I have rooted winter hardy hibiscus from cuttings before but not sabdariffa.I root the hardies in vermiculite under a mist system.You could try a few tip cuttings in vermiculite(get it at Home Depot, etc) in a pot with a large clear plastic bag around it.Leave a small vent for fresh air and keep in a bright place out of direct sunlight.
Exotic hybiscus are very difficult to root, but the species are much easier, so hopefully sabdariffa should be easy.
Hibiscus cuttings do best if they're not too green. Really green, soft cuttings tend to rot before they root. Look for growing tips that have some wood on them, though not really old hard wood. You want new growth (this year's growth), but with wood on it. The cuttings should be a few inches long, at least.
The trick is to prevent rotting while you wait for rooting. I prefer to root in a glass of water so I can change the water every single day and keep the glass really sterile by washing it daily.
Tropical hibiscus LOVE heat, so pour it on! 80-100 degrees is perfect. Find or make the warmest spot you can, or use a heating pad on low and a thermometer in the water.
I don't know if this will work for Sabdariffa, but it does for other easy-to-root tropical hibs.
Great thread! New to gardening and I purchased my first hibiscus this year. It's in a pot and now inside for the winter (window with bright light). Not sure of the variety, but it has beautiful red-to-dark pink blooms. I'm going to try both cindyhib's water-rooting method and Kyle's vermiculite/plastic bag method. Thanks for the wonderful advise.
Sorry about this novice questions: Why do you add Hydrogen Peroxide to the rooting water? Should I add it when trying to root my Hibiscus? If so, what is the ratio of water to HP?
Good question Michaeljo ~ I do hope we get an answer.
This is the Hydrogen Peroxide info I have saved ~ Just don't know if it would also prevent root when rooting Hibiscus.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Horticulture
By Bryce Fredrickson
Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a clear sharp smelling substance very similar in appearance to water (H2O). Like water it is made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen, however H2O2 has an extra Oxygen atom in an unstable arrangement. It is this extra atom that gives H2O2 its useful properties. H2O2 has been used for many purposes including cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing, rocket fuel, animal feed treatment and in addition many miraculous claims about its health benefits have been made. This article isn't about any of these; instead it will concentrate on horticultural applications. H2O2 is of great use for both hydroponics and dirt/soilless gardening.
1. What Does Hydrogen Peroxide do?
H2O2 is an unstable molecule, when it breaks down a single oxygen atom and a molecule of water is released. This oxygen atom is extremely reactive and will attach itself to either another O- atom forming a stable Oxygen molecule or attack a nearby organic molecule. Both the stable and O- forms will increase the level of dissolved oxygen. This is the method by which H2O2 is beneficial. Pretreating the water supply with H2O2 will drive out the Chlorine many cities use to sterilize it. This will also degrade any pesticides or herbicides that might be present as well as any other organic matter. Well water can be high in methane and organic sulfates, both of which H2O2 will remove. Many disease causing organisms and spores are killed by Oxygen, the free Oxygen H2O2 releases is extremely effective at this. H2O2 will help eliminate existing infections and will help prevent future ones. It is also useful for suppressing algae growth. The free Oxygen atom will destroy dead organic material (i.e, leaves roots) in the system preventing them from rotting and spreading diseases.
Roots require Oxygen to breathe and low levels are the main cause of almost all root diseases. Both soil and hydroponic plants often fall prey to the same syndrome although it is rarely recognized as what it really is. Hydroponic crops often fail due to "root rot" and soil crops succumb to "over watering." The real cause of both these problems is a shortage of Oxygen at the root zone. In a soil system the soil consists of particles, a film of water on the particles and air spaces between the particles. When too much water is put into the soil the air spaces fill with liquid. The roots will quickly use up what Oxygen is dissolved in the water, if they haven't drunk enough of the liquid to allow air back in to the soil spaces they will stop working. In this situation roots will start dying within twenty-four hours. As the roots die the plants ability to drink water and nutrients will decrease, this will cause symptoms of nutrient deficiencies (mostly pale, slow, weak growth), and strangely they will start to wilt like they don't have enough water. It is easy to make a fatal mistake at this point and add more water.
