Prepare Your Hibiscus Cuttings
Chop off all of the leaves beside the topmost one. After that, dip the base of the cutting into rooting hormone powder or liquid. It is best to sanitize them before taking a cutting to ensure that the new one doesn’t get infected. You can even use a solution of bleach and water to disinfect the prunes.
3. Preparing for planting
Hibiscus cuttings grow best when packed together in a container. Fill three-fourths of it with sand and one-fourth with peat. Mildly tap the pot on a hard surface to fix in the mixture. Ideally, you should use a gallon-sized pot and plant many at a time. Remember to pre-drill holes before placing your cuttings into the container.
Place the cuttings into the container and water them. You need to keep it protected by covering it with a clear or plastic bag. Make sure that the plastic does not touch the leaves. Place the hibiscus cutting in slight shade.
To further support the cuttings, place a stick right through the center of the container.
After a couple of months, the cuttings should be rooted. Wait for a couple of months more to make sure they are all rooted before transferring them to individual pots of their own. When they have grown a foot or two, you can place them right into the garden.
5. Growing conditions
Hibiscus grows best in full sunshine. Thus, when planting it, make sure to select a site that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight. If your area is susceptible to the wind, keep your plants indoors as the flowers are fragile and could shred easily.
Ideal temperatures for rooting are 60 – 70ºF. Hibiscus flowers require an excessive level of humidity to thrive, so either spray the cuttings with water routinely or enclose the containers with plastic bags. Remove the bag once a day to allow fresh air into the container. Make sure the pot of cuttings is kept moist at all times.
As mentioned before, hibiscus grows best in containers. This is especially perfect when in areas where ground planting isn’t an option. Tropical hibiscus needs a minimum of 45ºF to survive. So, growing it indoors in the winter season is also a possibility.
Read Repotting Jade Plant
The soil around the hibiscus plant should be moist, but be careful not to let it get soggy as that could destroy the plant’s growth. After the first week of planting it, make sure to water it every day. In the second week, you can cut it down to once in two days.
In the following week, you can further reduce it to twice a week. This is provided there’s no rainfall. In extra hot and dry weather, water it on a daily basis. When irrigating the hibiscus flower, do not water the foliage as that can eventually result in foliar diseases, like mildew.
Once the hibiscus plant is settled and new blossoms are evident, fertilize it every two weeks with a fertilizer for blooming plants.
The Hibiscus flower is one of the most beautiful blooms. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long before shutting off and falling. At most, it’ll only last a day. It is, therefore, essential to keep pruning it and keeping it neat by getting rid of the previous blooms.
In the case of the hibiscus plants that you grow indoors or outdoors in a slightly more moderate climate, prune the shrub by one-third during winter or the beginning of spring. Get rid of the dead branches and prune the plant to ensure that all its stems are of equal length.
8. Pests and Diseases
The hibiscus plant is prone to various pests and diseases. These include insect damage to the plant in which flowers fall off early on in the growing process, inability to bloom and prosper, holes in the leaves and petals, and an adhesive material on plants and surrounding surfaces. The most usual ones are spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips.
To prevent pests and diseases, check the hibiscus plant regularly for signs of damage. If symptoms are evident, treat them immediately. For smaller outbreaks, get rid of the pests using a powerful spray of water. For more serious infestations, use high-quality insecticides.
Hibiscus plants are also prone to leaf diseases, including gray mold, downy, and powdery mildew. These can cause white, gray, or yellow patches on leaves that fall off even prior to blooming.
Herbivores aren’t usually a threat to these plants, though they have occasionally been reported to be.
In areas with deers, it can be slightly problematic. However, a fence is a good idea to prevent them from coming.
In particular, the hardy hibiscus is prone to insect damage to its leaves as well as flowers. However, don’t worry; there are many ways to deal with it, such as pest management and insecticides.
Some of the more common pests are:
These small black, brown, or white creatures are normally found on the underside of leaves or near the stem tips as well as around flower buds. They suck on the plant’s juices while leaving behind their disease-spreading saliva. The way to deal with this is to apply an insecticidal soap spray weekly until the insects are completely gone.
This is a soft sapsucker with no limbs and is related to aphids. These reside under rounded waxy textures on the underside of leaves. The species that particularly affects hibiscus is the black scale. However, other colors and varieties may be there as well. This can also be treated with insecticidal soap.
Whiteflies, a part of the family of aphids, spread at an increasing rate if not paid attention to and can be difficult to control. As the name suggests, they are tiny flies that are white in color and usually found huddled together on the underside of leaves, sucking the plant’s juices. Neem oil-based insecticides, in particular, can be used on the plant, and affected leaves should be immediately removed and demolished.
Most diseases that affect hibiscus are fungal. These plants could be prone to botrytis blight, leaf spot, and rust, all of which affect the leaves, as well as canker, which affects the stems and branches, and, of course, root rot.
Fungal diseases that are on the surface can be prevented by a simple tip of avoiding splashing water on leaves when watering.
Use a copper-based fungicide when you encounter a rust, leaf spot, or blight infection. Portions that have been affected should be taken away from the garden and burned or thrown away far from the garden to avoid the spread of the disease.
The remaining leaves should then be sprayed.
Removal of affected plant parts is the only way to prevent the further spread of canker.
Avoid overwatering the plant and ensure it has good drainage; otherwise, you risk plant rot.
