Hardy Hibiscus Question...

cheesecake983(7a)August 30, 2011

I know there is a forum all its own for hibiscus, but it doesn't seem to get much traffic so I thought I'd try my question here.

I'm growing two types of hardy hibiscus, Torchy and Crown Jewels, both by Fleming. The Crown Jewels seems to be growing great, but has only produced one bloom and doesn't look to be producing any more. The Torchy has grown okay and did have one bloom earlier in the summer (July-ish) but the poor bloom was so heat/sun scorched that it barely lasted the day.

My concern is that they are both growing in a space that gets nice morning sun and then all afternoon shade (poor planning for that bed on my part!). I've read that Torchy should grow to about 4 feet but it's barely 2 1/2. I wonder if the low amount of sun has led to the stubby-ness of Torchy and the lack of blooms in both. I will mention that they have only been in the ground at my home for a year, so I guess that could be an issue as well.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

- Rachel

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I think you answered your own question, that they probably need more sun to thrive. They also have a deep tap roots so prefer soil that isn't hard and compact as they like to grow some deep roots, or at least a really good layer of rich soil at the surface to stretch out into. They also like to be dry in spring, before they sprout, and then moist after they are very actively growing. Finally they like to have their crowns buried and new stems only come from below the surface. If roots/crowns get exposed they dry out too quickly and won't perform well, and may even get set way back over the winter, plus they won't grow as tall or as many stems as they could.

So part sun to full sun is best (I'd say yours are in part shade), deep, loamy soil, regular moisture in the summer and dry in winter and spring, make sure the roots are covered and mulch to keep moist in summer.

You could move them this fall so long as you don't water and rot them, but early spring before they emerge is the best time to transplant, then just lift, move, and water once to settle the soil, mulch and let them be until they emerge.

Hope that helps,


    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:07PM
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Thanks, Chris! I was afraid I'd have to move them :( I moved some Monarda from that bed just a little while ago and the soil's so nice there that I hate to abandon it, but I think that's the route I'll have to take. I have Iris over there too and only one bloom this year. I think I'll give everything one more season just to make sure and the move it if needed. The notes about the watering are helpful, too, I'll certainly keep an eye on that.

- Rachel

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:04AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

I agree. They are not getting enough sun. All mine are in part to full sun and the one red hibiscus I have (name escapes me) has gotten over 5 feet tall. These are such free flowering plants I don't have to do anything to them. They emerge very late in the spring and bloom very late. Mine started a few weeks ago. You might want to stake them now so you don't forget where you planted them next year. I don't think you need to second guess this advice. Once you move them you'll see a tremendous difference.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:11PM
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