How To Plant Hibiscus Seeds – Tips For Sowing Hibiscus Seeds
Hibiscus (Lilium) are one of the most popular flowers in nature. They have been used medicinally for centuries and their leaves contain powerful antibacterial properties. In fact, they are so effective at killing bacteria that they can even kill some types of cancer cells! You may wonder why it is called “hibiscus” when there are many other plants with similar names. The name comes from the Latin word for “leaf”.
In addition to being used medicinally, hibiscus is a beautiful flower that makes a lovely accent in any garden. These flowers grow wild all over the world, but they prefer moist soil and full sun. Most varieties grown commercially are hybrids or cultivars which were created through selective breeding. A hybrid is made up of two different species: usually one parent being native to its region and another introduced into it by humans.
The first step in growing hibiscus is to get them in your hands. There are several ways to do this; however, I like to use my fingers because they don’t hurt and they allow me to easily pick out the tiny little seeds. If you want to save time, then you could buy pre-packaged seed packets online. However, if you’re looking for something new and interesting, then try planting these little white flowers yourself!
The best way to do this is to buy your seeds online. There are many different kinds of hibiscus and you can find them all on Amazon or Ebay.
Choose a spot in your yard that gets a lot of sun. These plants thrive in hot weather, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing a location. Picking a spot near a fence or hedge will help keep your hibiscus from wandering off when they start to bloom.
Make a hole with your finger in the dirt. The hole should be about 1-2 inches deep, depending on the type of hibiscus you’ve planted. Place one or two seeds in the hole and gently cover them back up with dirt. Water the hole with a bottle of water (or some other type of non-chemical fertilizer).
That’s it! Now all you have to do is wait.
Hibiscus can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to germinate. There is no way to speed up the process so don’t waste your time sitting around and waiting. Go do something else and check on your plants every once in awhile.
How To Nick Hibiscus Seeds
Before you start these steps, make sure you have time on your hands because it’s going to take a while for the seeds to sprout.
Step 1: Get a container that has a lid. I used an old pasta sauce jar.
Step 2: Get about 3 oz. of hibiscus flower heads (dry, obviously).
Step 3: Put the flower heads in the container and cover with water. Let soak for 8 hours (or overnight).
Step 4: Pour out the contents of the container into a colander. This will get rid of most of the fluff.
Step 5: Spread the hibiscus flower fluff evenly on a cookie sheet and place in your oven on low heat (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Leave in the oven for two hours.
Step 6: Let the mixture cool in the cookie sheet for 30 minutes.
Step 7: Carefully place the cookie sheet with the dried hibiscus into your container. Put the lid on. Now you can store it until you need it.
How To Nick Hibiscus Seeds (The Nicking Process)
This is the part where you get to see some action!
Step 1: Pick out one dried hibiscus seed pod (capsule). They should be completely dried out and have a slightly woody feel.
Step 2: Carefully remove the string that holds the pod together. Don’t worry about the string, you can use it later.
Step 3: Hold the dried pod with one hand and place your thumb nail against the seam. Quickly apply pressure and move your nail to the side. You should feel the shell start to separate.
Step 4: Continue doing this until the pod opens. Don’t rush this part, take your time and be careful when moving your nail around the pod. You don’t want to cut yourself or damage the seeds inside.
Step 5: Once the pod is open, use a pin or toothpick to gently prod the seeds out of their home.
Step 6: Place the seeds on a paper towel for a few hours. After a few hours, the seeds should be dry enough to plant.
Now that you have your seeds planted, what comes next?
Caring For Your New Hibiscus
These plants need water every single day. Even if it hasn’t rained and the ground is completely dry, your hibiscus still needs water.
You’ll also need to fertilize your plants about once every two weeks. You can use a general purpose fertilizer or something meant for flowers. Follow the instructions on the back of the package for how much to use.
Pruning your plant will also be necessary so that it has enough room to grow. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than it sounds. All you need is a sharp knife and some basic knowledge of how the plant grows (see diagram above).
Now that your hibiscus is all grown up, it’s time to re-pot it. Your plant will become root bound if it stays in the same pot for too long, which will stunt its growth. The best time to re-pot a plant is in the springtime. Have a bigger pot ready for when it’s time to transfer it.
When it’s time to transfer your hibiscus, follow these steps:
Slowly dig up the hibiscus and gently remove as much of the surrounding soil as you can. Try not to damage the roots too much. Once it’s loose, place the plant into the new pot. Add a few inches of potting soil mix to the new pot. Gently place the hibiscus in the middle and make sure the root ball is covered.
Add more soil mix until the hibiscus is at the same level it was in its last pot. Add water until it starts draining out the bottom. Once a day, give the plant a good amount of water. It should be enough to form a small puddle at the base of the pot.
That’s all there is to it! You’re well on your way to having a hibiscus that’s vibrant and healthy and ready for anything Mother Nature throws at it!
Sources & references used in this article:
Differential pollen‐tube growth rates and nonrandom fertilization in Hibiscus moscheutos (Malvaceae) by AA Snow, TP Spira – American Journal of Botany, 1991 – Wiley Online Library
Screening of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) genotypes for low temperature requirements during germination and evaluation of feasibility of seed production in Italy by LG Angelini, M Macchia, L Ceccarini, E Bonari – Field Crops Research, 1998 – Elsevier
Delayed selfing and low levels of inbreeding depression in Hibiscus trionum (Malvaceae) by M Ramsey, L Seed, G Vaughton – Australian Journal of Botany, 2003 – CSIRO
Effect of sowing date on the growth and yield of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) grown under irrigation in tropical Australia II. Stem production by IM Wood, RC Muchow, D Ratcliff – Field Crops Research, 1983 – Elsevier
Effects of thidiazuron and nutrient salt formulations on micropropagation of hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos L.) by T West, JE Preece – … Development, Evaluation, Production and Use 630, 2002 – actahort.org
Phytotoxicity of Chromium on Germination, Growth and Biochemical Attributes of Hibiscus esculentus L. by H Amin, BA Arain, F Amin, MA Surhio – American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2013 – scirp.org
Temporal and geographic variation in predispersal seed predation on Hibiscus moscheutos L.(Malvaceae) in Ohio and Maryland, USA by RA Klips, PM Sweeney, EKF Bauman… – The American Midland …, 2005 – BioOne
Fatty acid and oil variation in seed from kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) by R Coetzee, MT Labuschagne, A Hugo – industrial crops and products, 2008 – Elsevier