Friday, 6 February 2015

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Alyogyne huegelii - Native Hibiscus

Flower of the Month - February 2015


Alyogyne huegelii

Position: full sun to part shade
Size: height to 2.5m
Flowers: Showy lilac coloured hibiscus flowers.
Flower time: Long period during Summer and Autumn.
Conditions: A hardy, easy to grow plant which copes with most soils and conditions. Drought tolerant once established.
Type: Evergreen


Rosa-sinensis

Position: full sun
Size: from 1.5m to 3m
Flowers: single, semi-double & double in red, pink, orange, yellow and white.
Flower time: flowering period during Summer & Autumn.
Conditions: well drained and slightly alkaline.
Hardy plant that is a heavy feeder - frequent light applications.
Type: Evergreen

There are not many other plants that scream 'TROPICAL' quite like the Hibiscus. They evoke images of Hawaiian resorts with palm-lined beaches, colourful flowered landscapes and fancy drinks with umbrella and loaded with fruit.

Flowers range in size from 3cm to 15-16cm from muted pastels and greys to really intense vibrant colours on lush green or variegated foliage. There are 43 reported species with over 10,000 cultivars - it would indeed take some dedication to be a collector of Hibiscus!

If you want a stunning show of flowers it is best to place the Hibiscus in full sun and it is worth noting that the flowers form on 'new' growth so the best way to promote this is by pruning. We have found with ours that a prune in August (taking off no more than one third of the growth) and then a follow up in February with a light prune seems to keep them in pretty good shape.

One of the main reasons for Hibiscus poor performance is inconsistent moisture levels. This can be helped by the application of mulch. To check that there is adequate moisture, pull back the mulch and check with your hand regularly. They do not however, enjoy being waterlogged (a bit difficult here on the Coffs Coast sometimes) so best to prepare your bed well before planting by adding lots of organic material. The best fertilisers are ones with an NPK of 12:5:15 with trace elements, applying a little, often.

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