Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Hibiscus: A Touch of the Tropics indoors


It feels like the tropics today in the Washington, DC area, which is not particularly unusual for summer. The weather reminded me of the big and bright-blossomed Hibiscus plant, maybe the houseplant that is most reminiscent of the Tropics. These tropical bushes are fairly easy to keep indoors for many years, if you have a sunny area in your home.

Of all the blooming plants that can be grown indoors, these magnificent shrubs probably have the largest and showiest blooms. The hibiscus is native to China, Japan, India and the East Indies and you should find them readily available for sale in an array of bright colors.

If you live in an area with a warm summer, a Hibiscus would benefit greatly from being put outdoors after the temperatures reach about 70°F (or 21°C) during the day. They should be put in a semi-shady outdoors or may have difficulty adapting indoors later. The light outdoors is much brighter than indoors and the sunniest of windows is less than full sun outside. Plants usually do not like to be put in less light than what they've been accustomed to receiving.

They are easy to prune to shape and you may need to, from time to time, as they can eventually grow as tall as your ceiling. With the right care, they can live with you for years! 

Care Instructions--
  • At least 4 hours of direct sun daily is best. Full afternoon sun suits them well.
  • Water a Hibiscus thoroughly, when the soil surface is dry.  
  • Plants in a 6" (15cm) diameter pot need about a pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water
  • In an 8" (20cm) diameter pot use about a quart (1 liter) of water
  • In a 10" (25cm) diameter pot, use about 2 quarts (2 liters) of water
  • In a 14" (35cm)  diameter pot, use about 1 gallon (4 liters) of water
  • Humidity can be provided by daily misting.
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth and most blooms.
  • A Hibiscus should be kept cleaned up, removing any yellowing or dead leaves as soon as possible. Occasional dusting and a gentle showering from time to time is very helpful.
  • If possible, setting them outdoors in a semi-shady spot for the summer will give them a good boost.
  • They can be pruned to shape
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To see a short video clip on the Hibiscus from "The Indoor Garden TV", a 90's TV show, click here: The Indoor Garden TV

For more short videos on a variety of plants, Check out The Indoor Garden TV channel:

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