There are two types of hibiscus: tropical and hardy. While some hardy hibiscus can handle winter temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the tropical variety succumbs to temperatures below the 55 degree Fahrenheit mark. Planting your hibiscus in a pot that contains adequate drainage solves this temperature dilemma, allowing you to move the pot from location to location depending on the weather.
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Things you need
- 14-inch pot
- Soil-less potting mix
Fill a 14-inch pot 1 inch from the rim with a soilless potting mix. Soil-less potting mixes are peat-based and provide an airy environment for the hibiscus roots to expand.
Use your hands to create a planting hole in the soilless mix. Set the hibiscus in the hole with the root-flare above the soil line. The root-flare is the portion of the plant where the main stem meets the roots. Add some more soil to the bottom of the hole if the hibiscus doesn't sit high enough in the pot.
Pat the soil around the main stem of the hibiscus and water deeply. During a deep watering, the water should flow through the layers of soil in the pot and eventually out the drainage holes in the bottom. Maintain moist soil at all times with deep, weekly soakings.
Set the hibiscus in an area of your home that receives bright, indirect sunlight or move the hibiscus to a sunny outdoor area that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. If you choose the outdoor option, make sure that the evening temperatures are above 12.8 degrees Celsius or your hibiscus will succumb to the cold.
Feed the potted hibiscus a 20-20-20 fertiliser. A slow-release, water-soluble fertiliser is best for hibiscus. Follow the manufacturer's instructions printed on the fertiliser's packaging label for allocation amounts and application methods. Potted hibiscus usually appreciates a dose of fertiliser monthly.
Tips and warnings
- If you are growing your potted hibiscus indoors, it may be prone to fly infestations every now and then. A five to 10 minute warm water shower can help. Simply cover the top of the pot with cling film or aluminium foil, secured tight with a rubber band. Pop it in the shower and use the shower hose to spray both the tops and bottoms of the leaves. Let the hibiscus drip dry in the shower afterward.
- As your hibiscus grows, it may begin to outgrow its pot or become root-bound. When you see roots growing out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot or if the soil dries out quicker than normal, it is probably time to switch to a 16-inch pot.
- A plastic pot may not be the best choice for hibiscus growing outdoors. The hot sun beating on the plastic pot can damage the roots of the hibiscus. A clay pot won't heat-up like plastic and is usually a much better choice for outdoor planting.
- Never expose indoor hibiscus to direct sunlight. The sun peeking through the window glass, directly onto the leaves, can cause scorching. A lightweight drape placed over the window can help filter the sunlight.
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