Hibiscus, Popular Florida Plant
Hibiscus are one of the most widely used plant in landscaping. Hibiscus produce beautiful flowers with a variety of bold colors, as soon as flowers wilt new ones open the next morning. Blooming time is usually from spring to the end of fall. Proper care of Hibiscus is needed to keep them healthy and growing at their best.
Hibiscus Plant Varieties
Varieties are determined by plant growth habit, size, form, and color of flowers. Plants range from low spreading forms, to upright reaching 20 feet in height. Some are compact and dense while others are open and thin. Hibiscus flowers can be single or double forms. Many variations exist between varieties. Basic flower colors are red, orange, yellow, white, lavender or pink. There is a broad range of color combinations and mix.
Proper placement is the first step in good care of Hibiscus. They are used as informal hedges or screens, foundation plants, or as a background for other garden plants. They do not do well as formal sheard hedges. It is better to use a single variety and color for mass planting than mixing, for appearance. Single trunk called “Standards” are great for patios, terraces, and flower gardens. The Hibiscus tree is often placed in ceramic pots or plastic containers.
Planting Hibiscus should be according to their mature size, DO NOT plant too close together to avoid problems. Three to four feet apart is required for mass planting. Plant labels on Hibiscus care should give information on width at mature size.
They should be watered thoroughly after planting and frequently until established. Once established water one time a week depending on rainfall and air temperature. During drought water heavily twice a week. Hibiscus need to be in well-drained soil and do not like being soaking wet. Proper watering care of Hibiscus is important in keeping them growing correctly.
Fertilizing Care Of Hibiscus
To maintain a healthy growing plant regular fertilization is needed, proper treatment helps them with blooming. Hibiscus need four light applications per year. One in early spring, second after first growth flush, third in middle of summer, and a fourth in the fall. The amount per application depends on the size of the Hibiscus plant.
Use a fertilizer for shrubs containing the essential nutrients and micronutrients, iron and manganese. Spread it beneath the canopy to slightly beyond the branches. Avoid piling it on the stems or base of the plant. Water immediately after applying Hibiscus fertilizer.
Hibiscus Plant Care For Insects
A big part in the care of Hibiscus is insect control. Insects that can damage Hibiscus are Aphids, Whiteflies, Thrips, Spider Mites, and Mealybugs. Pests can become a problem if the plant is not getting good air circulation. If large populations develop it can be difficult to eliminate them. Routine inspection is important in stopping an infestation. Treat insects with a “Contact” or “Systemic” spray pesticide. A regular program of using a “Systemic” insecticide can control them. Follow directions on label, do not apply during extreme wind for good coverage and safety.
Disease Care For Hibiscus
Common diseases are “Canker”, “Root Rot”, and “Leaf Spot”. “Canker” is a fungus that causes the branches to die back. Reddish-Orange bodies will be found on the diseased bark. Best control is to prune off affected branches and destroy them. Do not leave them on the ground.
“Root Rot” is from too much water, from overwatering or poorly drained soil. When this occurs leaves will wilt and turn completly brown or grey. Treat immediately spraying liquid fungicide, stop watering, let soil dry out. Soak ground with liquid fungicide for severe cases. Remove dead plants right away. A second application is needed after 10 days for the best disease care of Hibiscus for “Root Rot”.
“Leaf Spot” is caused by a bacteria, but usualy is not a severe problem. It is noticeable by brown spots on leaves. Pick off spotted leaves if not too many have this. Spray plant with fungicide and rake up fallen leaves. Repeat spraying after 10 days. Plant care for disease is needed to keep Hibiscus staying in good health.
Yellow Leaves On Hibiscus Plants
Hibiscus plant leaves can turn yellow and plant will look unsightly. This is a normal occurrence and leaves will eventually fall off, new growth will appear. This is not a cause for alarm. You can pick them off when they turn yellow keeping a green look.
Hibiscus Care For Bud Dropping
Premature bud dropping can often be a problem, especially with some varieties of “Doubles”. These types may bloom good during one period of the year then drop their buds at other times. When selecting this should be considered. The most common cause is from the insect “Thrips”, which can be controlled by a regular program of spraying a “Systemic” insecticide. Other causes are poor drainage, too much water, drought, saltwater spray. With proper care of Hibiscus bud dropping will be minimized.
Simple care of Hibiscus by proper, placement, watering, fertilization, insect, and disease control, makes them easy to maintain. This will insure a healthy growing Hibiscus. They are able to bounce back from most situations and return to normal. With so many colorful flower choices one can see why people cannot pass them up.
Learn what to look for when purchasing quality plants.
Author, Kurt Kmetz