Green Mantis
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Hibiscus Plant, Can you grow it into a hibiscus tree?

I bought a beautiful hibiscus plant today, and wondered if you can grow them up, with proper pruning a get a hibiscus tree? Also how often should I water when it's flowering. Should I fertilize periodicaly too? What type of fertilizar? Sorry for so many questions, but it's so pretty. Thanks everyone. Hopefully will get some answers? :?:

shadowsmom
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I currently have an hibiscus that's looking for a new home. In spite of my aggressive pruning over the years it has become a shrub. They can get very large and I'm sure if you wanted more of a tree form, rather than a shrubby form, you could train it to look like a tree.

I water mine everyday when it's hot and when you bring it in for the winter it still needs a lot of water when the heat is on. A lot of water! It will start dropping leaves quickly to let you know it needs more water.

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rainbowgardener
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It is called standard form, when you prune a shrub into tree shape. It can be done with hibiscus. Here's a picture of one done that way:

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/20728/

It takes careful management and may not be a good thing to try if you don't have much experience growing the shrub. You have to prune all the side branches (laterals) off up to the height you want, usually 3-6'. But you can't do that all at once, because the leaves feed the trees, so you don't want to defoliate it.

I take it this is in a container and will come in for the winter. If you have a true hibiscus (as opposed to Rose of Sharon, which is related), it is a tropical and will definitely not survive a Canada winter. It doesn't like night time temps much below 50 degrees. As a tropical, it likes light, warmth, and humidity. Once you have brought it in for the winter, you will want to mist it as well as watering.

Definitely hibiscus needs feeding, especially container grown. It needs well draining potting soil and to be fed with some kind of water soluble fertilizer twice a month or so. Water when the top few inches of soil are dry.
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Green Mantis
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No, this one is in the house in the container. I know the poor thing couldn't handle our winters, as it's getting cold already. Brrrr, I DON'T like WINTER!!!! I guess IF I try pruning it, I will transplant it into a bigger pot, then get it going properly. Sounds like this will take awhile, at this rate. I WILL fertilize it, as it looks like it could use it. So guess I will be waiting to try this experiment :? Thank You everyone for answering me. THIS will be my big NEW experiment!!!! LOL!

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rainbowgardener
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Unlike some other things, hibiscus likes to be kind of crowded in the pot. If you go to a bigger pot, just go one size up.
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Green Mantis
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OH, THANK YOU, I was going to put it in a BIG pot!!!! I love this site, everybody is so helpful. You probably saved the hibiscus, I do think it is a Rose of Sharon. Didn't know there was a difference??? Once more, Love this site. It saves a LOT of plants I'm sure!!!! :wink:

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rainbowgardener
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Rose of Sharon is the non-tropical variety. It is hardy to zone 5, - 15 degrees F. It is deciduous, so drops its leaves and goes dormant in the winter, unlike the tropical hibiscus, which is evergreen. You really need to be sure what you have, because the care is quite different.

Being deciduous, the Rose of Sharon would not be a good subject for pruning to standard form, since a lot of the year it would look pretty ugly that way. I don't think bare branches pruned to standard form are very attractive - JMO.

My rose of sharon stays in the ground all year, here in zone 6.
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lorax
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Yes, but Bowden is in Zone 2b or 3a if I recall correctly (I used to have friends there), which is FAR too cold for even the hardiest of the Hibiscuses in-ground. Another friend, in Edmonton, has a glorious standard-pruned gold hibiscus in his kitchen; the thing must be 30 years old, and it scrapes his ceiling. It's in this idgy-widgy little pot he bought in Chinatown, and seems to absolutely love it. He feeds it fish emulsion twice a year and mists it daily, and it blooms almost year-round.

GM, can you post us a picture of your plant? Some of the tropical hibiscus cultivars (H. rosa-sinensis, most commonly) have foliage that is very similar to Rose of Sharon (H. syriacus) - so you might actually have a tropical that's posing as a hardier shrub. There are gardeners here who are well-acquainted with both (I'm one of them) and we'll be able to help you make the final determination.

