The Hibiscus coccineus prefer sunny or semi-shady positions; these plants, if placed in an excessively shaded place, tend to flower little. They can bear also the direct sunlight without particular problems. Hibiscus are plants which resist well also to the coldest climates, not presenting particular problems in presence of rigid climate, even if in case of very low temperatures, it is possible that the aerial part dries up.
- Shrub with deciduous leaves, native to Asia, very common in cultivation as an ornamental plant, in gardens and as urban furniture. It has an erect, well branched habit and reaches 2-3 metres in height.
- The genus hibiscus includes several dozen species, including shrubs, annual plants, perennial herbaceous plants and even small trees; most of the species of hibiscus originate from Asia, but are also …
- Perennial herbaceous plant with deciduous leaves, native to Asia and the American continent; these shrubs develop erect woody stems, 80-150 cm tall, covered by a thin down, which carry the same colour as the …
- The name derives from the Greek; it was probably given by Dioscorides, the most famous doctor of antiquity, who lived in the first century after Christ. More precise information has been reported to us by Ghislain …
The cochineal hibiscus usually bears without problems short periods of drought, but also a soil moist or constantly soaked with water for a balanced development and abundant flowering is recommended to water regularly, from March to October, always waiting for the soil to dry between one watering and the other; the lack of water leads the plant to produce very few flowers. These shrubs can find place in the water gardens, but also as a backdrop in the aioles of perennials or annuals.
They are grown in a medium texture soil, quite rich in organic matter. If desired, it is possible to grow them in pots, remembering to change the container and the soil every 2-3 years. The plants grown in pots should be watered quite frequently during the hot season.
Usually it happens in autumn, by division of the heads of roots; in spring it is possible to sow the small dark seeds, which are found in big decorative pods; the seeds of the coccynous hibiscus germinate more easily if, before being placed on the ground, they are pierced with no needle.
Propagation by seed
Propagation by seeding is very simple and can be recommended to everyone. Seeds can easily be found at dealers on the Internet.
It can be done in autumn or spring. The first option is preferable if we have a heated greenhouse or if we live in the South of the peninsula. In any case, it is a plant with a fairly rapid growth and specimens born in February are able to give a beautiful flowering already in July of that year.
Before proceeding, to obtain a quick germination, it is advisable to cut the seed with a knife or pass it on sandpaper. Afterwards it is best to leave it in lukewarm water for at least one night so that the outer skin, almost woody, becomes softer.
At that point we can proceed with the immediate use of rather large jars and trying to maintain constant humidity and temperature.
Pests and diseases
They can get hit by whitefly and aphids. Frequent parasites of this malvacea are aphids and cochineals. In the first case, especially if the infestation is important, insecticides based on natural pyrethrins can be used. Cochineals, on the other hand, can be removed manually. We intervene with white summer oil and systemic insecticides only in the most serious cases.
The hibiscus coccineus, due to its vigorous growth, needs a rich soil with a good texture. In addition to feeding the plant must be able to retain moisture to ensure a cool environment for the roots.
From this point of view, it is always good, at the arrival of autumn, to spread abundant floured manure or pellets in the area, perhaps adding a few handfuls of roasted hornbeams.
When spring arrives, we will distribute a little more granular fertilizer for flowering plants (where potassium is the main macroelement) and we will incorporate what has remained on the surface with a slight hoeing. In this way we will stimulate the production of buds as much as possible.
How to Make a Hibiscus Cutting
We will have to get some segments of herbaceous branch, long about 15 cm, at the beginning of the season. They are to be left in water and in the sun for about two weeks, after having almost completely eliminated the leaves. The rooting takes place very easily and the plants can already be put in pot by mid-July and then be transplanted in spring.
The same procedure can be followed using a substrate of sand and peat, in the proportion of 3 to 1.
The division is just as simple. The best time to extract the roots is early spring. They are then cut with the help of clean rakes and shears, and then inserted back into the ground.
The hibiscus coccineus should be treated like any lively herb.
In spring, when the stems have reached the 50 cm, it is good practice to devote oneself to the trimming. In this way the plant will have a thicker and more compact appearance and we will have a large number of apexes, carrying buds and flowers. It is in fact very important to stimulate a massive production, as the single corolla rarely lasts more than one day.
In July and August, especially if we live in the Centre-South, it is recommended to prepare a thick layer of mulch based on leaves, straw or cut grass. In this way we will counteract the evaporation of water: in this way the substrate and the roots will remain fresh for longer, avoiding frequent irrigation.
At the beginning of November, the dry stems will have to be cut about 10 cm from the ground. Also in this case the preparation of a mulch based on manure and plant residues can be of help.
Cochineal hibiscus variety
The most common hibiscus coccineus is the one that can be found also in the spontaneous state, of bright red colour.
In nature, however, there is also a spontaneous mutation of pure white color, called “Alba” and is also available at the horticultural level. The plant is smaller in size and slightly less flowering.
An interesting cultivar is also Lord Baltimore, with corollas of beautiful intense dark red.
Hibiscus – Hibiscus coccineus: Hibiscus uses
This hibiscus is very valuable in a garden. It can be used in second or third line in herbaceous or mixed borders.
Its ideal location, however, is in a marshy area, inserted as an isolated specimen or to form a hedge in the background, perhaps alternating cultivars of different colors. It can live quietly on the banks or, in special pots, even directly in the water (at a maximum depth of 30 cm).
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