I'm in the same boat as another poster here. Most have tropical hibiscus but I prefer hardy hibiscus that I can grow in my yard --- those that die back but will come back the next year. I had no idea there was such an animal until I went on another garden forum and someone in S.C. had one.
I had two tropicals last year and fell in love with them. But the ants were so bad I didn't want to bring them inside when summer was over. They were drop dead gorgeous all summer and required very little attention. The blooms were huge. I have no idea what their names were but one was red and one was pink. They both went on the compost pile when it got cold here.
I bought another tropical this year (yellow, "Sunny Wind") and it has bloomed beautifully for me ... still blooming, but it has slowed down considerably. It also has a bad ant problem and will go on the compost pile as soon as it dies.
Then I learned about the hardy ones and finally found two at my local Pike's Nursery last month --- both pink and beautiful. They were labeled "Rose Mallow 'The Clown.'" Both have about had it for this year but I'm looking forward to seeing those beautiful, huge, pink blooms next summer. They are supposed to grow to about 4-7 feet, both tall and wide, according to the label, and are fast growers. The blooms are very similar to my Rose of Sharon but are about 5 times as big.
My problem is, I have no idea how to properly take care of these beauties. I have discovered that they are real water hogs and the leaves start to droop at the first sign of dryness. But as far as what type of fertilizer to feed ... I haven't a clue. Would really appreciate any pointers. I am in Zone 7b, just south of Atlanta.
I would treat them the way you treat any other blooming shrub or plant. Some slow release fertilizer in the spring should be plenty, the hardy hibs are not heavy feeders. They would also benefit from some good compost this fall.
So sad that you have ants in your tropicals; they make great indoor plants if you have a sunny window. Sunny Wind is a great bloomer.
Hi Judy in Ga, I had ants in one of my tropicals. Had it setting on a metal kitchen stool & when I picked it up the fire ants were going wild. Sprinkled some fire ant granules on the stool & some in the pot. End of problem. Keep those little round, metal things setting around in the GH when my plants are in there. The ones where you punch out the holes in the sides. Has always taken care of the ant population. You don't have to toss your tropical unless you just want to. One thing I have read about the Hardy type is to leave the stems on until next spring before removing them. Read that cutting stems before spring allows water to get in the stem & may cause you to lose the plant. Can't remember whether cut stems allowed them to rot or freeze. Spring is usually when I get around to cutting mine back anyway. :-) Mine seem to come back early & have green shoots when I do cut the dead parts off. Agee they are soooooo lovely & I don't want to lose the few I have. Good luck with your Hibs.
Gosh! Thanks, y'all, for the responses. And especially Judy for the tip about not cutting the stems back until spring. I would have cut it back as soon as it all turned brown.
The ants are those tiny little black ants. They like my Rose of Sharon too so it must be something in the bloom. Just too icky to deal with. This is the first year I haven't had ants in the house in the summer. I treated the perimeter with Maxide last spring. But they're back in the plants. My petunias had them pretty bad too.
Ardesia, I appreciate the advice on fertilizer and compost. I'll slip them some slow release in the spring. I have never grown hibiscus before so I need all the help I can get. I had no idea something this beautiful and tropical looking would grow here. I only got a couple of blooms after I purchased them before they started fading out for the fall. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do next spring.
Hey, Judy, your Sunny Wind is gorgeous. Love the other flowers with it. I definitely want more hardy types. Mine never make seed. But, they come back. Doing some trading for some of the others. Noticed the Hardy & ROS that Dave has been putting up. I liked the newer color on my Tropical too. But, it has gone back to apricot. Don't know if it was the ant killer, the temp change or the fact that we were getting rain, which at that time was a blessing. Thanks for sharing your pix...they are so pretty & its nice to have a new person posting pix. Nice people on DG & always willing to help. Thanks again for sharing your beautiful flowers with us.
I had 3 sunny wind hibiscus and a peach one (name on that one unknown).. Out of the 4 plants only one seeds, and when i say seeds i mean like every flower turns to a pod.. I only brought that one and the peach in for the winter because the other 2 looked a bit sad (my dogs break them all up to get the flowers) and from 2 flowers that have bloomed indoors with no sun they have gone to pods.. by far a great plant... I have never had any luck with overwintering tropical hibiscus they always seem to die.. these ones will be my last to buy, so if it makes it great if not i give up.. I just this summer found the hardy ones.. Thats the way I will be going.. have 2 plants that are overwintering in the ground and plan to add any and all i can this year from seeds.. I have a bunch, i'm getting ready...
