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Hibiscus

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  • Indoor Plants
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

We find this shrub, which can reach three to five meters in height, in different tropical regions of Asia. It is grown for its 10-15 cm solitary red flowers. Although they fade quickly, the plant blooms all summer long. Hibiscus rarely exceed a height of 1.5 meters indoors. There are many cultivars with single or double flowers of different colors and foliage of various shapes.

Species, cultivars and related plants

There are many cultivars with single or double flowers of different colors (red, yellow, orange, white or bicolor). Leaves, usually dark green and toothed, can take many forms (from oval to highly lobed), depending on the cultivar. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Cooperi’ has green variegated foliage, tinged with pink and cream, and scarlet flowers.

Common name

Hibiscus / Chinese hibiscus / China rose

Latin name (genus)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

French common name

Botanical family

  • Malvaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

Hibiscus requires a lot of light and sun. Place the plant near a sunny window, preferably facing west or south. A temperature of about 20 to 22ºC during the growth period and around 18 to 20ºC in winter is ideal – it should never fall below 15ºC. Also avoid sudden changes in temperature, cold drafts and heat sources. Hibiscus tolerates a dry atmosphere but prefers it when the air humidity is high. This plant is often grown outdoors in summer. Acclimatize gradually, placing it in light shade protected from prevailing winds for two weeks before putting it in full sun. Bring it back inside at the beginning of September, before the first frost.

Easy to grow?

Hibiscus is quite easy to grow as long as there is enough light, but inadequate watering or air humidity can often cause yellowing and leaf drop. It is a plant that grows vigorously, but flowering is regular and frequent only if growing conditions are adequate.

Watering and fertilizer

In summer, water regularly, letting the soil surface dry slightly between waterings. Outside, water more frequently, as the soil will dry more quickly. In winter, reduce watering frequency and let the soil dry a little more, especially if the temperature is cooler. During the growing season (March to October), fertilize once a month with a flowering plant fertilizer rich in phosphorus, such as 15-30-15, or with a balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20. Stop fertilizing in the winter.

Pruning and maintenance

For abundant summer flowering, prune severely and regularly, pinching the ends of the stems in spring, as flowers will form on new growth during the summer. If necessary, remove stems that are weak, too long or dried out. To rejuvenate or contain the growth of a hibiscus, prune the stems and roots in equal proportions in the spring before re-potting.

Repotting

The hibiscus will stop flowering if it is too cramped in its pot, so choose a slightly larger pot where the roots can spread. Transplant preferably in the spring, in tropical plant potting mixture that is rich in organic matter and drains well.

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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