Propagating Hibiscus From Cuttings

Hibiscus Propagation Methods

Propagating Hibiscus From Cuttings-hibiscus-flowers
Hibiscus Flowers

The hibiscus is a tropical-sub-tropical evergreen that produces an abundance of flowers that comes in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes. This garden beauty is believed by experts to have first originated in India, there are said to be over 200 species worldwide, the species name means rose of China.

It’s also believed that people from India spread hibiscus from the south and into the Pacific Islands, hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae.

The other names for hibiscus are Chinese Hibiscus, rose mallow, China rose, shoeblack plant, and Hawaiian hibiscus, These garden beauties can be grown as shrubs, hedges, and also standard plants. I have worked with hibiscus on many garden projects and have seen the beauty they bring into a garden or landscape design. There are many ways that hibiscus can be grown, in this article we will be looking at three such ways to populate your garden with an abundance of these flowering beauties while saving your hard-earned dollars. For more on how this is done continue reading.

Propagating Hibiscus from Softwood Cuttings

Propagating hibiscus from softwood cuttings is a great method that has been proven to increase the number of hibiscus in a garden. When seeking to propagate hibiscus from cuttings the cuttings should be taken from the new growth or soft growth, the best time to take softwood cuttings is in spring or early summer.

The part of the hibiscus that has not matured is considered to be softwood, for example, look for the part of the hibiscus that is flexible or is elastic-like in nature. Softwood will also have a greenish cast.

The softwood cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches long, allow two sets of leaves to remain all the other leaves can be removed. The potting soil can be prepared before or after the softwood cutting is taken. The soil should be a good garden soil that drains well but will allow excess moisture to drain, the pots that are chosen can be 12 inches or 1-gallon size with drain holes. Dip the bottom of the softwood that was cut in water to moisten it then dip that same end in root tone hormone if the root tone hormone is liquid or gel then no water is needed.

Once the pot/pots of soils are prepared install your cuttings, but before installing your cuttings moisten the soil thoroughly then proceed to install your cuttings. Cover the cuttings with clear plastic bags, put a stick in the middle of each pot to support the cuttings. Ensure that the soil is somewhat moist at all times which will encourage softwood cutting root growth, the cuttings should be kept in an area that gets bright indirect sunlight.

In about a month or two, your softwood should take root, signs that your softwood cuttings have taken roots are new top growth, pulling gently on cuttings that have resistance is also a sign that softwood cuttings have taken roots. When softwood cuttings have reached 1 to 2 feet they can be installed into their permanent location.

Propagating Hibiscus from Hardwood Cuttings

Propagating Hibiscus From Cuttings-hibiscus-flowers
Hibiscus flowers

The ideal time of the year to take hardwood cuttings from hibiscus is the last month of winter or early spring, the wood that’s chosen from the hibiscus for this method should be straight and strong. An example of hardwood is mature dormant stems that do not bend easily. With a sharp and clean hand pruner make the cut. The cut should be made just below a single bud or pair of buds, the thickness should be the size of a pencil or a little larger, the cuttings can be 6 t0 8 inches long.

The potting medium should be a 50/50 perlite, vermiculite, sand, or a combination of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, or sand. This potting medium can be placed in 6 inch-1 gallon containers with drain holes, next wet the end of your hardwood cutting that is to plant in soil, and then dip that same end in root tone.

Now gently press the cuttings into the soil, ensure that the cuttings stay erected as they are inserted in the soil, next firm the soil around your hardwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings should be placed in an area that gets bright indirect sunlight, placing your hardwood cuttings in the direct sunlight will do more harm than good.

Hardwood cuttings will take about 3 months to produce a root system sometime this can even go as far as 6 months, signs that your cuttings have produced new roots are a slight resistance on the stem when gently giving it a tug along with the appearance of new growth. Remember to keep the soil moist. Allow the hardwood cuttings to remain for another month then transplant into the permanent location.

Propagating Hibiscus from Seeds

While hibiscus can be propagated from seeds the seeds of the hardy hibiscus species should be sand with fine grain sandpaper or nick, nicking hibiscus seeds is simply holding the seed with your finger and with a razor blade, sharp knife, or small nail clipper cut or make an incision in the outer shell. This technique will encourage or help get moisture into the seeds which will improve germination.

Once the seeds have been nicked, soak overnight in water, while the seeds are soaking prepare the soil, the soil should be well-drained soil that will hold the right amount of water but will allow excess moisture to drain. Once the seeds have been soaked overnight they can be planted directly into their permanent location or in containers.

If planting in containers, containers can be 6 inches or 1-gallon size with drain holes for water drainage, with a pen or other firm object poke holes in the soil. The seeds should be planted 1/2 inch deep into the soil, once the hibiscus seeds are in the hole backfill with more soil. The soil should be kept moist at all times to encourage germination.

Hibiscus Seeds Germination

The seeds should germinate in about 1 or 2 weeks and in some cases 4 weeks.

The final word on propagating hibiscus from cuttings

Hibiscus plants are tropical beauties that will work wonders in your garden and landscape, these flowering evergreens will paint your garden with a rainbow of colors.  Propagating hibiscus using one or more of these methods will not only give you a saving but will also populate your landscape giving you a taste and feel of the tropic. Go for it you will be so happy that you did as your hibiscus goes to work for you with a beautiful array of flower bloom.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

4 thoughts on “Propagating Hibiscus From Cuttings”

  1. Hi Norman,

    Thank you for an informative article – I will try to plant hibiscus in my garden and experience the rainbow of colors. The question I have is as follows: can you plant in any season? – I know many plants or flowers are seasonal too. Please advise on that.

    • Hello Aubin, hibiscus is amazing and will go to work for you with their beautiful flower blooms. Spring is a great time to plant these garden beauties. All the best to you and remember Happy Gardening!

  2. I have some Hibiscus plants in my garden here in Tenerife it is a very hardy plant and flowers lots of times here in the sunshine. A few people have asked to take a cutting of it, not being a gardener I didn’t really know how to do it. Your information will stand me in good stead the next time I am asked for a cutting.

    The flowers are so beautiful I can understand why people want their own plants we have the yellow flower with the pink centre and also the red flowers.

    I have bookmarked this for future reference.

    • Hello Lisa, it is so good to hear you are growing these garden beauties, these tropical plants can bring that much-needed flavor into a garden or landscape setting. I am so happy to help and all the best to you.


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