How to: propagate hibiscus
'Adonicus Pink'. Photo - Sprint Horticulture
Many of the most exciting hibiscus are found in gardens rather than in garden centres, so it’s handy to know how to propagate your own plants.
A plant grown from a cutting will be identical in flower, form and leaf to the parent plant.
Here’s how to do it.
1.The easiest way of propagating hibiscus is by hardwood cuttings taken in the last month of winter or in early spring. This is the normal pruning time. Have a small makeshift glasshouse or coldframe ready to protect the cuttings from wind, prevent them from drying out, and provide the extra warmth required to encourage root growth.
2.Select strong, straight wood, pencil thickness or a little larger. Weak, twisted stems will produce weak and twisted plants; the better the wood the better the plants. Remove all the leaves by bending them backward against the stem or by cutting off with secateurs. Don’t pull or tug them, particularly if they are a little dry, or they will tear the bark.
3.Use a sharp knife to make a cut at about 45 degrees through an eye at the base of the cutting, slicing right through in one even stroke. Trim cutting to a length of 12.5 - 15 cm.
4.Hardwood cuttings prefer coarse river sand with a little peat mixed through it as a rooting medium: we have also used commercial propagation mix with success. Put the cutting into the pot – a 15cm pot will be able to take around 30 cuttings – enough for all your friends!
5.Once the cuttings have struck they can be potted on into larger pots containing potting mix. To remove the rooted cuttings from the pots without damaging their roots soak the pot in a bucket of seaweed solution first.