Green Mantis
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I'll see what I can do on the picture front, have to borrow my grandson, and his camera! LOL!!! But that is VERY interesting on the fish imulsion fertilizer. The plant looks like the one in the picture that was posted on here, that you have to bring up. If that helps? Thanks for the info everyone. Never knew what I was getting into? Yes it DOES get cold here! I'm still waiting to win the lottery to move to somewhere warm, sunny and that has beautiful beaches! :wink:

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lorax
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:() Try Ecuador - warm, sunny, lovely beaches, and you don't have to win the lotto to move here. It's what I did, and I'm never going back (originally from north of Athabasca.)

Green Mantis
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lorax---Your'e Mean LOL!!!!! What a way to enjoy life!!!! That's not a bad idea, what is required for canadian's to live their? Or can you only stay 6 months then come back?---The more I read this the better it sounds!!!! THis has been the year of the summer that wasn't in Alberta! So little sun, then when we did get hot sunny days, we got thunderstorms everynight! :( How's the growing season there???? Anything has to be better than here!---To think a question about a hibiscus started this!!! That sure sounds like the way to live to me.

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lorax
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I have a permanent residency visa, which was pretty easy to get, actually. I don't ever have to go back to Canada unless I want to, and in nearly 4 years, I haven't wanted to.

If you want to stay here on tourist visas, which are free for Canadians, you can have up to 3 months at a time in Ecuador for a total of 6 out of any year - what you do is go to Colombia for a day when your visa expires, then come back in for the next 3 months.

The growing season here is year-round, with different crops doing well at different times of the year. The area I live in, Ambato (check on a map - it's smack in the middle of the country) is a highland desert, and I can grow anything I used to grow in Canada here with absolutely no problems whatsoever - but no rush, either. I have indeterminate tomato vines that are now nearly 1 year old and still bearing tasty fruit, for example. In the highlands (cities of Ibarra, Quito, Latacunga, Ambato, Riobamba, Azogues, Cuenca, and Loja), the temperatures are what you'd associate with a Canadian summer. We have a season we call "winter" but what it amounts to is that it only goes up to 20 C during the day and it rains a bit more often.

It only snows on the very tippy tops of the volcanoes.

I've also lived on the edge of the Amazon jungle, which is considerably hotter and moister/more humid - there, you can grow anything you could in Canada, and also all of the tropical fruits (Banana, Papaya, Mango, Avocado, and a whole host of things you won't meet until you get there.)

The beaches, on the Pacific ocean, are absolutely stunning - these tend to be hot and dry. All of the country's export bananas are grown on the coastal floodplanes - so next time you eat a Chiquita with an Ecuador sticker, think about that. We have everything from black-sand and palm trees (beaches of Manabi), to white sand and coastal desert (beaches of Santa Elena) to white sand and palm trees (beaches of El Oro) to black sand and mangroves (beaches of Esmeraldas). And the food! Oh, don't get me started on the food. They do things with coconuts and seafood here that you wouldn't believe....

Coming full circle to Hibiscus trees, they're common on the boulevards here, and just about anybody who has garden space grows them outdoors.

Green Mantis
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:roll: Well NO wonder you aren't coming back! What a climate to live and garden in!!!! I wouldn't want to live near the jungle, I love animals, BUT, there is a limit. I would love to be near a beach, with lovely soft white sand. I can't swim, but I sure could paddle around in shallow water, having a fantastic time!---Sounds like the food is fantastic. Wonder IF we would ever get that adventurous? Did you have a hard time thinking about moving so far away :?: Or have you moved or traveled lots? We haven't traveled virtually anywhere. Only once across the border, a long time ago, to deliver a miniature horse. That was just outside of the border, by osoyoos. We're real traveler's :lol: Now I'm going to get myself a map and start looking up info on your part of the world!!! I think you have put a lot of ideas to think about in my head!!!---I have decided that my hibiscus is going to be called LORAX!!!!!!!! You have given me so many ideas, maybe bad!!! LOL!!! Then to tell me they grow all over the place their! DROOL!!!!!---Some people REALLY do follow their dreams, I'm so glad for you, that you really did!--I HOPE??? we do? I will take GOOD care of lorax the hibiscus! :D If I have problems, I will be posting for you! :lol: Thanks so much for the info on lorax!!!

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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if I can ever get these tropical hibiscus cuttings to root then I would like to train mine standard form as well :D I like how it looks alot more for some odd reason :D
Confusion at its Finest :D
I'm rooting for you!