On that ad on the right that Dave's shows on this forum ... make it Hibiscus Moscheutos Luna Pink Swirl. So very, very pretty. Want it! Want it!
Judy, looking forward to seeing your hardies next year and Jen, yours too. Both of mine should overwinter, if my information is correct. Now that I know about them, will probably not waste my money on tropicals any more. (That's probably a lie. If I can't resist one, I'll surely buy it! Even if I end up throwing it away.)
My Sunny Wind has given it up for the season. Lots of buds that will never open. Foliage thinning out and yellowing. Temps are in the 40s at night. Guess it's time to give it a proper sendoff to the compost pile.
no they all seed, i have had about 20 seed pods burst full of seeds this year.. no the ones last year lookes very sad when i brought them in and thats why i think they didn't make it, thats why i only brought in the 2 healthy ones this year..
The grower Fleming's Flower Fields will be launching a new line of Hibiscus to be known as Tropical-Hardy™ in 2010 so you may get your wish sooner than you think. For additional information see the following link.
Isn't that funny, it makes it sound larger than it is. I just checked the pot and it says 3 9/16" Band Pot, 4 1/4" tall. In their defense, the plants are always well rooted and he carries things you can't always find elsewhere - at least I can't find them in my neck of the woods.
I have had this Hardy Hibiscus for over 15 yeas, My father got it as a gift from Burpee with an order and would not grow in his region. He gave two to me. One pink and one white., I said thanks dad and put them in a black nursery container in the back landscape by the tomatoes. They were in these pots for over two years. Then one spring, this plant burst into the Las Vegas Desert. Both plants burst but the white survived and the pink one died probably from neglect. My neglect... The white one is beautiful and no one knew what this plant was. It bloomed every year and was beautiful. We built a new home and moved a portion of the mother plant to our new home...We have been here 8 years and this year I am trying to germinate seeds so my sibling can have the plant my father gave to me/us. I am also trying cuttings but am obvious in a learning session. It is a learning experience and we have wonderful experts to help. Hardy hibiscus are now outstanding and no one in the West has a clue. Should be interesting to see who comes out on top selling hardy hibiscus to the Southwest. This is a photo of my father's hibiscus gift from Burpee in 1985.
Mike, it came as a very small plant. There were two. White and Pink. The pink one died. My cuttings did not take but I have several seeds that have sprouted. I used the method mentioned somewhere in the Hibiscus thread about soaking them, placing in slightly damp paper towel, place in baggie, blow up with own breath and then place bag on top of warm appliance. I used our Direct TV box. It has taken over 2 weeks but they are starting to sprout. Thanks for the links. I think you are right. Thank you.
I just received two I ordered from Burpee. They were less money than the ones I got from Plants Delight but they were also about 1/2 the size.
No the Hardy's from Plants Delight were about 18" tall. But they die down in the winter so I guess that means the root ball is larger. I have 7 new ones, plus the two from burpee, so we will see in the spring what happens. I am hooked...
JudyinGA I love the color of your 2 Hibiscus. I live in zone 4 so have to settle for the hardy kind. I bought seeds from Parks and sowed H. 'Disco Bell' 3 years ago. I managed to sprout one seed. The plant flowered the first time this season. It was planted where it was overshadowed by a large elm tree. I had forgotten about it. To show how hardy it is, it never received much water and it was neglected. I discovered it after I had the elm cut down due to concern over its health and my garage under it. I redid that area in to another border and found my poor neglected Hibiscus.
I dug it up before it started to grow and potted it. I had to finish digging up along my fence where I wanted to plant it. As soon as the weather began to warm up in May, the plant began to grow. I think it was end of May or early June before I finally planted it in its permanent place. I also started 2 more Hibiscus from seeds last March and the are planted there also. I was hoping I would get at least one bloom from all 3 this year.
The one sowed last March had a bud on it that showed pink on the outside. Frost came and killed it before it bloomed. The 3rd didn't bud. It was overshadowed by a Datura growing next to it. .
