Hibiscus is a perennial shrub that can tolerate a variety of climates. There are different types of hibiscus plants that are available, such as hardy herbaceous perennial hibiscus. The latter can grow at a maximum height of eight feet and has trumpet-shaped flowers, which are usually pink or white. Tropical hibiscus is best grown outdoors, but you can plant them even indoors. The problem, however, is that the flowers will end up being smaller because of the lack of full sun that the plant receives.
Growing hibiscus as a houseplant is beneficial not only because it is colorful and beautiful, but also because it can help in the improvement of indoor air quality. It is effective in the filtration of dust and other common pollutants that you can find within the household. They can also be effective sound barriers and will effectively reduce noise. To add, they will be instrumental in the improvement of humidity and the decrease of carbon dioxide. If you work at home, several studies in the past have also proven that hibiscus and other indoor plants will help in making you more productive.
Planting and Growing Conditions
To begin with, pick a variety of hibiscus to plant, making sure that it will thrive in an indoor environment. Pick a pot that is big enough to accommodate the plant once it grows. Ideally, the pot should be made from lightweight materials, which will allow you to move it with ease depending on the light requirements of the plant. The size of the pot should be at least 10 inches in diameter or two times the size of the root ball. Drainage holes are also essential to be sure that water will not accumulate in the soil.
Now that the pot is ready, it is time to prepare the soil. A good choice for soil is one that is well-draining and loamy. It is best to combine two parts potting soil, one part river sand, and one part peat moss. The latter is especially important because it is essential in aeration.
Place the hibiscus plant in the pot. Make sure to leave about an inch of the top root ball exposed. Propagating from a healthy plant is better than growing from seeds, especially for novice and lazy gardeners.
Choose the right location of the hibiscus, which will guarantee its growth and health. You need to place the pot somewhere it will receive six to eight hours of bright but indirect sun per day. You might even want to move it outdoors during the day or keep it by the window. If it fails to receive the right amount of light, it will not bloom and the leaves will end up looking unhealthy.
Indoor hibiscus requires regular watering to survive, especially if you live in a place with a hot climate. Increase the frequency of watering during the hot season and lessen it during the colder months. Make sure that the water will not accumulate on the soil. Otherwise, this will turn soggy and will encourage root rot.
Pests and Diseases
If you ever notice that your hibiscus plant is suffering from loss of vigor or wilting, among other aesthetic problems, this could be an indication that pests and diseases are present. It is common to find chewing pests, such as grasshoppers and caterpillars. For sucking pests, on the other hand, some of the most common are spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies. Meanwhile, when it comes to diseases, leaf spots and root rots are common.
Care and Maintenance
Here are some useful tips that will help to avoid frustration when growing hibiscus:
- Pinching and pruning are important to encourage the healthy growth of the plant. If you do not pinch and prune, the shrub will turn out large, which will not look good for an indoor plant. Prune it in spring, which will help it to become more compact.
- While water is essential for the health of hibiscus, make sure to avoid overwatering, especially during cold weather. One to two inches of water in a week will be sufficient. It is better to just mist the plant from above so that it will receive the moisture it needs.
- To blast off pests and insects that can cause a serious infestation, use organic control methods. One of the best is a neem oil This kills the pesky pests without harming the beneficial ones.
- Fertilizing is also crucial for success. With this, consider using fertilizers that are high in potassium and nitrogen to supplement the nutrients that the soil needs. Fertilize lightly but regularly. A slow-release fertilizer will also be ideal, which lasts for two weeks.
- See to it that the temperature is right. It should be within 45 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, the plant can experience falling leaves and buds.
- If it is taking too long for the flowers to bloom, one of the possible problems is that it is in the wrong location. Consider moving the pot in a place where it will receive more sunlight.
Although hibiscus is a common outdoor shrub, you can also grow it indoors. Aside from choosing the right variety to plant, there is a need to emphasize the growing conditions in the external environment, such as the light and temperature requirements of the plant. A little effort will go a long way to yield colorful flowers and a healthy plant.