What Is A Braided Hibiscus?
A braided hibiscus (Hibisces carica) is a perennial flowering shrub or small tree with long slender branches. They grow from 1 to 2 meters tall and have glossy green leaves that are often arranged in a spiral pattern. Their flowers are white, oval shaped, and up to 5 mm across.
Braids are made when two or more leaves meet at their tips. When they touch each other, the tips curl around each other creating a loop. The loops then continue down the branch until they reach the ground where they form a braid.
These plants may be grown in containers or out in full sun but prefer partial shade during hot summer months.
How To Grow A Braided Hibiscus Tree?
The best time to start growing a braided hibiscus tree is springtime. You will need to provide them with plenty of light and water. If you want to grow them indoors, make sure they get enough sunlight throughout the day. They do well in pots because they don’t like being submerged so keep your potting material shallow. Make sure there’s room between the bottom of the pot and the top of the roots so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly.
To prune, you should clip off any dead or weak shoots as well as any suckers (shoots that grow out from the roots). This allows the plant to direct its energy into growing larger and stronger. New shoots will begin to appear from the base of the plant.
These shoots may be harvested and potted up individually if you wish to have more plants. To encourage bushiness, pinch out the tip of each shoot when it reaches around 5cm tall. This will encourage side shoots to grow and create a fuller plant.
If you prefer to grow your braided hibiscus outdoors you will need to plant it in well-draining soil that’s rich in humus. They prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade (especially during the hottest parts of the day). They enjoy warmer temperatures and don’t like cold drafts so avoid planting them in exposed locations.
These plants are highly adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of soil types but they prefer rich, well-draining soil. They also like plenty of water so don’t be afraid to give them a long, slow drink every now and again. However, you should avoid watering them from above as the stems are prone to rot if kept wet for extended periods of time.
Feed every 10-14 days with a general-purpose fertilizer.
Dividing braided hibiscus plants is easy and can be done at any time of the year. Use a spade to dig up the plant and carefully tease it out, making sure you don’t damage or break off any of the roots. Replant the divisions as you would a seedling.
Hibiscus colors consist of white, red, pink, purple, yellow and green. These showy flowers bloom in the summer and resemble wine cups.
Hibiscus syriacus grows to between 2 and 3 meters and produces large flowers growing up to 4cm in diameter. The flowers are dark red and bloom in the summer. This species is also known as the Rose of Sharon.
How To Care For Braided Hibiscus Plants?
Braided hibiscus plants should be watered every 7-10 days. They prefer to dry out slightly between watering but don’t allow the soil to become completely dry.
Braided hibiscus plants grow outdoors year-round and prefer temperatures between 60-80 degrees F (16-27 degrees C). They can be placed outdoors anytime of the year and will grow in full sun or partial shade. When temperatures drop below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C), they require some protection such as a cold frame or conservatory.
Braided hibiscus plants prefer loamy soil that is rich in organic matter but can tolerate a wide range of soil types. They require fertilizing every two weeks.
When braided hibiscus plants are grown indoors they should be fertilized every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer. They should be fertilized at half strength and shouldn’t be allowed to direct contact with the roots.
Braided hibiscus plants require dividing every 2-3 years to prevent them from becoming root-bound.
When braided hibiscus plants are grown outdoors, they shouldn’t be divided.
Braided hibiscus plants can be propagated by division or seed. They should be divided every 2-3 years to prevent the root ball from becoming root-bound. Before division, the plant should be soaked in a bucket of water for several hours to make the roots more pliable.
Braided hibiscus plants can also be grown from seed which is best sown when it is fresh. Sow the seeds thinly in pots that have been pre-moistened with lukewarm water. Place the pots in a warm and shaded and place and keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Braided hibiscus plants have attractive gray-green foliage and their large colorful flowers make them popular ornamental plants. They prefer to be placed in sunny positions and require little or no pruning. They have heavy root systems so it is best not to move them once they have become established.
Botrytis bunch rot can be a problem if the plants are over-watered or the humidity is high. This can cause the stems of the flowers to turn brown and the buds to fall off. The Botrytis fungus attacks the fallen flowers and can spread to other flowers.
Fungicides can be used to control the spread of the disease and it is preferable to remove all the flowers (dead or alive) once they have withered.
If Braided hibiscus plants are grown in moist areas or in poorly drained soil, they can suffer from root rot or fungal infections. They should be planted in well-drained soil where they will not remain waterlogged for long periods. If the plants are in pots, they should be elevated above the ground and placed on a gravel bed to improve drainage.
If the root system is severely infected, the plants will require cutting back hard and disposing of all the soil. Clean up the area and sterilize it before replacing the plant.
Whiteflies can attack braided hibiscus plants and cause yellowing of the leaves and leaf drop. Whiteflies are small and fly around plants. They can be difficult to control and can quickly develop resistance to insecticides.
Aphids are tiny green, black, pink, or red ants with soft bodies that pierce the plants and suck out the sap. This causes the leaves to wilt and detracts from the appearance of the plant.
Scale insects are also common pests. They produce a sticky substance that protects them from adverse conditions. They can occur all over the plant, but are usually found on the stems or undersides of the leaves.
Treating braided hibiscus plants for pests is difficult due to their large leaf surfaces. Insecticides should only be used when absolutely necessary and only after thorough spraying of the whole plant.
Sources & references used in this article:
Purple hibiscus: a novel by CN Adichie – 2012 – books.google.com
Healing the Bruised and Mothering the Motherless: The Ájé in Elizabeth Nunez’s Bruised Hibiscus by GB Montgomery – Journal of Pan African Studies, 2017 – tobuk.co
Hibiscus on the lake: twentieth-century Telugu poetry from India by V Nārāyaṇarāvu – 2003 – books.google.com
Esperanza rising by PM Ryan – 2000 – books.google.com
What Are Fronds For? by W Arbeit – 1985 – books.google.com
A Weaver’s Garden: growing plants for natural dyes and fibers by R Buchanan – 1999 – books.google.com
The seed underground: A growing revolution to save food by J Ray – 2012 – books.google.com
Plants in Hawaiian culture by BH Krauss – 1993 – books.google.com
Fray: Art and textile politics by J Bryan-Wilson – 2017 – books.google.com