The Q&A Archives: perennial hybiscus has not come up

Question: Last year in the late spring I purchased two Lady Baltimore Hybiscus (gallon size) from a local, reputable nursery (Alsip Nursery in Frankfort, IL) I already had three others and felt comfortable with the location I was going to plant and my past success with the perennial. The two plants are in an area that does not drain well so they get plenty of water. Last season they were beautiful and full of blooms. Unfortunately, they have not yet started to send up any green shoots. The other three....planted near by have. The others are not the same type as the Lady Baltimore.

The nursery has told me that they should have begun to show life...they believe that Mother's Day is a good benchmark for that perennial. Since I do not have a receipt, I cannot replace them. I am hoping that you might give me suggestions as to what might have happened or give me hope that they will still come up.

Lauren duBois

Answer: Sometimes new plants are a bit slower to emerge in the spring, I suspect because their root reserves are not quite as substantial as the more established plants. Also, a wetter location will tend to have colder soil later in the spring than a better drained one, especially if it is in a low spot that acts as a frost pocket, so the soil may still be relatively cold there thus slowing them down. (Microclimate can have a lot to do with how plants perform.) I think I would still be patient a little longer. You could gingerly dig down (there is a risk you could damage the emerging growth below ground) and see how they are, in case for some reason they rotted away during the winter -- although I would bet they are just a little slower than the others. Good luck!

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