Planting Hibiscus

The Right Place
While they are very comfortable as far south as southern Florida, rose mallow plants cannot handle cold winters very well. They do best only as far north as the Ohio River Valley, into southern Pennsylvania and along the Atlantic coast into Massachusetts (zone 5). Well-established plants can withstand winter temperatures in these regions that may dip to –5 F. New, young ones may be vulnerable to below zero weather.

Planting Nursery Stock
Rose mallow plants love the sun. Basically wetland plants, they also love moist, well-drained soil, surviving nicely even in the brackish, boggy soil of the salt marshes along the eastern seaboard. In yards and gardens they appreciate soil that has some humus (peat moss, compost, leaf mold) in it. It should be slightly acidic (pH 5.0 to 6.0).
Plant nursery stock in the spring when it becomes available and all danger of frost is gone. Dig a hole slightly larger than the pot the plant is in and about as deep. Remove the plant from the container and gently loosen any matted, tangled roots. Spread them as much as possible when setting the plant in the hole. Be sure the plant settles at the same depth that it grew previously in its pot. Fill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots. Water generously immediately, and again every other day for the first few weeks if rainfall is scarce. Spread a layer of mulch over the soil to help keep it moist. If starting from seed, sow the seed indoors in January or February according to instructions on the seed packet.

Amendments In Planting or Transplanting
There are a number of products at the garden center that will help your newly planted or transplanted plants deal better with the stress inherent in the planting process. All healthy plants have beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, living on their roots. You can buy these valuable additions to your plant’s ecosystem. See the file describing Using Micorrhizae When Planting.

In addition, there are a number of products such as seaweed, compost tea, and beneficial soil microbes that when added to the planting process will help your newly established plants get going faster. See the file New Technology In Plant Growth Activators

For more information see the file on Planting Shrubs. For planting tools see Hand Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.

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