Summer gardens often look dull after the spring flush when so many shrubs flower at the same time. Look for summer flowering plants to lift the pallet. Hibiscus has had a makeover for the modern garden and the new Patio Hibiscus is well worth considering. Bred to be more compact and for longer lasting flowers makes them a great option for container gardeners.
The showy blooms of Hibiscus will lend a tropical touch to the home and bring a bit of summer holidays on the south coast to your garden. Hibiscus flowers come in many stunning colours from pink, red, yellow to orange and the blooms can be either single or double as well as two tone coloured.
In the garden planting them next to a north or north-west facing wall is ideal. In smaller cluster gardens this sheltered environment, which is often too hot for some shrubs with the sunshine and reflected heat from the walls a Hibiscus will thrive and the heat boosts flowering.
On the patio they will grow well as long as they don’t get to much shade. If your patio is covered then look at where you will get the most sun and that’s the spot. Select a container that is at least 35cm in diameter and plant them with potting soil and mulch with a layer of compost or bark chips after watering them for the first time.
Our tips to grow the best Hibiscus
- Plant hibiscus in a spot that receives at least eight hours of full sun a day
- They can be safely planted against a wall but ideally you should leave at least 1m of space between the shrub and the wall.
- If you wish to plant a few hibiscus shrubs together they will form a dense screen and a spacing of 1.5 meters is recommended
- Hibiscus will also do well in containers on sunny patios or along a path or driveway. Containers should be at least 70cm high and 50cm wide.
- Hibiscus flower on the tips of branches so resist cutting them back too often as this limits flowering. To shape and control we recommend cutting back through early spring and late January to allow some growth before autumn.
- Hibiscus prefer rich, well-composted soil that drains well as they hate 'wet feet' and the higher the organic content in the soil the more flowers you will get.
- Feed at planting and through the summer with organic fertiliser - BioGanic or Nitrosol. The organic food not only stimulates lush growth and flowering it also toughens the leaves which will make them more resist winter frost better, as Hibiscus are tender to heavy frost.
- Hibiscus plants are not prone to insect or disease problems. They may have occasional outbreaks of red spider which is identified by yellowing of the leaves in mid-summer and other than that there is not much else that can go wrong.
Did you know that the south coast is often referred to as the Hibiscus coast? This is not only because of the exotic Hibiscus we see growing there but because South Africa has around 60 indigenous species of Hibiscus most of which are found in the KwaZulu Natal region.