HIBISCUS paramutabilis x syriacus not doing well - Knowledgebase Question

West Hollywood, CA
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Question by marc75
August 10, 2005
I did the best to uncover any information about this unusual hibiscus in the faq's but did not find any info that helped. I have my red sentinal hibiscus planted in full sun and it is not doing well-has not bloomed and wilts in afternoon sun, no matter how well watered. I feed regularly with an orgainic bloom and bud fertilizer (4-10-7). I live in zone 10 and the afternoon sun really seems to much for it. I have heavy clay soil, but heavily amended w/ Amend, Grow Mulch and peat moss. The new foilage is a reddish green, while interesting, not as stunning as the foilage when I brought the plant home. What am I doing wrong? Thanks

Answer from NGA
August 10, 2005
Hibiscus paramutabilis x syriacus 'Red Sentinal' is a cross between H. mutabilis (Confederate Rose) and H. syriacus (Rose of Sharon). This plant was bred for heat and drought tolerance, and frost hardiness. You may be overwatering. While it is normal to want to water a plant that looks wilted, doing so may actually be harming the plant. Over saturated soils can be void of oxygen; this can cause root rot. Hydrangeas react to hot summer sunshine in the same way - the leaves wilt. But, as long as they recover overnight and look fine the next morning, there's no need to water. If the foliage still looks wilted in the morning, it's time to water deeply. Believe it or not, your plant will adjust to its site in your landscape. Simply water it deeply once each week and hold off on fertilizer until next spring. (You can check how efficiently you're watering by digging a hole near the roots 3-4 days after watering deeply. If the soil is moist 3 inches beneath the surface, you won't need to water for a few more days; if it's dry, it's time to water. When you do water, apply slowly so it trickles down and wets the soil at least 8 inches deep.)

Best wishes with your plant!

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