Here is my 3 year old plant full of buds. Photo taken 3 days before first frost on Sept 23, 09. The flowers measured 7" across. I just love it.
The ones I got this year were around $12.00 each for plants about 20 inches tall. they were the red. I wanted different colors but hubby picked up all the same color. The ones that were $20.00 were taller .
I was wondering can they bloom in not full direct sun, but sun?
That is gorgeous! Mine are my first experience with hardy hibiscus. I didn't even know there was such a thing until I joined Dave's. We'll see how they do next year. They are definitely water hogs.
In Las Vegas, mine is in the partial shade of a very Pepper tree but it does get the heat. I have one in my holding garden which is full afternoon sun and it did fine. JudyinGA. I am with you on not knowing about all the different varieties. I have had mine for over 15 years but it was a gift from my father which was a bonus gift to him from a Burpee order. I really did not know what it was. When I joined DG, fellow gardeners identified it and then I found out about the other colors. I have 10 new different varieties planted for next spring. Will just to wait and see. They are not sold locally. I have for the first time successfully sprouted some seed which I am planting today in seed mix. I have also ordered a plant heating pad but it will not be here for 7 days. I am totally hooked... which is not good because I am already hooked on Coleus, Iris and vegetable gardening.
I admire you for going the seed route. I'm not that patient. More of an instant gratification person. The reason I was drawn to the hibiscus (in addition to their gorgeous blooms) was the fact that they are fast growers. I still have a lot to learn about them. I was just so glad to be able to find these that I grabbed them and didn't really care what they cost! LOL
I have heard that if planted soon enough in the season that some hardies will bloom there first year... I plan to give this a try.. And even if i have to wait two years its going to be all worth it in the end,,,
I want to plant one in my back garden. But with the tree roots I cant dig far down. If I dig down as far as I can and place the plant in it. Then put lots of soil around and spread it out making like a very large circular mound and thick enough , do you think this will work?
JudyinGA Like you, I was not familiar with these hardy plants either. Nor did I think any Hibiscus would be hardy enough for zone 4. I think there are only a few that are hardy. The rest are tropicals. The Disco Bell is my very first Hibiscus. It grows to 2ft. Another is named 'Southern Belle' which grows to 4ft high. Both are hardy.
hardy hibuscus' that i know of...
Hibiscus coccineus Zone 6a
Hibiscus cannabinus zone 6a
Hibiscus moscheutos most are zone 5a
" " 'Anne Arundel' zone 4a
" " 'Carafe Grenache' zone 5a
" " Carolina Mix zone 4a
" " Lady Baltimore zone 5a
" " Disco Belle zone 5a
" "' Luna's zone 5a
" " 'Moy Grande' zone 5a
" " 'Rose Flare' zone 5a
" " 'Southern Belle' zone 5a
" " 'Kopper King' zone 5a
" " 'Torchy' zone 5a
" " 'Plum Crazy' zone 5a
I just came from the Fleming nursery and Ohhhhh...my! (drool). Here is the link to all both hardy and tropicals on one page. You can't buy from them since they only handle wholesale orders. They do recommend another nursery that deals with their plants. Prices from $15.00, up to $35, ouch! Here is the link to that nursery:
Strangely, Fleming recommends that their plants when established, to allow the soil to dry out to 5 or 6" in depth. Claims that they are drought resistant due to their deep root system.
skwinter LOL! The directions for sowing seeds in a paper towel, then placed in ziplock bag, came from me. Others have written about the same process, but I am the only one that mentioned blowing up the plastic bag. The Hibiscus seeds I used was from 2006. They sprouted in 2 days after an overnight soaking in handhot water. Sown regularly, I was only able to sprout one. That is the one pictured above. I now do all my seeds with the paper towel trick. It is called The Deno Method. Glad you found the info useful.
Photo is of the Hibiscus seeds still in paper towel just prior to planting in flat. Only 2 days to sprout. Amazing!
Could you link to you instructions in DG for germinating Hibiscus seeds? I just discovered that my Hibiscus seeds are infected with weevils and I need to do some serious controlled germination tests quickly and your method sounds ideal. Here is the link to my weevil problem.