In a Hydroponic system the cause is a more direct simple lack of oxygen in the solution, this may be from inadequate circulation and/or aeration. High reservoir temperatures also interfere with Oxygen's ability to dissolve in the water. Temperatures above 70F (20C) will eventually cause problems, 62F-65F (16C-18C) is recommended. The same symptoms will appear as with soil plants but you can also check the roots. Healthy roots should be mostly white with maybe a slight yellowish tan tinge. If they are a brownish colour with dead tips or they easily pull away there is at least the beginnings of a serious problem. An organic dirtlike rotting smell means there is already a very good chance it is too late. As roots die and rot they eat Oxygen out of the water, as Oxygen levels are even further depleted more roots die, a viscius circle may be well under way. Reduced Oxygen levels and high temperatures both encourage anaerobic bacteria and fungi. The plants may still be saved but you will have to work fast.
3. How Hydrogen Peroxide prevents root rot/overwatering.
When plants are watered with H2O2 it will break down and release Oxygen into the area around the roots. This helps stop the Oxygen from being depleted in the water filled air spaces until air can get back into them. High Oxygen levels at the roots will encourage rapid healthy root growth. In a Hydroponic system H2O2 will disperse through out the system and raise Oxygen levels as it breaks down. Strong white healthy roots with lots of fuzzy new growth will be visible. This fuzzy growth has massive surface area allowing for rapid absorption of the huge amounts of water and nutrients needed for rapid top growth. A healthy plant starts with a healthy root system.
4. How to use it.
H2O2 comes in several different strengths 3%, 5%, 8% and 35%, also sold as food grade Hydrogen Peroxide. The most economical is 35% which we recommend be diluted to three percent before using, as at this high concentration it can cause damage to skin and clothing. When working with food grade H2O2 it is very important that you clean up any spills or splashes immediately, it will damage almost anything very quickly. This is extra important with skin and clothing. Skin will be temporarily bleached pure white if not washed cleaned. Gloves are strongly recommended when working with any strong chemical.
Food grade H2O2 can be diluted to three percent by mixing it one part to eleven parts water (preferably distilled). The storage container should be opaque to prevent light from getting in and it must be able to hold some pressure. If three-liter pop bottles are available in your area they are ideal for mixing and storing H2O2. There are twelve quarter liters (250ml) in three liters, if you put in one quarter liter H2O2 and eleven quarter liters (250ml) water in the bottle it will full of three percent H2O2 and the bottle can hold the pressure that the H2O2 will generate. Three percent Hydrogen Peroxide may be added at up to three ml's per liter (2 12 tsp. Per gallon), but it is recommended that you start at a lower concentration and increase to full strength over a few weeks. Use every watering even on fresh cuttings. For hydroponics use every reservoir change and replace twenty-five percent (one quarter) every day. Example: In a 100L reservoir you would add three hundred ml's (3%) H2O2 when changing the nutrient. You would then add seventy-five ml's more every day.
5. Where to get it.
35% food grade: called food grade because it has no toxic impurities
Of course your local hydroponics retailer, whom you can locate over the web at www.hydromall.com. Direct order off the web (there may be shipping restrictions on high strength peroxides). H2O2 is used to bleach hair so the local hairdresser may have a source. The local feed supplier may have it in small towns. Prices range from fifteen dollars per quarter liter to eighty dollars a gallon. One gallon will treat up to fifty thousand liters of water.
Can be found at most drugstores or pharmacies, prices start at a less than a dollar for a one hundred-ml bottle that will treat one hundred liters.
6. What to do if you already have root rot.
Use peroxided water with anti-fungicide (benomyl) and a high Phosphate fertilizer (9-45-15, 10-52-10, 0-60-0) for root growth. Root booster (5-15-5) or any other product with rooting hormone dissolved in it is helpful in regrowing roots and is strongly recommended. If a plant is wilty adding Nutri-Boost may save it. Water heavily until liquid pours out the bottom of the pot. This sound like bad idea, but it flushes out stagnant dead water and replaces it with fresh highly oxygenated water. Don't let plants sit in trays full of water, the soil will absorb this water and stay too wet. Don't water again until the pot feels light and the top inch or two of the soil are dry.
