When can I transplant a Hibiscus?

carla17(Z7 NC)August 5, 2005

I need to move one and when is the best time?

Thanks,

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Xeramatheum

Carla, You should probably move it now so it can establish a good root system before the first frost.

The method I use is a bit strange but it works. I first cut back the plant to 1/3 its size, then dig it up and hose off all of the soil to expose the roots and trim them to a uniform ball. I then soak the roots in a bucket of 1/2 strength fertilizer while I'm preparing its future home. I dig a hole twice the size of the root ball then fill it up with water and add pro mix (mostly peat and vermiculite) until I get a slurry a little thicker than pudding. I then plop the plant in the hole (by making a slurry you guarantee there will be no air pockets) and add more pro mix around it until it firms up. This method works very well on roses.

X

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 11:31AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

X, although I appreciate your input, will transplanting now not cause stress? It is finishing up blooming now. If you think now is good, I will do that. Oh, the hole digging in this heat. It is so too hot for me right now. Do you grow roses?

Carla

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 11:44AM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

If I need to move a hibiscus, I usually dig it up and then pot it for a couple-three weeks to let it grow back any roots that it lost when I dug it up. Then it can be planted any time. I agree with X's advice about letting the hibiscus get its roots established before winter. Keep in mind that although heat is stressful, hibiscus really love heat as long as they have the roots to support the amount of foliage that they have.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:20PM
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Xeramatheum

Hi Carla,

Yes I do grow roses. I use the above method on all my roses when planting from container to ground or moving them. This method does wonders for roses that are old and tired. Kinda like a day at the plant spa.

You are right about the heat stress, that is why I cut them back to 1/3 of their size, essentially enough greenery to produce food, but not enough to require lots of water. How big is the plant and is it used to full sun? That is main thing to consider. If it is not used to full sun, then by all means wait. But I would certainly transplant no later than 8 weeks before your first frost so it can establish some new roots.

The slurry method works because they have had a nice long drink of water with food in it and where they are going is super moist. A mud bath if you will. I think the reason some plants go downhill after being transplanted is because the new environ is totally different, light, dark and temp wise or that they are either getting to too much water, not enough, or there are air pockets. Pro mix is very root friendly. When I transplant in hot weather I usually do it in the evening. They usually look confused for the first 2 days but then settle in by the 3rd. The main thing is keep the soil moist but not soaking wet.

I'd like to hear other gardens methods of transplanting established plants.

X

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:21PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

I have some seaweed/fish emulsion, I could use that to soak. Thanks for the advice.

Carla

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:33PM
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Xeramatheum

Carla, if I remember correctly fish emulsion is very high in nitrogen .. i would suggest diluting it to 1/4 strength for the soak. Too much nitrogen can burn can burn the roots.

X

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 1:48PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

i'm hesitant to admit this in public, particularly in this forum of great gardeners, but ... i transplanted a 6'high, 8 year old dinner plate hibiscus in mid-afternoon when temps were 100+ degrees. the roots of this plant are very shallow - in fact, most of the dirt fell off as i lifted it out. i had the new spot ready for it, and i quickly plopped it down, watered it in, backfilled, and escaped back into the air conditioning. it looked a tad "confused" the rest of the day, but by the next morning it looked like it had never been so rudely tampered with. that was about ten days ago, and it has since loaded up with buds for its late-summer blooms.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 3:23PM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

I have brutally transplanted in midsummer H. coccineus that were also over 6' tall -- but they went into a ditch, underwater, with a rock to weigh down the rootball. They also had some afternoon shade. They looked like he!! for about a week, but recovered and are doing very well today.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 5:27PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

I was waiting for OTHER responses before I even DARED chime in, as I'm not sure I qualify as even a hibiscus "journeyman" at this point, but from what experience I've had with the few species I'm growing, so long as they're hardy and like lots of water, as long as you get plenty of root and give them plenty of water when you transplant them, it's kind of hard to kill them...

I started the "bed" that has the swamp hibiscus I posted pictures of elsewhere a couple summers ago primarily BECAUSE I had these two HUGE plants in the family (I have NO IDEA exactly WHAT their genus/species is, but they're "in the family"), that I had pulled out of Lake Greenwood the summer of 2001 because they were blooming and looked pretty and were growing right up alongside the water's edge in an area where it appeared "nobody" owned the land -- certainly SOMEBODY did, but it wasn't a cultivated area, or even in any kind of subdivision, so I figured they were growing wild...