Hi Mike. Sorry about your seeds. To see if I can help you, I turn to my huge bug book. There are many types of weevil but yours is probably the Bean Weevil (Acanthoscelides obtectus) It is 1/8" long and does attack seeds. They chew holes in seeds and then lay their eggs inside. There can be several generations during the winter if stored warm. The book recommends to treat with lindane before planting.
Edited to add that the grubs pupate in the seed and the weevils will eat its way out through the seed coat leaving holes.
I could not find the link, but here are the direction that I have saved in a folder on my PC.
For hardcoated seeds like Hibiscus, chip the seedcoat to allow moisture to penetrate, then soak overnight in hand hot water. In your case, I would first dip the seeds in Malathion diluted according to directions. I use it for every bug that I see on my plants.
Here is my modified Deno method:
Cut a kitchen paper towel in half. Wet it and squeeze out excess. Fold the towel in 1/2 and place seeds in a corner. Fold one end over the seeds, then fold again. You will have a square. Place this in a ziplock baggie, zip it but leave room for you to blow it up like a balloon, then quickly close it. The air will stay if the track are lined up correctly on the bag. This allows the seeds to "breathe", rather than have the plastic laying on the package. Place the baggie in a warm spot, like top of a refrigerator.
When you see radicals (roots) develop they have germinated and ready to grow. Pick the seeds up with a tweezer, holding it by the seed shell. Make a hole in the sowing mix with a pencil and gently guide the seed into it. Make sure that when you plant the sprouted seeds that the roots are placed downwards in the soil. If directions state depth of seeds, then place the sprouting seed likewise. If surface sow is recommended, just tuck in level with the soil. On the other hand, if there is some green growth, place it so that is above the soil. Sometimes seeds will "sprout" at both ends.
If roots are entangled in the paper towel, tear the towel off around the roots and plant both. You don't want to lose any roots.
Thank you for the post. I have identified the insect as Althaeus hibisci which is a bruchid seed beetle which specializes in Hibiscus, thus its name. Is the number one killer of hardy Hibiscus seeds in North America These beetles developed inside the seed as larvae and emerge as adults. Until the beetle emerges the seed looks normal. In a related paper I learned that the nonviable seeds sink while viable seed float. Your overnight water bath may be an excellent way to separate the good and bad seeds and not waste time planting the bad seeds. What I could do is separate the floaters and the sinkers and try germinating both using your method which allows visual inspection of the germination rates. I am going to try your technique with and without seed nicking as I want see if the good seeds float.
I did expose a batch of seeds to Ortho's "Home Defense Max" from which the beetles were actively emerging. Within five minutes there was no more beetle activity. I just hope that I did not kill the good seeds. After 12 hours I am reasonable sure that the unmerged beetles were killed inside the seeds. I will have to try Malathion next.
Now here is BIG question. Next summer how do I kill the adults before they lay their eggs on my Hibiscus flowers?
Hmmm...! That particular named bug was not listed in my bug book, but the lifecycle is the same.
Don't count on the viability of seeds that float or sink. Floaters may be resting on a tiny air bubble. I have found many of those will germinate just as well. Actually, sometimes if you just touch a floater it will sink.
As far as your big question, my book recommends treat seeds with lindane before planting. I'm sure there are other bug killer available. The problem is that more are probably waiting outside ready to attack again next season. The only advise I can give you on that is to keep a sprayer full of Malathion handy and be on guard. Squirt a few drops of liquid dish soap (Joy, etc.) to act as a sticker. Otherwise the spray will just bead off the plant/s. I have trouble with aphids on my roses early in the season. I keep Malathion handy for that. It doesn't loose its effectiveness when mixed with water and stored in a container, such as a sprayer.
How often to spray depends on the insect's habit. At least once per week. See if you can find out when they are the most active, and when that starts in the season. Malathion kills on contact, as well as ingesting sprayed parts. Maybe you can get information from your local extension service.
I wonder how well the Bayer Tree and Shrub drench would do for these bugs? I have not used it myself but know outstanding gardeners who would not be without it. It is a systemic that you pour it around the plant only once a year. That has to be easier than repeated sprayings that may or may not get the critters.
1. For nicked and un-nicked Hibiscus seeds what are the typical germination times or when should I start checking for roots?
2. I am having difficulty visualizing the placement of the seeds on the paper towel relative to your folding instructions; could you be more explicit? If I follow your folding instructions I have a rectangle not a square.