Change your nutrients. Add H2O2 to the system. This will add oxygen and chemically eat dead roots. If roots are badly rotted and can be pulled away by hand you should pull them off. They are already dead and will only rot, causing further problems. Add a fungicide to kill any fungus that is probably present in the rotted tissue to prevent it from spreading. Root booster will speed recovery. If plants are wilty Nutri-Boost may help save them. Increase aeration of the water, get an airpump and air stones, or more of them, for the reservoir. An air stone under every plant is usually very effective, but will require a larger air pump. Models that will do from forty to four hundred stones are available. Decrease the reservoir temperature, oxygen dissolves better in cold water and disease causing organisms reproduce slower as well. A good temperate range is 62F to 65F; anything above 70F will eventually cause a problem. It is also a good idea to remove any wilty plants from the system and put them on a separate reservoir so they don't infect plants that are still healthy.
The key to big productive plants is a big healthy root system and Hydrogen Peroxide is a great way to keep your roots healthy. It is a must to ensure the biggest best crops possible and to increase the chances of your plants thriving to harvest. Peroxide users will rarely lose plants or crops to root disease and will harvest larger and more consistent crops.
Peroxide doesn't help with the actual process of rooting, but if you have problems with your cuttings always rotting, it can help get rid of fungus. You still need to make sure you use sterile medium for starting your cuttings though and keep a good humidity/moisture level, peroxide isn't strong enough to make up for taking shortcuts on hygiene or keeping things way too wet! But if you do everything right and often still wind up with fungal problems, it could help you.
In water it might be more helpful--I don't root things in water and don't know as much about that, but I know that the principle behind bubblers and things like that which people often use for propagation is that you're getting more oxygen into the system, and hydrogen peroxide can also act as a source of oxygen. So while it won't stimulate the cutting to produce roots like a rooting hormone would, it could help promote better root growth once the roots are there.
ecrane3 - can you suggest any good propogation references. I am playing with a few cuttings I took this past September, looks like some have rooted (I use Miracle grow potting soil and plastic containers to retain moisture). Not sure what to do next?
Another newbie question: What's is root hormone and where do you get it?
podster, ecrane made me remember something. I have a good friend who roots in water all the time and she always puts in a few drops of hydrogen peroxide each time she changes the water or adds to it in the rooting jar.
I never use anything extra when I root in water. (She is better than I am rooting in water...my friend that is)
I use hydrogen peroxide for a mouth wash if (diluted of course), for cuts, etc...It is good for cleaning a cut, etc. but then don't keep using it or you can do damage to yourself. Once is good enough. Then, if you need, an antibiotic ointment, use it instead of more hydrogen peroxide.
Any time I get just leaves to propagate in the mail (african violet, begonias, streps, etc.) I either soak them in sugar water to rehydrate before sticking or I soak them for an hour or so in a mix of seaweed kelp, Thrive and water to rehydrate before sticking.
ecrane surely knows more than I do. I ONLY put cuttings in an African Violet soil-less mix with another part perlite and 1/2 part vermiculite. Miracle Grow is waaay too heavy to be using as a mix for cuttings.
If you don't have access to either Schultz or AV soil-less mix, then I would at least use 3 parts of perlite and 1 part of vermiculite to Miracle Grow potting mix...
Confederate Rose cuttings I would think are woody cuttings as opposed to soft cuttings. Therefore, that is a totally different ballgame of propagating. The mix can be the same or a little heavier but you will probably need bottom heat to accomplish this task at this time of the year.
*******edited to say to keep your rooting hormone in a separate little cap and don't put the remainder back in the container. I keep my main jar in the deep freeze as it is hard to use up in less than a year.
I've found rooting hormone at local nurseries too, or if you can't find any near you, most of the mail order garden supply places carry it too, any place that sells other propagation supplies will almost certainly have rooting hormone too.
Is it too late to move the first-time experimental cuttings I have to a soilless rooting medium? All still have leaves and one or two have roots. Here are the plants I'm experimenting with: Euonymus japonica 'butterschotch', Euonymus japonica 'Green Spire', Ilex crenata 'helleria', and plain old french lavender.
what are hardy hibiscus as opposed to regular--i think hardy means they can be kept outdoors but aren't all hibiscus meant to be outdoors? they aren't ever houseplants are they? (not counting winter)--i have been given "hardy hibiscus" seeds and wonder what to expect when i plant them
Hardy hibiscus will come back from the roots in the spring. I am trying to think of some. Texas Star hibiscus (with the single red bloom) is a hardy hibiscus. The tropical ones that we most often think of when we think of hibiscus won't take a freeze or they will be deader than a doorknob (LOL)
The ones you received will faithfully come back every year. I would think since you live in Plano with cold winters, you would want to start your seeds early in spring indoors or wait until the freezes are over and start them in the ground outside.
