Hibiscus rosa-sinensis | Chinese Hibiscus | Hawaiian Hibiscus | Rose of China. Generally found in tropical areas of Asia.
There are several distinct types of Hibiscus - some can be grown indoors in colder areas - some require tropical conditions. The main Hibiscus for growing as an indoor plant is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and its many hybrid forms. It is of course, from tropical climates - as with the vast majority of plants we grow indoors. Plants which are grown in gardens in non-tropical areas are not normally suited as house plants. Example being Hibiscus syriacus types. Garden shrubs NOT indoor plants.
Indoor Hibiscus could normally be described by its huge red flower with protruding anther colorfully contrasted with the yellow pollen stamens - resembling a bottle brush. Now - thanks to the hybridists we have gaudy double flowered types and single flowers of colours ranging from white through to deepest crimson scarlet.
The Plant: The Hibiscus is an evergreen shrub with glossy green foliage and flowers which may be red, orange, pink, white or yellow.
The flowers do not last long, but there tends to be a succession of them over the flowering period. Flowers may be single or double and have a protruding central stamen.
The flowers of a well-grown indoor Hibiscus can be 5in across - but 4in is the norm. The brightly colored flowers are set off well against the dark green glossy foliage - other than with the variegated form!
Its needs: Good light is required to prolong flowering period, but avoid direct sun which causes leaf scorch. Normal humidity and room temperature. Do not allow temperature to drop below 13 C (55 F). There is a mistaken belief that all things from the tropic are sun-worshippers. Dappled shade is normally their requirement in such areas.
Do not move or turn the plant once the flower buds have formed as this may cause them to drop. They hats disturbance at this time, so choose your position for growing carefully.
Trim back long shoots after flowering or in early spring. Re-pot in spring. The Hibiscus can be stood outside in a sheltered spot in summer but avoid strong sun.
Good for: Hibiscus make good showy plants with cheerful, exotic-looking blooms. Easy to maintain.
Flower and flower bud drop. Can be a problem with a change in watering regime, too much feed and in particular, the plant being turned or relocated.
Can suffer from scale insects, mealybugs whitefly and aphids. Careful and regular inspection of your prized plant will avert an infestation. Sooty mould deposit on the leaves may be the first sign you have of an insect infestation.
Semi-ripe cutting mid-summer is the easiest way. But the cuttings will need to be around 6in long so large propagator or a few placed around the edge of a pot and then covered with clear plastic bag.
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