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Green Mantis
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I do too, but maybe my plant, "lorax" won't be the one I'll try it on. Might try a little one and see if that would work better?--- How do you take cuttings off them????

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lorax
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Branch cuttings root easily - you have to make sure you've got wood, though, not just greens. I'm actually kind of notorious for carrying a pocketknife and taking slips off of interesting boulevard Hibiscus in this city.

When you get back to winter, be careful to watch your plant for spider-mites. A bit of prevention, like misting the plant daily, goes a long way to health and survival.

I had no problems moving this far - I'd always travelled within Canada (in the summertime, I had no fixed address) so it was just one more adventure. I actually came down here originally on vacation with my parents, and we all fell in love with the country so we decided that when they retired, we were coming back to stay. The bonus for me is that I'm the only representative of my profession in the country (scenographer) so I've got 100% employment without taking a job from a local. Ecuador is the Canada of this continent, although it's a very tiny country - the people are incredibly friendly, the government is reasonably sane, and it's known for being peaceful and free of terrorism.

Here's one of the most famous plantings of Hibiscus in Quito, in the Parque Carolina (the equivalent of Central Park for the city) - it's one of about 150 that are planted along Av. Amazonas. These are standard-trimmed pink Hibiscus, and are almost always in bloom. The trees are about 20 feet tall.
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh196/HabloPorArboles/A%20Few%20of%20My%20Favourite%20Trees%202009/HibiscusHabit.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh196/HabloPorArboles/A%20Few%20of%20My%20Favourite%20Trees%202009/HibiscusFlower.jpg[/img]

And here's one of my favourite colour combos, which grows in a friend's yard. She has left her canes uncut, which means that this is a large shrub with multiple stems, rather than a tree. It's about 10 feet tall.
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh196/HabloPorArboles/Best%20Photography/Botany/Hibiscus.jpg[/img]

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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oh geez is that what I've been doing wrong?? I've been taking green new growth cuttings because that is how all other plants seem to need to be taken in order to be successful in rooting. *sigh* So does that mean that the third batch of new growth I've tried is going to fail as well? I've been thinking it was the kind of soil I was putting them in that was making them not root properly but maybe it's the type of cutting I've been taking :(
Confusion at its Finest :D
I'm rooting for you!

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shadowsmom
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BewilderedGreenyO.o wrote:oh geez is that what I've been doing wrong?? I've been taking green new growth cuttings because that is how all other plants seem to need to be taken in order to be successful in rooting. *sigh* So does that mean that the third batch of new growth I've tried is going to fail as well? I've been thinking it was the kind of soil I was putting them in that was making them not root properly but maybe it's the type of cutting I've been taking :(
Me too! I have 3 green cuttings sitting around, guess I need to redo them and get some woody cuttings started.

I'm going to attempt to turn my container shrub into a tree. If it's narrower I can find a place in the house to put it for the winter. Now it's way too wide. I tried to find it a new home but no takers, so far.

Green Mantis
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lorax--Did you take that picture with the BIG tree? Looks like you are a great photographer!! Either way, those pics of your friends hibiscus are just beautiful!!!----Just out of curiousity how long do flowers last on hibiscus plants?

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lorax
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GM, any picture I post here will be my own work unless I expressly state otherwise... Thanks for the compliment! Those are, BTW, *not* the largest Hibiscus trees I've ever seen in Ecuador - that prize goes to the boulevard ones by the Guayaquil airport, on the coast.

Blooms last about a day on most Hibiscus, but the trees make up for it by producing new ones daily and staggering blooming. Generally, flowers start opening in the morning at sunrise, and close up again at sunset.

Green Mantis
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:o Oh! Thank Goodness, I thought something was wrong with lorax the hibiscus! Feel much better about that. You are an incredible photographer by the way! Congrats on that. :wink:

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I have a tropical hibiscus that I started braiding from the bottom up when it was small. Now it is about 5 ft. tall and it's beautiful. I pull off all leaves on the braided part and it leaves a beautiful flowering bowl shaped plant at the top. Would post a picture but don't have a camera right now. I keep it in the green house at work in winter. Don't know what I'll do when I retire..lol
give me a sunny day and a flower bed and I'm happy

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