HIBISCUS - Queen of the Flowers

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Queen of the Flowers


Successful Transplanting
What should you do when your hibiscus are too crowded, are not getting enough sun, could be used to better advantage in another part of the garden, or are not thriving for one reason or another. Transplanting may be the solution. To move plants successfully you must not only decide why transplanting is necessary and what location would be better, you must know the proper method of transplanting. The decision to transplant your hibiscus should be made considering the following points for each individual plant.

Time to Transplant. Brisbane - late August; colder areas - mid to late September-October.

Age and Size of Plants. Small young plants are more easily moved than large mature bushes long established in a location.

Condition of Plant. A vigorous and thriving plant naturally stands the shock of being moved better than a plant which has been doing poorly, as well as being better able to stand severe cold or heat and periods of drought. However, an unhealthy plant may recover if it is moved to a more suitable location. To determine the health and vigour of your hibiscus for transplanting, observe the length of annual top growth, the condition of buds and flowers, the number of dead branches, and the colour of the leaves. Stunted growth, malformation, wilting, disease spots, and poor colouration of leaves all are signs of a plant in poor health. A visit to a first class nursery to learn how any variety of hibiscus in top condition should appear would be helpful to those just becoming acquainted with hibiscus.

Location. Time is well spent in deciding the new location for plants to be moved. A plant site which will add to the beauty of the area is to be sought, but whether the plant can withstand changes in sun, shade, wind exposure and drainage conditions has a more direct bearing on the plant's survival. Different kinds of hibiscus vary in their growing habits, their need for sun, and the time of year they bloom best. None of them like wet feet for long periods of time, and they are not very tolerant of salt spray. They need some protection from wind if they are to keep in good condition. Remember that a transplanted hibiscus should have space available above and below the plant as it grows. Roots need room to spread. If the shrub is to be well-shaped, the top of the plant should be free to develop properly. Some varieties grow low, wide, and sprawly; others grow tall and compact. Be sure to take growth into consideration when you choose the spot for relocation.

Digging the Plant. Transplanting failures can often be traced to injury sustained by the roots when the plant is dug. Before digging the plant, cut the branches back one-third overall. Circle the plant with a small trench, going out 30 cm (12 in) for each 2.5 cm (1 in) of trunk diameter. To avoid disturbing the uncut roots, dig straight down, not on a slant, with a sharpened spade. Actual digging for removal of the plant should begin from the outer edge of the plant's crown, with soil carefully removed as you work nearer the trunk, until the main roots are located. Retain as much soil around the roots as possible for root system protection.

Ease a piece of hessian, at least a metre square, down in the trench. Carefully work it under the ball of soil and roots enveloping them. Bind this ball with twine or cord to facilitate removal from the hole with the least loss of soil, or drying of the roots will result. On large, heavy specimens it may be necessary to roll the ball onto a tarpaulin or rug to drag or skid the heavy plant to its new location. The plant will recover better if partly shaded with hessian or other fabric for the first week. Frequent sprinkling of the top is excellent to reduce evaporation.

Planting. Soil at the bottom of the hole should be loose for good drainage. The plant should sit at the same level it was before being moved. Place the plant in the hole at the right level. Fill three-quarters of the hole with soil, then water and tamp down to remove any air pockets that may be present. Drive in stakes to secure the plant, and fill the remaining part of the hole with a mixture of soil and peat moss.

Care after Transplanting. Newly transplanted hibiscus should be watered thoroughly every second or third day for 4 to 6 weeks, watering until water no longer seeps rapidly into the soil. Allow the surface soil to dry before watering again. Test the soil for dryness by crumbling it through your fingers. Lack of water causes the roots to dry up and die, and excessive water is likely to rot the roots. Light watering causes production of surface roots. Mulching with a 10 cm (4 in) layer of commonly used mulching material is valuable in retaining moisture. Mulch should be kept about 10 cm (4 in) away from the stem to prevent damage by fungus and decay.

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
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