You're right, they all are happier outdoors, but the tropical ones won't survive your winters and the hardy ones will, that's why they're called tropical vs hardy. The tropicals will be happier if you keep them outdoors during the warmer months, but you'll need to bring them inside for the winter, but the hardy ones you can leave outdoor all year round.
I would like to take cuttings of a lovely Pastel Orange Tropical Hibiscus that's taking off in a container in the yard. Actually, it has stayed outside all year long, and came back in the last month. It takes a LOT of water, too! But the more water it gets, the more it blooms.
I read somewhere about a propagating technique on the stem. I believe you either make a cut in a node or locate the node and apply a wad of soil directly to the stem and wrap it up. You keep it moist, and after awhile it starts to produce roots at that point where it's wrapped up. Then, you cut the rooted branch off below the roots for planting.
Please send link if you have this technique. Thanks!
I believe you are talking about air layering. I do not have any links but if you google or even search "air layering" here on DG you'll come up with plenty of info. I use that method for a lot of things like camellias and it does work well. I usually use damp spagnum moss.
For some reason I have never tried it on tropical hibiscus. Well, DUH, I am going to try it and see if I have better luck with the fancy ones.
Esteban at Loresco Tropicals, from whom I bought several tropical hibiscus, showed me his technique, which he says is very successful. He uses synthetic mop string --! gently scrapes the grey surface of a branch to expose some light green, dusts with roottone F, wraps with a clump of the string, then closes it up with aluminum foil, shaped to catch a bit of rainwater. Oh, he soaks the string first in miracle gro. Very cheap, quite simple, let it be for a month or two, check for rooting by unwrapping the foil, when rooted well, snip off below the foil pack, and plant.
Even easier is my technique. Cut 6" to 12" pieces off a plant of decent size. Scrape gently back to the light green all the way around the base, dip in Roottone F. Make a dibble or pencil or screwdriver hole in a light soil mix (Promix B works great), and put the powdered end in 3-4"deep --push the soil mix down tight around the stem. Keep watered, lighted and warm. GIve it a couple weeks, and you should be good to go. I don't remember ever having one fail, and I've done this probably fifty times now.
I've done air layering using plastic wrap outside the sphagnum moss. That allows me to see the formation of roots without disturbing the wrap. I am one of those impatient gardeners. I haven't done air layering in years and think I only did it on Draceanas. pod
Thanks, guys! I did google after I posted and saw the Air Layering technique. JPlunket's method looks simple enough. I really want to propagate more of the nice pastel peach colored hibiscus that is growing so nicely now. It took about a season to decide to start blooming, and looks like it wants to stay! Boy, but it sure drinks a lot of water. The more I water, the more it blooms. It's in a container that's too small, too, so please tell me if I can safely move it to a larger container this weekend. Thanks, again.
Thanks, Podster! I'm having great fun making my own organic "DIRT" from decomposed leaf mold and grass clippings. I think it's healthy for the plants. Just a logical thing that someone on another thread noticed and posted. NO one sweeps up the forest or fertilizes it. And whatever falls to the ground, STAYS on the ground and returns to the earth. So, I'm using the same concept in my garden. If a bloom falls, it goes back into the pot. Leaves break down, they become soil/dirt/whatever, and go back in the pot. I hope to start saving some money not having to buy potting mix for everything I plant. And, the potting mix has no real nutrients in it does it?
That's a really good principle to use in garden beds but may not be the best thing for plants in containers. Having lots of decomposing things in your potting mix causes the mix to collapse more quickly and that creates problems with the roots not getting enough air. For more info, check out some of tapla's threads in the Indoor Gardening & Houseplants and Container Gardening forums, he explains this stuff way better than I ever could, but containers have different needs than garden beds so what works great for one may be less than ideal for the other.
Tapla's mix is more than I could dream for in containers outside. It is wonderful and easy to make.
Al's recipe for outside.
3 cu ft pine bark fines (1 big bag) (Texas Pride soil conditioner or whatever you can find for pine bark ...not nuggets..they are too big)
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
1 cup lime (you can add more to small portion if needed)
2 cups CRF (controllled release fertilizer)
1/2 cup micro-nutrient powder or 1 gal composted manure STEM at SouthwestLL