How to Grow Hybrid Hibiscus

Hybrid Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Estrella F. Alabastro”)

An addition to the Hibiscus species, a new hybrid of gumamela was bred locally by the Department of Plant Breeding at the UPLB-IPB, UP Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines.

The plant was carefully screened for beauty, hardiness, ease of propagation, and vigor which are important qualities to attract buyers and plant lovers.

The propagation is the same to the other hibiscus species except that this new hybrid needs a thorough understanding of plant propagation techniques.

To have a successful hibiscus production, the following management activities should be properly given due consideration.

Cultural Requirements

Hibiscus plant thrives best in an open field with enough supply of sunlight since they are tropical in nature that need enough light. Full sunlight is essential to make the plant develop fully and bear flowers profusely.

Those grown in shaded place are lanky and only bears few flowers. So, avoid planting them in shaded place.

Soil Requirement

Hibiscus are not choosy in their soil requirements, especially in their productive period. However, at the early stage of plant growth, hibiscus should be grown in porous, sandy soil with manures and organic compost.

The soil should be in good drainage. Hibiscus don’t thrives best in heavy soil and poor drainage because they can’t stand in waterlogged areas.

Plant Nutrition

Hibiscus planted in pots should be fertilized regularly with complete fertilizer either granular or foliar. Dilute 1 tablespoons of complete fertilizer in a gallon of water and apply every 2 weeks.

For those planted directly in the field, the following amount of fertilizer requirement should be strictly executed: 5-10 grams for small plants, 20-25 grams for medium plants, and 30-40 grams for large plants. After applying the fertilizer, water the soil to dissolve the fertilizer.

To improve the quality of flowers of your hibiscus, you should mix the complete fertilizer with a high level of Potassium and apply the mixture once a month.

Water Management

Though hibiscus doesn’t like waterlogged areas, they are water lovers but not to the extent of over-watering them.

Regular watering of hibiscus gives you a continuous supply of flowers the whole year round. On sunny days, water them every 3 days. During rainy days, you should water only when needed to avoid root rot infestation. Root rot is prevalent during this period.

To conserve water and to control pests and weeds accumulation, put mulching materials especially in the open field. The ideal mulching materials are: plastic mulch, rice hull or rice straw.

Don’t limit only the above materials as mulch, but you can use other mulching materials available in your country as a substitute of the above materials.

Plant Maintenance

As a gardener, you should be observant to your plant needs. Though they don’t talk, their physical appearance will give you signs for your immediate attention. Hibiscus are showy plants. They response productively when they are properly taken cared and pruned at least once a year.

Pruning hibiscus encourages the development of new plant growth from the pruned area from which new flowers will bloom for the next season. The best time to prune hibiscus is from May and September (under Philippine conditions these are dry months).

In your country they may not be the same with the Philippine conditions. Just observe the dry months in your country when you apply pruning to your hibiscus.

To produce healthy growth and beautiful flowers the succeeding season, cut the plant approximately 1/3 of its height.

You have to remove dead branches and those lying near the ground. Also thin out branches on the center of the plants to have a balance branches and flower distribution. This will add the appearance of the plants attractiveness once the flowers starts to bloom.

Pests and Diseases Control

The presence of pests and diseases in your hibiscus plants affects their growth performance and flower production. Therefore, always check your plants for possible attack of the pests and diseases.

The most common pests of hibiscus are…

1. Flower worms. This pest usually infest the leaves, flower buds and flowers.

2. Aphids. Aphids causes the curling of the young foliage which may be unattractive when the attack is serious.

3. Spiraling white flies. This pest attack the leaves which causes the malformation of the entire foliage.

4. Green hoppers. Serious attack of the pest to the leaves will results to cupping and yellowing of the leaves.

5. Black flea beetles. Also attack the leaves and the result will lead to shot holes in the entire leaves.

To control the damage of your entire hibiscus plants, apply the recommended insecticides specifically for the specific pests. Ask from any agriculture store in your area the specific pesticides for the insect pest.

The most common diseases of hibiscus identified are…

1. Leaf spot. The plant affected with leaf spot causes the browning and black spots on the leaves.

2. Root or collar rots. This disease attack the root and stem which results to the rotting of the entire stems and roots.

You can control these diseases by controlling water application and improve soil drainage. Check your pots if the water are properly draining out after watering. If planted in the open field, check the drainage canal of any obstacles for the free flow of water.

To chemically control these diseases, use Dithane 45 by drenching into the plant base of the plants to kill them.

But, if you can avoid chemicals, use the natural control methods by applying some plant repellants or homemade insecticides.