Types of Hibiscus
- Tropical hibiscus
- Hardy perennial hibiscus
- Hardy shrub hibiscus
Tropical Hibiscus is much sought after due to its sturdy build and vibrant colored blossoms. They are ideal for pots and containers. This plant grows into a mini shrub or tree. It has rigid stems made from wood, and its leaves are luxuriant, glossy, and dark green in color.
The size of the blossoms vary from 3”- 6” in diameter and come in an array of colors and types including orange, yellow, pink, red, multicolored, and even double blossoms.
- Climate: These are not built for the frost or freezing temperatures. Cooler areas generally grow it once a year, or then in pots that can be transferred inside when it gets too cold.
- Light: They need full sunshine.
- Soil: The soil needs to be abundant and well-drained. Container-grown plants are mostly grown in a soilless mix to prevent condensing. It should be moist but not over-watered.
- Fertilizer: A regular feed with a balanced, organic, and liquid fertilizer would boost its growth.
- Flowers: Flowers bloom from spring through fall. However, it may slow down during the summer season due to the heat.
In order to keep your tropical hibiscus safe and protected during the winter season, bring it inside before night temperatures go down. Make sure to place it in a spot that receives ample sunshine. Cut down, but don’t stop watering. Don’t get worried if your plant shreds some leaves due to the adjustment.
Before moving your hibiscus plant back outdoors when spring arrives, give it a good pruning, ideally a couple of weeks prior to the shift. Shorten the stems and removing rubbing branches. Take off the top couple of inches of soil and replace it with new compost. For a better quality plant, add a little bit of organic fertilizer, and your plant will be good to go.
Hardy Perennial Hibiscus
Most commonly referred to as Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow, the hardy perennial hibiscus is an herbaceous perennial. This basically means that in the winter, it will fall completely to the ground and then revive and blossom in the spring.
In comparison to the tropical hibiscus, the stems and leaves of the hardy hibiscus are much more tender and duller in color. Its flowers are mostly flat as opposed to 3D, not to mention they are massive and feel like tissue paper when you touch them. They come in shades of pink, white, and red.
How to Grow Hardy Perennial Hibiscus
- Light: Needs full sunshine in order to grow.
- Climate: Does not transplant very well, so location should be given much thought.
- Soil: Well-drained and abundant soil. This kind of hibiscus is a water lover and should be kept damp during the summer season. It grows naturally in more wet areas such as swamps. However, during the winter, pay extra attention to ensure that the roots are not soggy. Add mulch to lock in moisture and protect it from the damage of spring frosts.
- Fertilizer: This type of hibiscus needs lots of feed. Organic fertilizers with lots of phosphorus are ideal if you want great flowers.
- Flowers: Hardy perennial hibiscus blooms during the summer months, primarily in July and August. Even though the flowers don’t last very long, but there are many more to come.
During the fall season or towards winter, trim the dead stems of this plant to almost ground level. As compared to other perennials, the hardy hibiscus may not bud, as early in the spring; however, by the summer, it will be thriving, growing several feet high.
Hardy Hibiscus Shrubs
There are also bigger varieties of the Hardy Hibiscus, such as shrubs and trees, which are more popularly referred to as Althea or Rose-of-Sharon. These plants are rather free-spirited and illuminate any space they are in. They are especially suitable for butterfly gardens. Even though its blooms are smaller than the Tropical Hibiscus, it has a consistent bloom period during the summer.
Hibiscus syriacus is a shrub or small tree that can grow up to 10 feet tall and wide. It has dark green leaves, and its flowers come in the most beautiful shades of blue, lilac, pink, and white.
How to Grow Hardy Hibiscus Shrubs
- Climate: It completely shreds off its leaves in winter.
- Light: Needs full sunshine in order to grow; however, in more extreme hotter climates, it requires afternoon shade as well.
- Soil: Rich and well-drained; however, this kind of hibiscus adjusts well to a fair variety of growing conditions.
- Fertilizer: Not very high maintenance. Only requires the average water and nutrient that are needed for its survival. It is generally a more laid back plant that can look after itself.
- Flowers: Grows fast. Thus, it needs to be pruned effectively during the beginning of spring to produce bigger blossoms.
This one has dark maroon foliage with huge flowers that are baby pink to almost white flowers and include pink veining and burgundy throats.
This species of hibiscus has large pink flowers surrounded by green foliage.
They grow perfectly in moist to wet soils and flowers early on, growing 5 feet in height and width.
Midnight Marvel has huge, deep red flowers with dark maroon foliage that is similar to a maple leaf.
It features rounded plants with flowers starting from the top to the bottom. They grow about 3-4 feet in height and 4-5 feet in width.
These grow about 6 to 8-inches, are red in color, and are saucer-shaped flowers that bloom as early as late spring. They are an infertile hybrid. It grows about 6-8 feet in height and 4-6 feet in width.
- Over the years, hibiscus has been used to cure headaches, hurting limbs, coughs, as well as inflammations.
- In the Victorian era, presenting a hibiscus flower to someone meant that they admired the receiver’s beauty.
- Hibiscus tea is made from parts of a different type of hibiscus, known as Roselle or Florida Cranberry. It’s indigenous to West Africa; however, it is grown today all through Central America, the Caribbean, and even Florida.
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The process of growing hibiscus from cutting is fairly simple and a therapeutic experience, which takes between 3-6 hours, depending on the number of plants. It produces bright and big blooms that will transform your space by brightening it up. With these easy growing and maintenance tips and tricks, you are good to go and can enjoy yourself a summer of these gorgeous beauties. Happy growing!
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.