By blowing up the ZipLock bag by mouth you also increase the level of carbon-dioxide in the bag but I am not sure that this would be of any advantage to a seedling which was not actively photosynthesizing or if there is any benefit to seed germination associated with elevated levels of carbon-dioxide.
My seeds have been in two different bags and started to sprout the end of the second week. I think I had the paper towel to thick. I got an early Christmas from my DH. A seedling heating pad. I was talking to myself and he must have over heard me. 35 years ago when we were first married I would hint out load many many times and he never got it. Know at our age it is very difficult to find either one of us a gift because there is nothing either on of need except stronger backs and knees. The reason I had two bags was an experiment. I soaked some seeds in peroxide and some in hand hot water. The seeds soaked in water started to sprout first. We have Direct TV and the box is barely warm. So it will be interesting using the heating pad.
Blomma, my only question is hand hot water. Is it only suppose to be hot at first or do you keep replacing the water? I did not replace the water. And thank you so much for your expertise...
Mike I never sowed hibiscus seeds without first nicking them so no answer to give you on that. As far as nicked seeds, I soaked them in handhot water overnight, allowing the water to cool naturally. Planted them in the paper towel the following evening. It took 2 days to sprout, see photo in my post above. I don't know if this short germination time is normal, or it depends upon the variety of hibiscus. You do need to nick to allow moisture into the seed for it to swell.
Sorry, I forgot to mention to cut the paper towel in 1/2 first. Then fold it in half twice and you should have a square. It doesn't have to be square as long as the seeds lay between 4 layers of paper towel to prevent from drying out and to cushion them. Open the last fold and place the seeds on the side of the fold. Now refold the napkin over the seeds.
The only reason I say to blow into the bag is so that the plastic isn't laying on the paper towel inside the bag and mat it down. The bag serves as an ultra mini greenhouse. I have no idea if the carbon dioxide does any good. But sure can't hurt.
I would check your seeds every day, starting on the 2nd day. They can sprout overnight.
I did some open pollinated daylily seeds the same way to test them. They sprouted in 2 weeks in cool temp on my window sill. They are now 1-1/2" tall, potted. Although an experiment, I couldn't toss them and spring is soooooo far away.
skwinter Yes, the water for soaking is hand hot first, then allowed to cool naturally overnight.
Glad you got the heating pad. That should work. Keep us posted on how your experiments turns out.
Photo is of the daylily seeds Oct 21 just before planting up. The 4th one would have sprouted also since it is swelled but 3 was enough.
What i did and seems to work I soak them over night in water then i nick where it looks like its going to start to grow (the pointy part) then i plant them in dirt and stick them in my fish tank.. In only a few days they are gowing.. I soaked them nov 10 - nov 11 then planted them the afternoon of nov 11 this is what i have already NOV 14!! this first one is lady baltimore..
OK, four-ply it is, I agree that shape and size are really quite irrelevant but paper thickness is not. Actually that gives me greater flexibility as I stated two bags with over a hundred seeds each last night.
After some though I decided to not nick the wild Hibiscus moscheutos seeds because these seeds are significantly smaller than the seeds we collect from our named domestic cultivars or other wild species such as Hibiscus coccineus. When I first saw the seeds of wild H. moscheutos I thought that there was something wrong until I check the USDA database and verified that wild H. moscheutos seeds are significantly smaller than other Hibiscus. What is being sold in our garden centers is not H. moscheutos but hybrids of multiple Hibiscus species including H. coccineus and seventy-five plus years of selective breeding. Let’s be honest, do breeders select small seeds or large seeds to breed the next generation? Bigger is always better or is it? In any case, I was working with over 200 seeds in this test and nicking that many seeds of this size would have been no small task.
All of these seeds were treated with Ortho's "Home Defense Max" based on the recommendation in other posts; and, yes I have now purchased Malathion for the next round of tests. When I put the 200 plus seeds into hand-hot water and the seeds which I suspected were compromised swelled to twice their normal size and began to sink. What appeared to be healthy H. moscheutos continued to float. The shells of the sinkers were soft and when I cut a few of them open I found what appears to be a very dead Althaeus hibisci inside each compromised seed. Having recently switched from DiectTV to Verizon FiOS I used the FiOS interface unit to keep the water bath slightly warm for a full 24 hours. Using a fish net I separated the floaters and the sinkers into two groups of about 100 seeds each and setup two of your four-ply germination ZipLock bags. The two bags are now on a disposable aluminum baking tray on top of my FiOS interface unit and are slightly warm to the touch.
