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Deciduous shrub, native to Asia, widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, in gardens and as street furniture. It has an erect habit, well branched, and reaches 2-3 meters in height; the bark is gray, smooth, tends to become wrinkled and deeply marked over the years. The foliage is oval in shape, has three lobes of various shapes, more or less evident depending on the specimen; medium green in color, the leaves are serrated. From late spring to the autumn cold it produces, at the apex of the stems, large solitary, bell-shaped flowers of various colors, in shades of pink, white and purple, with a contrasting throat; there are numerous cultivars of hibiscus, with flowers of more varied colors, and also with double flowers or stradoppio. These plants have a quite vigorous development, therefore it is advisable to prune them after flowering, before the arrival of winter, and to intervene also at the end of winter, raising the ruined or excessively and disordered branches; pruning at the end of winter also has the advantage of favoring the development of new branches, which will bring flowers. The flowers are followed by the fruits, large, half-woody, oval-shaped capsules, which contain the seeds.
Hibiscus is a plant that loves light and heat very much, it prefers very bright locations, exposed directly to sunlight and loves very hot and long summers. It can survive even in adverse conditions, even if excessive shade causes scarce blooms, as well as a very cool summer. Some species of hibiscus do not fear the cold and can easily withstand intense frosts, even of long duration, although it can happen that some of the branches are removed due to the cold.watering
Water the young plants recently planted, so as to favor the development of the root system; these plants are rustic and easy to cultivate: they can withstand long periods of drought, and even short periods with stagnant water on the roots. For good flowering we water when the soil remains dry for too long, providing fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15-20 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
Leaves and flowers
The plant has large green and oval leaves with toothed margins. The flowers, very large and showy, have a funnel shape from which the pistils and stamens, or the male organs, protrude. These inflorescences have a color ranging from red, yellow, pink and orange. The petals of the hibiscus flower can be single or double, depending on the variety. Flowering occurs during the summer season.
Land and repotting
They are content with any terrain, even poor and rocky; they prefer fresh soils, averagely rich in humus, with good drainage. The hibiscus can be grown in a pot, placing it in a large container; it should be repotted every 2-4 years. Hibiscus likes humus-rich, moist, permeable and well-drained soils. The plant can easily be grown in large pots. The replacement of the container, or repotting, must take place every one or two years in the spring. The vase must be slightly larger than the previous one. It is advisable not to exceed thirty centimeters in diameter. The potting soil should be the same as that used for the first planting.
It generally occurs by seed, in spring, the hibiscus tends to self-seed easily; in spring they are also practiced cuttings, taking them from the branches that have not brought flowers; the cutting is necessary if a cultivar with a particular flowering is to be propagated, since from seed it is difficult to obtain plants identical to the mother plant. The hibiscus propagates by sowing and cutting. The plant is even capable of self-inseminating. However, the burying of the seeds does not guarantee a fast development of the plant, which is why it is better to resort to propagation by cuttings. This, of a semi-woody nature, must be buried in spring in a mixture of sand and peat.
Pests and diseases
The new shoots are very often attacked by aphids, which also lead to the development of fumaggini; during the summer the mites can be conspicuously ruined by the mites, which rest on the underside of the leaves.
Temperature and exposure
The plant likes bright exposures but not in direct sunlight. It must also be placed away from drafts. It is not said that the plant does not resist also to frost and cold, but in this case we are witnessing the desiccation of the branches. The Hibuscus is in fact sensitive to low temperatures, which is why in winter it must be cultivated at home. With the warm and mild temperatures, however, the plant produces beautiful blooms. A cool summer or a cold winter does not cause the death of the hibiscus, but only the interruption of flowering. During the summer you must also remember to protect it from the sun's rays during the hottest hours.
Irrigation and fertilizer
Young plants should be watered abundantly to encourage root development. The hibiscus also bears short periods of drought and as many short periods of water stagnation. Irrigations must be frequent in summer, taking care to irrigate the plant only when the soil appears dry. At the bottom of the pot it is better to put a layer of gravel to help drainage. Leaf sprays are also useful with the heat. The ideal fertilizer for hibiscus can be organic and based on leaves and manure to be planted at the foot of the plant, or chemical and specific for flowering plants. To ensure good flowering, the fertilizer for flowering plants should be distributed every fifteen or twenty days together with the irrigation water. The fertilizer distribution for flowering plants should be done once a month. In autumn, fertilizers based on phosphorus and potassium and with little nitrogen should be preferred, to reinforce the stems and roots of the plant.
Pruning and diseases
The hibiscus does not need excessive pruning. Just remove only the withered flowers and the dry or damaged parts. The leaves, on the other hand, should simply be cleaned using a damp cloth. In spring, a slight pruning may be useful to strengthen the branches. Hibiscus is a disease-resistant species. The adversities that can hit it are the water stagnations, the fall of the flowers, which last no more than two days, the aphids, which attack the shoots and also cause the fumaggine, and the mites that infest the upper page of the leaves.
Hibiscus cultivation - Hibiscus: Properties and symbols
The ancients attributed medicinal properties to the roots of hibiscus. It was advisable to cook them in wine and to take them to fight diseases of the respiratory system. It seems that the roots, for the ancients, also had the property of curing sciatica and also other ailments. Because of the beauty of the flowers and their short duration, the hibiscus is considered the symbol of fleeting beauty. In the language of flowers, giving those of hibiscus means appreciating and emphasizing the beauty of the beloved woman.