The Queen of the flowers.
Hibiscus are an ornamental evergreen shrub making a spectacular show of colour in late spring through to autumn. Performs well in a sunny, well drained, moist position preferring a light compost enriched soil. Protect from cold winds and frost. Prune after flowering and fertilize and water well during flowering season. In cool areas plant hibiscus in a north/western aspect, giving the plant shelter from the early morning sun. Hibiscus are ideal as a specimen shrub, hedges and for containers.
5 Frequently asked questions about hibiscus
Q. What soil preparation is necessary before planting my hibiscus?
A. *Hibiscus prefer to be planted on their own. It’s best not to plant them amongst other shrubs where they have to compete for sun, food and water.
*Choose an open sunny position sheltered from cold winds. Full sun is essential although hibiscus can be grown in part shade but will not bloom as prolifically as if grown in full sun. They require at least half a day’s full sun.
*Hibiscus thrive in a sandy soil enriched with organic compost. Apply an application of slow release fertilizer at time of planting. Hibiscus will not tolerate ‘wet feet’ so ensure the soil is well drained or raise the level of the garden bed intended for planting.
Q. What fertilizers do you recommend to feed my hibiscus with?
A. *Nitrophoska comes in a slow release form which is a good fertilizer for hibiscus.
*Composted animal manures such as Richgro All-In-One, cow manure and pelletized chicken manure provide excellent nutrients for hibiscus plants, also good to use when planting hibiscus.
*If you have an alkaline soil, an acid-forming fertilizer such as Azalea & Camellia Food may be beneficial.
Q. Why do the buds on my Hibiscus drop off before opening into full blooms?
A. There can be a few different causes which result in bud drop. Some varieties are more susceptible to this problem. Adverse weather such as hot days and cool nights can also be a cause of bud drop. If bud drop persists it may be better to remove the plant and replace with another variety of hibiscus. Firstly follow the steps below.
*Fertilize the plant and apply an application of liquid potash.
*Avoid using White Oil insecticide. Pest Oil can be used as an alternative spray.
Q. When the flowers of my Hibiscus open they are brown around the edge and something seems to have eaten little holes through the petals. Wonder what is causing this?
A. This is a good indication that Hibiscus Beetle is present. This dull black, oval shaped small beetle is often found in large numbers in hibiscus and rose flowers. Their presence is often noticed with the petals turning brown around the edge and the flowers have a lifeless appearance. They will chew holes in petals of hibiscus flowers but unlikely to be responsible for holes in their leaves. Control by spraying with malathon, carbaryl or Yates Mavrick.
Q. When is the best time to prune Hibiscus?
A. Evergreen hibiscus can be pruned anytime to control growth, though avoid pruning when weather is extreme. Pruning is done to obtain the desired shape, to remove dead and weak growth and to produce new wood to encourage better flowering. Always prune to an outward point bud and cut at a slight angle with the bud eye on the high side of the slant.
For more gardening tips and information join Our Gardening Corner.