Growing Hibiscus - The Most Spectacular Summer Flower
Two Types of Hibiscus
The beautiful plants you purchase at your local garden center are usually plants that will not survive a New England winter. So I call them annuals for this region.
My "annual" survived a winter in the basement where it went dormant November thru March. I left it in the corner of the basement and did not water it. In April I started watering it and put it in its favorite spot on the deck. If the weatherman predicts a frost, bring it into the house.
The second type of hibiscus is a perennial. You can plant them in the ground or in containers and leave them outdoors all winter. They're called hardy hibiscus.
Perennial Hardy Hibiscus
The second photo above - hardy hibiscus - were grown from seeds, braided into one plant, and has yet to flower, although there are plenty of flower buds (see photo at right).
This variety of hibiscus is called red luna hardy hibiscus (see Amazon seeds below).
Growing Hardy Hibiscus
Growing hardy hibiscus (in CT) involves several steps as follows:
- Order seeds in January (see above - Amazon has several choices). I ordered 20 seeds.
- Plant seeds in February/March. Follow directions on seed packets. I used grow lights set up for 18 hours a day light. I watered every day. All the seeds sprouted. I was lucky.
- Transfer plants outdoors (April - May). Once it got warmer outdoors, I moved them to a small green house. If you don't have a greenhouse, keep them in a protected area with a few hours of sun during the day for a few weeks. Too much sun and the leaves will burn. Also, bring them indoors if a frost is predicted.
- Braid plants (optional). Before you plant them in a container or the ground, you may want to braid them (3 or 4 plants). There are directions for braiding hibiscus on youtube. If you find these directions too difficult, find braiding directions for hair online. Be careful when braiding the plants, they break if mishandled.
- Water and fertilize. Water hibiscus plants every other day with half-strength Miracle Gro (see below).
A Note About The Annual Hibiscus
Sometimes you can find a bargain annual hibiscus. I found mine at Walmart at the end of the season (May). The poor plant was severely neglected but revived with a little TLC. I think it cost $12 instead of the usual $40 - $60 at a garden center.