Hibiscus are beautiful flowers that grow in tropical areas all over the world. They have been used for centuries in traditional medicine as well as being popularly grown for their ornamental value. There are many different types of hibiscus, but they tend to look very similar. The most common type is called “Moving Hibiscus” because it grows from one place to another rather than growing from seeds or stems like other varieties do.
What Is Hibiscus?
Hibiscus is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Mints are flowering plants with small white flowers that usually bloom in late winter or early spring. They’re native to warm climates throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. These plants produce fragrant white flowers which attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Some species of mint can even make their own honey!
How To Grow Hibiscus?
The plant genus name for hibiscus is Mentha. Its scientific name is Hibiscenium luteum. It’s native to the island of Madagascar, where it grows wild in the rainforests and dry savannas. The leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. You can also use them as a tea, sprinkled on food or mixed into fruit juice or smoothies.
The plant has several traditional medicinal uses. Its flowers can be used to make a herbal tea that relieves skin inflammations and treats colds, sore throats and coughs. The roots can be boiled to make a sedative tea that relieves stress and anxiety. The leaves can be used to make a poultice that reduces swelling and soothes skin irritation.
How Do You Transplant A Moving Hibiscus?
Start by placing a small amount of potting soil into a container about half an inch thick. Place the hibiscus cutting onto the soil and lightly cover it with more soil. It should be at soil level and not buried too deeply, otherwise it can die.
Water the soil until it is evenly moist, but not soggy. Place the plant in a location that receives partial shade to full sun exposure and retains a temperature between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the soil consistently moist for the first month and then less frequently after that.
When you see signs of fresh growth, such as new leaves and green stems, harden off the hibiscus by placing it outside in a sheltered area for a few hours at a time over a one to two week period. When it shows no signs of leaf damage or wilting after these periods, it is ready to move into more lengthy outdoor periods and can ultimately be planted into the ground.
Moving hibiscus plants from one location to another involves several steps. You should only attempt to transplant an established hibiscus plant that is more than a year old, as younger plants tend to wilt and die after being transplanted. You can grow your own hibiscus cutting at home or purchase a rooted hibiscus cutting from a nursery.
Hibiscus grows best in full sunlight with a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight. The plant does not do well in shady conditions. It can survive in partial shade, but it won’t flower if the conditions are too shadowy. If planted in direct sunlight, the hibiscus will need a minimum of three hours of daily watering.
If planted in a shadier area, it will only require an hour of watering every other day.
To begin planting your hibiscus, first prepare the soil. Dig a hole three times the width and depth of the container your cutting is in. Remove the hibiscus from its container and place it in the hole. Carefully fill the hole with soil and lightly pat it around the root ball.
Do not press down on the soil or you could damage the hibiscus roots. Water the soil until it is evenly damp.
Place the potted hibiscus in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. The plant will also need protection from strong winds and should be placed at least five feet away from any fencing or buildings. Water the soil once a week and add mulch around the pot to retain moisture in the soil.
Hibiscus plants can grow from either seeds or stem cuttings. Mature hibiscus flowers will have a round seed pod that is either red or yellow when the flower dies. The pod will split open when it is ready to be pollinated and distributed. You can place the seeds directly onto the soil and lightly cover them with soil, or place them in a container and wait for them to grow.
Add a bottom layer of small rocks to a pot to promote good drainage. Use potting soil mixed with peat moss to fill in the pot and lightly cover the rocks. Place the hibiscus seeds on top of the soil and add more soil to cover them completely, but not too tightly. Add a very thin layer of soil over the seeds to ensure they are in contact with the soil.
Water the soil until it is evenly moist and place the pot in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Seeds need at least 12 hours of sunlight every day to grow. Cover the pot with plastic to keep the moisture in and place it in a location that is protected from strong winds and extreme temperatures.
When the seedlings reach six to eight leaves, they are large enough to transplant and can be placed outside in the ground or in another container. If you wait until the seedlings have at least three to four sets of leaves, they can be transplanted into a larger container or the ground.
Water your hibiscus plant throughout the year except during the winter. Water it once a week and only water it twice a month in the winter.
Hibiscus are prone to infestations by aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. These insects can all be controlled with the use of insecticidal soap. You can also use fungicide if the plant gets infected with fungus.
Harvesting your hibiscus is a fun process. After your plant has spent at least two years in the ground, it will be large enough to harvest. Carefully pluck the petals off the flower and spread them out to dry. The petals will turn from red to a light orange after they are completely dry.
Store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.
With very little effort, you can have delicious hibiscus tea every day. All you need to do is place dried petals into your container of choice, cover it with water, and let it steep for 8 hours. Strain out the petals and enjoy!
Hibiscus are one of the easiest flowers to grow and can be found in many different colors. They look great in a garden and they taste delicious! What’s not to love?
Sources & references used in this article:
AUSTRALIAN NATIVE HIBISCUS by HING DESIGN, HASA SCREEN – hibiscus.org
Ornamental Hibiscus—Propagation and Culture by HY Nakasone, FD Rauch – 1980 – scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu
Evaluation of four spray regimes of Monocrotophos for control of Earias spp. damage to seed Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) by TA Fadare, NA Amusa – World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2005 – Citeseer
Variation in floral induction requirements of Hibiscus sp. by RM Warner, JE Erwin – Journal of the American Society for …, 2001 – journals.ashs.org