The Q&A Archives: Braided Hibiscus

Question: I Have a Braided Hibiscus Tree For A House Plant, I Recieved it for a house warming gift. What is the proper way to take care of it? It is already looking kinda ill. Do I need to take off the tie that goes around the braided part?

Answer: Your braided hibiscus is a tropical hibiscus and can be grown outdoors during the spring and summer and then overwintered indoors during the coldest months of the year. Hibiscus grows indoors all year around, too. Hibiscus are tropical plants that need light and, perhaps more importantly, warmth to thrive. They prefer moderate heat and to continue blooming must have a few hours of direct sunshine every day. Place your plant near a bright South or West facing window. Hibiscus like water but do not let it stand with 'wet feet'. The soil needs to dry up between waterings to protect from root rot. Make certain no excess water remains in the planter half an hour after watering. For prolific flowering, hibiscus must have regular feedings every week during the growth period, March-October. Half strength water soluble formulas can be used with every watering. I usually water 9 times with fertilizer and then flush with clean water the tenth time. This will prevent salt buildup in the pot. Never fertilize dried out plants -you may damage the roots. First rehydrate the soil by putting the pot in a bucket with about 2" of water. Add a dash of regular dish detergent to break water tension, this will allow the water to better penetrate the dried out soil. Leave pot for 30 minutes in bucket then return to planter. When the soil is once again moist through you may fertilize. You can remove the tie if you'd like or leave it on - as long as it is not digging into the bark it's okay.

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