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How to Grow Hybrid Hibiscus
Hybrid hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Estrella F. Alabastro”)
In addition to the hibiscus species, the Department of Plant Breeding at UPLB-IPB, UP Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines has locally bred a new gumamela hybrid.
The plant has been carefully screened for beauty, hardiness, ease of propagation and vigor, which are important qualities to attract buyers and plant lovers.
Propagation is the same as for other hibiscus species, except that this new hybrid requires a thorough understanding of plant propagation techniques.
The following management activities should be properly considered for successful hibiscus production.
The hibiscus plant thrives best in open ground with plenty of sunlight, as it is tropical in nature and needs plenty of light. Full sunlight is essential for the plant to fully develop and bloom profusely.
Those that grow in the shade are slender and have few flowers. Therefore, avoid planting in a shady area.
Hibiscus are not picky about their soil requirements, especially during the productive season. However, in the early stages of plant growth, hibiscus should be grown in a porous, sandy soil with manure and organic compost.
The soil must have good drainage. Hibiscus does not grow best in heavy soil with poor drainage because it cannot withstand waterlogged areas.
Hibiscus planted in pots should be fertilized regularly with a complete fertilizer, either granular or foliar. Dilute 1 tablespoon of complete fertilizer in a gallon of water and use every 2 weeks.
For those planted directly in the field, the following fertilizer quantity requirements must be strictly observed: 5-10 grams for small plants, 20-25 grams for medium-sized plants, and 30-40 grams for large plants. After applying the fertilizer, water the soil to dissolve the fertilizer.
To improve the quality of your hibiscus flowers, mix a complete fertilizer with a high potassium content and apply the mixture once a month.
Although hibiscus do not like soggy areas, they are water lovers, but not to the point of overwatering.
Regular watering of hibiscus ensures a continuous supply of flowers throughout the year. On sunny days, water them every 3 days. On rainy days, water only when necessary to prevent root rot infection. Root rot is prevalent during this period.
Apply mulching materials, especially outdoors, to conserve water and control pest and weed buildup. Ideal mulching materials are: plastic mulch, rice husks or rice straw.
Do not limit yourself to the above materials as mulch, but you can use other mulching materials available in your country as a substitute for the above materials.
As a gardener, you should pay attention to the needs of your plants. Although they don’t speak, their physical appearance will give you signs to pay attention to immediately. Hibiscus are luxurious plants. They respond productively if they are properly cared for and trimmed at least once a year.
Pruning a hibiscus encourages the development of a new plant from the trimmed area, from which new flowers will bloom the following season. The best time to prune hibiscus is from May to September (in the conditions of the Philippines, these are the dry months).
The conditions in your country may not be the same as in the Philippines. When pruning hibiscus, just observe the dry months in your country.
For healthy growth and beautiful flowers next season, cut the plant back to about 1/3 of its height.
You need to remove dead branches and those lying near the ground. Also, thin the branches in the middle of the plants so that the branches and flowers are evenly spaced. This will add to the plant’s appearance of attractiveness when the flowers begin to bloom.
Pest and disease control
The presence of pests and diseases in your hibiscus plants affects their growth and flowering. Therefore, always check your plants for possible pest and disease attacks.
The most common pests of hibiscus are…
1. Flowerworms. This pest usually infects leaves, flower buds and flowers.
2. Aphids. Aphids cause young foliage to curl, which can be unattractive if the infestation is severe.
3. Spiral whiteflies. This pest attacks the leaves, causing deformation of the entire foliage.
4. Green funnels. A severe attack of the pest on the leaves will cause cracking and yellowing of the leaves.
5. Black fleas. Attack the leaves as well and the result will lead to bullet holes in the entire leaves.
To control damage on all hibiscus plants, use recommended insecticides specifically for specific pests. Ask at any farm store in your area about specific pesticides for insect pests.
The most common hibiscus diseases found are…
1. Leaf spotting. A plant affected by leaf spot causes browning and black spots on the leaves.
2. The root or collar rots. This disease affects the root and stem, causing the entire stem and roots to rot.
You can control these diseases by controlling water use and improving soil drainage. Check your pots to see if the water drains properly after watering. If planting outdoors, check the drainage channel for any obstructions to the free flow of water.
For chemical control of these diseases, use Dithane 45 by soaking it in the plant medium to kill them.
However, if you can avoid chemicals, use natural control methods using plant repellants or homemade insecticides.
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