The Q&A Archives: tropical canna,tropical hybiscus

Question: Do I have to lift the canna bulbs in winter? Can I bring hibiscus in during the winter? Ijust moved to s. c. from long island n.y.

Answer: Cannas are popular because of their extended flowering period and luxurious green, striped or bronze foliage. There are many cultivars available in a wide choice of colors including cream, yellow, orange, pink, red, and spotted and striped bicolors. Although most cannas grow 3 to 6 feet tall or more, new dwarf cultivars may reach only 2 feet tall. Cannas bloom from early summer until frost if you remove old blossoms regularly so that they do not set seed.

Cannas love hot summer sun, but need rich soil and a good moisture supply. They are reliably hardy and can be left in the ground throughout the year in South Carolina. Plant the rhizomes 1 to 2 inches deep and 12 to 24 inches apart. You can divide the rhizomes in the spring if you want to increase your plants. Apply 3 to 4 pounds of 10-10-10 per 100 square feet every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season and water thoroughly.

Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a tropical shrub that is often grown outdoors in the summer and as a houseplant in winter. It is not hardy in any part of South Carolina, but can be brought inside to a bright, sunlit area for the winter and planted out each spring.

Take Chinese hibiscus outside after all danger of frost is past. Be sure to acclimate plants gradually to the increased light and lower temperatures outside. They prefer rich, well drained soil with plenty of organic matter, in full sun or light afternoon shade. Water the plants freely during the growing season, and fertilize with either a time release fertilizer every eight weeks or with a water soluble fertilizer every two weeks. To keep mature plants growing vigorously prune old wood back by about one third in spring.

Bring Chinese hibiscus indoors when nighttime temperatures fall into the lower 50s F.

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