The Q&A Archives: Perenial Hibiscus

Question: We have a perenial hibiscus that has purple/green pointy leaves that blooms blood red flowers. the flowers bloom one per 24 hour period. we would like to split, clone, and move it to a better location. can you provide a step-by-step to help us out?

Answer: I think the easiest way to increase the number of plants you have is through a process called layering. You can do several branches at a time from the same plant and it generally takes 2-3 months. Here's the process: Select a healthy, pencil-sized branch. Bend the branch to the ground and strip the leaves around the area where it naturally touches the earth. Be sure the branch is long enough so a few inches of leaves are left on the tip. Loosen or turn the soil where the branch touches, and mix in a little peat moss. With a sharp knife, notch or split the stem just below a node, insert a toothpick, and dust with rooting hormone. Then cover the area with two or three inches of soil and firm it down so the earth makes good contact with the branch. Make sure the branch tip points straight up for a well-shaped plant. You might have to fasten the branch in the ground with a hairpin or a V-shaped stick or by placing a stone on top of the soil. Add peat moss and a mulch to the soil as a covering to keep the area moist. The only care for simple layers is to keep them well watered.

It may take one or two months, or even a full season before the new plant is
ready to transplant. Transplant in early autumn or before growth starts in the spring. Simply cut the connecting branch as close to the new plant as possible. Then
remove the new plant, leaving plenty of soil around the roots, and transplant carefully.

I've done several branches at a time, spreading them out like spokes on a wheel. So, depending upon how large your hibiscus is, you may want to root several of the branches rather than just one.

Best wishes with your project!

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