HIBISCUS - Queen of the Flowers
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Intro' & Index | Chapter 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Ch 12 | Appendix
HIBISCUS Queen of the Flowers CHAPTER THREE
Hibiscus in your Garden
Growth characteristics of hibiscus vary greatly. They range from low, drooping or sprawly shrubs to trees 6 m. (20 ft) high.
In shape they may be
These characteristics should be considered when hibiscus are chosen for planting in a certain spot.
Make sure you choose an open sunny situation preferably sheltered from cold prevailing winds. Full sun is essential, although hibiscus will grow and survive in shaded positions, they will not bloom as prolifically as if planted in full sun. Hibiscus prefer a sandy soil which has been enriched by the addition of humus with good drainage being essential. If the drainage appears doubtful at all, it is a good idea to raise the level of the beds intended for planting about 25-35 cm (10-14 in). This is a good practice where a heavy clay soil is in existence or where there is seepage in the area after heavy rains, hibiscus cannot tolerate "wet feet". Hibiscus do well on northern walls, particularly the modern varieties.
Choose a hibiscus to suit the position. If a tall plant is required, or a low one, choose one in the right height range; too often we see a huge plant right next to a front gate, or a low one in a hedge used for privacy. Nowadays it is possible to obtain a hibiscus tailor-made to your requirements.
Remember before planting, that hibiscus prefer to be planted on their own, and to obtain optimum results prepare a special bed for them alone. Do not plant them amongst other shrubs where they have to compete for food, light, water and sun. Half a day's sun is the minimum requirement.
Near the seashore, the danger of salt injury cannot be ignored. Hibiscus do not stand dune conditions, and suffer severe injury or fail to survive where winds developed by storms saturate large areas with salt spray. The plants should be protected from cold winds if at all possible. Use buildings, fences, screens, trees for protection where this is a factor.
Future maintenance of the planted area should be an important consideration in the planning stages. A garden that requires continual and expensive maintenance can be a heavy burden on the homeowner, and the joy he expects to receive can be lost. Work out landscape plans in advance, deciding on the type of material needed, location, spacing, balance, scale, form, and colour which will harmonize into an attractive unit.
Preparing Your Garden
Remember in your planning that some varieties of hibiscus only grow to about 90 cm (3 ft) tall, while others grow to about 6 m (20 ft). Most modern varieties can be kept to about 1.2 m-1.8 m (4-6 ft).
Garden beds should always be built up to ensure your hibiscus have adequate drainage to their root systems. Attractive stone or cement edging can be used in construction, thus allowing you to build up your soil behind them. Preparation of these garden beds should be as follows: if it is a new area, chip any existing grass off the surface, without breaking into the subsoil excessively. Your beds can then be built up on this area, using a good garden loam from a reliable supplier. It is essential that the soil be from neutral to acid in nature with good compost or organic matter being incorporated in it during preparation. Good garden loam should be light in texture but dark in colour. It should not be a heavy brown colour. Inspect it first.
Preparation of the Soil
The location where the plants are to be set out should be prepared some time in advance of planting. Most soils are low in organic matter and hibiscus plants benefit by the addition of this material.
Mark off the area where the plants are to be set and spread a good thick cover of compost, leaf mould or well decomposed manure, well rotted down chicken litter, etc., and fork well into the soil.
Alight application of Dolomite (70 g per square metre) and a balanced fertilizer (100 g per square metre) should be used. After fertilizing the soil should be rested for 2 or 3 weeks, during which time hibiscus plant selection and purchase can be made.
Ensure that extreme care is taken in the watering of your plants before planting. If you are keeping the plants in containers for 2 or 3 weeks, keep in the sun and inspect them closely daily. Never forget they are in containers and that they do dry out quickly. A good way to ensure that the plants have sufficient moisture is to submerge them in a tub or bucket of water, as they are in their containers and let them soak for 10 minutes. This practice should be carried out just prior to planting also, ensuring that you leave the plant drain for 15 minutes before planting. Otherwise the plant, soil and all could collapse in a soggy heap after removal from the container.
Always remember when planting, that you do not plant too deeply. Dig your hole slightly larger and deeper than your container and the plant should be planted at approximately the same level as it is in the existing pot or just slightly deeper. The soil should be made firm around the plant with light pressure applied by the feet. A suitable mulch should be applied after the area is planted and then thoroughly saturated, preferably with a sprinkler.
In spacing, enough room should be given the plant to permit it to mature without undue cramping or crowding. In a hedge using standard hedge varieties, space your hibiscus at least 1.05 m (31/2 ft) apart; a spacing of 1.2 m (4 ft) is better. In a bed or group planting using the better hybrids, allow 1.2 m (4 ft) between all plants. Against the house, try to keep at least 60 cm (24 in) from the foundation, with spacing of 1.35 m - 1.5 m (41/2-5 ft) to allow air and light to penetrate.
Relocating and Transplanting
Water and Mulch.
Index | Chapter 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Ch 12 | Appendix
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