I put them in the largest aquatic pots I could find and put them in my little preform pond (which was all I had, then) that first summer, and promptly had to put rocks on top of the pots after they got bigger to keep the tall plants from tipping over in the slightest breeze... The following winter and spring I built my stream and lower pond and put the pots, which had sat out, on bare ground, UNTENDED, with what looked like DEAD PLANTS in them all winter, through snow, ice, whatever, in the pond, after they put out new growth (and I cut off the old growth)... By midsummer, they had sent roots out to cover much of the surface of the pond, in addition to what was in the pot, and then got tall enough they started falling over with any breeze, and I kept having to figure ways to keep them upright... I pulled them out of the pond the fall of 2002 and left them out all winter again, and sure enough, Spring of 2003, they put out new growth AGAIN, so I put them in the pond again... and sure enough, about July they started tipping over again... I'd had ENOUGH... so I built a bed for them, and included cannas and some other hibiscus in it (including the swamp hibiscus whose blooms I've posted elsewhere)...

When I pulled them out of the pond, they had these LONG, TRAILING roots streaming through the holes in the 12" aquatic pots they were in. I simply cut them back to a manageable size and planted them in the middle of that bed, and planted things around them... Right now, they're blooming and more than 8 feet tall, and still in those pots, lol... surrounded by two different types of cannas, swamp sunflower, swamp hibiscus, another hibiscus I don't have a name for Siberian iris and other plants I don't know the name for, too, plus some Jacob Kline Monarda...

This was SUPPOSED to be a "bog," but I think I punched too many holes in the "liner" to make it a real "bog." It has drainage rock on the bottom, covered with plastic sheeting that was in my streambed before I replaced it with EPDM liner, with probably too many holes punched in that, and that is covered with a foot or more of soil, which I water and fertilize regularly... I'm guessing the more aggressive plants have found a way past the drainage rock by now, lol.

So anyway, the answer is... if it's a really hardy hibiscus and you do it right, you can transplant it NOW... otherwise, wait a month or so, lol.

Happy Gardening!
Jeff

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:30AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Jeff, do I detect a hint that women rule here? I must laugh at that.

Carla

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:16AM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

I think the main issue with hibiscus getting its roots established isn't so much a matter of cold hardiness, as storing enough food in its root system so that it will form growth buds for next year. Like baptisia, H. coccineus and hybrids have large fleshy roots. As anedotal evidence for this, I planted a bunch of small seedlings relatively late last year and none made it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 2:52PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

I believe you're correct, Carla.

Doesn't bother ME one iota! I LIKE being surrounded by a bunch of smart women who enjoy the same things as do I... The only bad part is that most of them are MARRIED :(

Oh well, I guess ya can't have it all, huh?
Jeff

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 3:11PM
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cinamn808

I know that this may be a ridiculous question, but I am new to gardening (but loving it). I recently put a hibiscus in the ground and it seems to be doing really well, despite the drought we've had in N.Georgia. From everything I have read, it doesn't seem likely that it will live through a winter here. Could I transplant it back into a pot before winter or will that kill it as well? Any advice?

Thanks!
Jess

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 5:14PM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

Is it a Chinese hibiscus? Except for Chinese hibiscus, hibiscus are hardy in zone 7. You can dig it up and repot it before winter.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 5:26PM
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zigzag

cinnamn - there's no such thing as a ridiculous question! Unless yours is a Chinese, as mentioned above, in my experience hibiscus are un-killable! I didn't like where mine was located originally - I was truly ruthless w/it (edward scissorhands style). Then I moved it out front where it has prospered.

I cut it down to w/in 6" of ground every winter (not easy, those 'stems' become tree trunks) and every spring it sprouts newbie trunks and blooms its head off! I have learned to provide supports for the new growth, otherwise it goes all willy-nilly. It's looking great this year and loaded w/buds, but the JB's are just beginning here - lining up my war tactics !

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 4:13PM
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diana3(SC)

Help! We had an unusual amount of rainfall and some of my plant stalks and stems are mushy and droopy. What can I do to save them?

Thanks

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:22PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I had them on the west side of the house near a heat sink(brick fireplace chimney) in Southern CT. It died back to the ground in winter and recovered every spring for 18 years. It was a slightly elevated spot never getting too much water.
I don't know what diana3 can do to save her hibiscus except to wait and hope it sends out new growth to replace the mushy droopy stalks.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 3:22PM
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