The Q&A Archives: Tropical Hibiscus

Question: Hello again, this weekend I bought two hibiscus flowers, one has red the other has peach color flowers. The pot is too small for the plant. When I look into the pot, I saw that it looks like each pot has three plants in it. I want to divide and plant some on the ground and some in a bigger pot.

My problem is since it in bloom will I kill it by trying to divide the root, I don?t really know if it is three plants. If there is ant danger of killing the plant, I would rather just plant it as is in a pot or ground.

How big does it grow, I don?t exactly know the exact name, but it looks like the kind you see in Hawaiian pictures. What is its likes and dislike? What is a good natural fertilizer for it? How long does it flower. Anything and everything you can tell me is greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your help

Answer: You're growing the Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). This is the tropical looking evergreen with large glossy leaves and large red, white or pink flowers. All Hibiscus require full sun, good drainage, regular, deep watering and frequent feeding. If you prune the plant in early spring, you'll encourage new flowering stems. If you pinch out the tips of the new growth in the late spring and early summer, flower production will increase. When you water, apply liberally to wet the entire root system. Feed plants every two weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion (from spring through the end of summer), pinch out the the tips of the new stems and your plant should produce blooms.

You can repot your plants, but you won't know whether or not it's a single plant with multiple stems, or three separate plants until you unpot them and brush away the potting soil to inspect the roots. If you do this now, you may interrupt the blooming cycle for the rest of the season. Since these plants slow down their growth and flowering in the winter months, why not wait until then to unpot them and try to divide them?

Best wishes with your hibiscus.

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