The sinker seeds were very distressed and I suspect that if I attempted to nick them they would have been destroyed in the process. I don’t expect many of them to germinate. The big question is: are the floaters still viable after the Ortho treatment? I have growing seedlings from this batch of H. moscheutos so I know that some of the seeds were good before the Ortho treatment.
I have reached out to www.BugGuide.net and offered to send them a batch of my infected Hibiscus seeds, live bugs and all. They have pictures of several suspected Althaeus hibisci sightings but they are not listing them as confirmed identifications at this time. I will even try to collect additional H. moscheutos pods if they are still available with seeds. It is important to the Hibiscus hobbyist’s community that we have verified pictures of this beetle on the Internet. I never want anyone to have to go through this again unawares. We desperately need a treatment protocol to kill Althaeus hibisci in the seeds while not killing the healthy seeds, otherwise anyone in a high risk area should not export Hibiscus seeds in trade. On Bug Guide you can also post eradication techniques or any general information about the bugs on the species page.
Normally I do nick Hibiscus seeds and have several batches of large seeds from outside of New Jersey which I will be germinating is a few day. Using normal indoor germination techniques I have very limited success with seeds which are not nicked. Hopefully Santa will bring me one of these seedling heating pads soon. Perhaps if I keep germinating seeds in the TV room I will get my wish!
I will be running Malathion tests and was wondering if you have any ideas for concentrations which should be used to soak Hibiscus seeds? I will check the Internet to see if anyone else if bathing seeds in Malathion. After doing some reading there are many safety advantages in using Malathion and I now wish I had tried that first.
I will continue to update this Hibiscus Forum post:
Wow Mike, you are really into this! My hat is off to you. If you solve the problem through your testing, I'm sure many will thank you. You are right that if should be tested and reported for others to learn from. I didn't realize that these bugs were so prevailant with Hibiscus. Also, I didn't realize, or gave it a thought about native species of Hibiscus having smaller seeds. And yes, to nick 200 seeds would be quite a task.
As far as the concentration of Malathion for seeds, I would follow the directions. If made too weak, it may not kill the bugs. What I would do for those seeds that you can nick, I would put them in hand hot water to soften the seed coat, then finish off with a few hours of Malathion bath just before putting it the paper napkin. You can even use Malathion to dampen the napkin with, instead of water. Now that is a thought. The bugs--if any-- would die on their way out and literally walk to their own death.
Looking through all my containers of bug poison, I saw that Sevin will kill potato weevils. Maybe it will kill your Althaeus hibisci too. Comes in both liquid and powder. I use the powder and sprinkle it around my Sempervivums where sowbugs love to hang out after a rain. You should see all the dead bugs in the morning.
In anwer to your question, I don't see why the seeds wouldn't be viable after the Ortho treatment.
Yes, using the TV room may get you your seeding mat. However, you really don't need it since many spots are warm enough. Even 70 degrees is fine. (whispered tone). But I won't tell.
If all germinates, what will you do with all the seedlings?
Yes, please keep us posted. I am very interested to know the outcome of your testing. Hope it work so you can get it on Bug Files. Good luck.
Hey, the light just went on. I think my hardy hibiscus is a native hardy because the seeds are very small. I had it over 15 years. I brought a portion of it with me when we built our new home 8 years ago.
to nick the seeds i use nail clippers its really fast and works on all types of seeds including cannas which are rather hard to nick.. NO i agree Mike i wouldn't do 200 of them either but for just a few it works..
I use the following Exacto Knife with a five-pack of replacement blades, so that I always have a sharp blade to work. If you don’t have a very sharp blade you increase the possibility of damage to the seed.
I work on a large white paper plate to improve visibility and avoid damage to the work surface. On the side opposite to where the umbilical connected the seed to the pod make an outward and downward cut to remove a saucer shaped section of the Hibiscus shell. Attached is a photograph of how the seeds should look after the nicking.
Nail clippers are much too dull and would apply too much pressure on the Hibiscus seed but they might be OK for large seeds.