Planting small hibiscus in ground?

tracydr(9b)April 14, 2012

I just purchased 7 hibiscus from an out of st,ate nursery and received them by UPS yesterday. They are potted in 4" pots and look fantastic. Instructions that came with them say to repot in two weeks to 10" pots and not to plant in-ground for the first year.

I'm concerned about keeping them potted in my environment. I live in AZ and keeping potted plants is not my forte. I've done quite well with my single, big-box hibiscus that I planted in the ground 4 years ago. I'm very concerned that I would lose these little guys by lack of knowledge but mainly through the roots getting cooked in the summer.

They are much too tall to go on my seed shelf under lights indoors.

Do you think it's really that much better to keep them in a pot for a full year? Could I go to the larger pot for a month, then into the ground before our oven blast heat hits?

I'm planning to plant them around the pool, in partial shade. I will be able to protect them from cold and freeze.


Oh, I got three El Capitalos, one Hibiscus Schizopetalus and 3 large flowered hybrids. (Saffron, Party Girl and Aztec Giant)

Depending on how these do, I'd like to get about 7-8 more.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Why not do both = pot up into a 10" container & sink the container in the ground to prevent roots from over-heating. That sort of fool-proofs things because your biggest concern related to a lack of knowledge would usually be over-watering. Since the earth will act as a wick, you can use a soil more water-retentive than would be appropriate (for best growth/vitality) in containers. Fertilize every 2 weeks with Miracle-Gro 24-8-16 or 12-4-8 and you're in business.

If you're interested in some information that if understood should put you well over the hump in the container gardening learning curve, visit the link I provided below and be sure to ask any questions you have about growing in containers.


Here is a link that might be useful: More about understanding container culture

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, Tapla! I might just do that. I've already potted them into 10" pots, using Miracle Gro potting soil. Is this ok or should I change this to a better mix/choice?
I could also use a palm/cactus mix but I was concerned that it wouldn't hold enough water. Or, I could add some perlite. I'd like to at least get them into larger pots within a month or two, before the furnace weather really hits.
I've been giving them weekly kelp, would like to add some fish emulsion if that would be safe? Salt accumulation is a huge problem here as our tap water and irrigation water is incredibly high in salts and calcium. (ppm 25 or higher)
I'd like to drop the pots into the ground in a partially shaded area, where I plan to plant them. This will keep the roots cooler. We flood irrigate, so they will get deeply soaked once very two weeks. My two hibiscus already in the ground ( one planted a month ago, one is 4 years old) , both seem pretty happy with the flood water.
I do fertilize with some ironite every few months, when
leaves seem yellow, usually when very hot or cold, and use some gypsum and sulphur a few times a year ( mainly for salt removal, loosening up clay and pH treatment).
Keeping them in pots makes also sense because I can dig the pits up and bring them inside or up under the porch eaves, close to the house fr the winter. I'm sure they're much more susceptible to freezing their first winter than they will be when they get larger. Their new potential home is unfortunately, my most exposed area of the yard, so they will require frost protection once planted.
The hard part is just making it through summer and learning about keeping potted plants alive, since I have no experience with potted plants.
Do you think the fabric or "root type" pots used by some nurseries to allow air pruning and prevent circling would be a good idea for pots that will be buried?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you were employing conventional container culture, I'd suggest you use a soil that doesn't support so much perched water (water in that soggy layer of soil at the pot's bottom), but since you're going to bury the pot, that shouldn't be an issue.

You're going to need to water MUCH more frequently than every 2 weeks - more like every day or every other day.

I'd like to comment more on the FE, Ironite, ....., but it looks like you're mixing plants in the ground with containerized plants & I can't quite sort out what your intent or past practice is.

Keeping potted plants alive & well is really quite easy if you have the right soil & water/fertilize appropriately. The link will help in that regard. I can't see any real advantage in using the root-pruning bags if you're going to bury them. Dessication is the mechanism by which the roots are 'pruned', and you nullify that when you bury the bag.

Trying to suggest how to fertilize when the plants are in the ground is pretty much a crap-shoot w/o some knowledge of your soil conditions - like a soil test. For plants in containers, a 3:1:2 ratio fertilizer (24-8-16, 12-4-8, especially Foliage-Pro 9-3-6) with a little added K in the form of potash is an excellent choice. I'd take it over FE and other fertilizer regimens any day.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm sorry. I think there is confusion on the pot culture and in-ground treatment.
If I were to plant these plants in-ground-my soil is quite alkaline, heavy clay. I amend with compost. I add ironite and sulphur plus gypsum a couple of times a year, depending on how the plants look. Usually I need to add some iron and sulphur during extreme cold and extreme heat. My pH is very, very high but better in soil I've been working with, worse in some areas near the sidewalks.
I flood irrigate every two weeks but supplement with the hose as needed. Plants in pots get watered as often as twice daily.
I have two tropical hibiscus planted in-ground. One has been in-ground for 4 years and is as tall as my head. The other I planted about two months ago. Both are doing very well, no problems at all. Both are common varieties from Home Depot. One red and one pink. I don't know the names. Blooms are about 3-4" across, lots of blooms, nice green leaves and no pests.
I get the occassional white flies, aphids and spider mites but this is usually more of a problem on other plants, not so much on the hibiscus. Hibiscus seem pretty happy in AZ with some afternoon shade, plenty of water and a bit of iron when a few yellow leaves occur. I've never had to use any insecticides, not even organic. I did have an extremely hard freeze two years ago take out a lot of branches but I was able to protect most of the plant.
Anyway, my biggest concern is getting by new baby hibiscus thru their first year since I'm nt really used to growing much in pots.
Thanks, guys!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, meant to add, with the potted plants, I do have very high calcium and salt in my water. I'm a little concerned about salt build-up and pH creeping up with fertilizer. Is there anything I can do to avoid this? There are too many plants and it's too hot to haul filtered water from the house.
Maybe add a bit of vinegar, let water sit or use organic fertilizer?
I potted the hibiscus into 1 and 2 gallon pots, black plastic pots that I had purchased roses in. I used just miracle Gro potting mix. I did this last week but I just needed to get them out of their 4" containers as they were drying out and getting too hot. It's been 99-100 degrees this week. I'm potting up some peppers that I don't have garden space for this weekend so I'm going to mix up some of the 3-1-1 mix or as close as I can get. I'll repot them to this mix.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If the plants are growing conventionally (in containers) a soil that allows you to flush the soil thoroughly each time you water, without the worry of it remaining soggy so long that root rot becomes an issue, would go a long way toward keeping EC/TDS (solubles/salts in the soil [solution]) at minimal levels.

If you're going to use vinegar/citric acid/sulfuric acid to acidify your irrigation water, get a pH test kit and use it to determine how much acid it takes to bring the pH of your water down to 5.0. Add that amount of acid to your water every time you water for best results, or at least every time you fertilize. Remember, hibs appreciate smaller amounts of P than most plants, so a 3:1:3 ratio fertilizer is a very good choice. Since they're not the easiest to find, you might use a 3:1:2 ratio (like 24-8-16, 12-4-8, 9-3-6) or a 3:1:1 ratio (30-10-10), either of them supplemented with potash to bring the K content up a little. Also, these fertilizers (except the 9-3-6) allow you to take advantage of the long-term effect of urea's tendency to lower soil pH. This increased acidification results from soil microbes oxidizing the ammonium nitrogen produced from the breakdown of urea to nitrate nitrogen, which can be a significant plus for you because of your water.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Al! Had my first El Capitano bloom yesterday! Very pretty!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 5:34PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What variety (or color) shall I be?
Well, my mystery hibiscus from Logee's that was of...
Hibiscus Sabdariffa seeds
aka: Roselle or Tea Hibiscus I recently tried tea that...
new website format not fun
I really don't like the new format...
Help with Hibiscus
Hi! I recently bought a bunch of hibiscus on clearance...
Help with Hibiscus
I would love to find some real y drop dead gorgeous...
Chickey Wingz
Sponsored Products
Double Boxwood Topiary Christmas Decor
$399.00 | FRONTGATE
Tall Banana Tree
Christopher Knight Home Moroccan 20-inch Grey with Green Moss Urn Planter
Cactus Vases
$69.99 | Dot & Bo
Ladder Bookcase
| Dot & Bo
Frog Plant Hanger - DARK GREEN
$100.00 | Horchow
Paradise Palm 7-foot Silk Tree
Vintage Pot & Saucer Set
$34.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™