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Hibiscus Propagation: Propagating Hibiscus In Water and Soil

Hibiscus can be propagated by cuttings in water and soil, and also from seeds. However, the hibiscus grown from seeds may be different from the parent hibiscus plant and the flowers they grow may be worse or even better than the parent plant. But the hibiscus propagation from hibiscus stem cuttings will be clone to the parent hibiscus and produce flowers exactly similar to the parent tree. 

Therefore hibiscus cuttings are generally the preferred way of propagating hibiscus plants.

Hibiscus Propagation, Hibiscus growing in a Pot
Hibiscus Growing in a Pot

The above picture shows a hibiscus plant growing in a  pot. This hibiscus was grown from a stem cutting. 

Both tropical hibiscus and hardy hibiscus can be propagated by their stem cuttings in soil and water, but hardy hibiscus is easier to propagate than the tropical one. 

The tropical hardy hibiscus propagation rate is higher than tropical hibiscus propagation rate. The propagation process is the same for both tropical and hardy hibiscus varieties. You can follow the following steps to easily propagate any type of hibiscus successfully to produce an exact copy of the parent plant.

Propagating Hibiscus from Cuttings Without Rooting Hormone

It is easy to grow a new hibiscus from cuttings. You can grow hibiscus cuttings in soil and water quite easily. 

When to Propagate Hibiscus

When to take hibiscus cuttings. To propagate hibiscus from cuttings, start in spring or summer when hibiscus produces new growth. You can take hibiscus cuttings in the months of October to January in Australia. The hibiscus grows from softwood to semi-hard wood cuttings from new growth. Softwood hibiscus branches are greenish in colour, they have not yet matured.



Hibiscus Propagation in Soil

  1. Take softwood hibiscus cuttings in early morning. The cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm.) long and 3 to 5 mm thick. Thick cuttings take long to root.
  2. The bottom of the cuttings should have at least one leaf node (point where a leaf was growing or may grow)
  3. Remove the lower leaves and keep a few at the top.
  4. Remove the bark at the lower portion of the cutting lightly by scraping with a knife.
  5. Now take a small pot having many drainage holes at its bottom. 
  6. Hibiscus Cutting Rooting Medium: Fill this pot with free-draining potting soil. Make the rooting medium by mixing river sand or perlite and potting mix equally. Water well, ensure that the rooting soil is thoroughly wet at all places. Keep the pot side for some time to drain excess water.
  7. Rooting Hormone (Optional): The hibiscus cuttings will roots without rooting hormone. But you can apply rooting hormone (natural rooting hormone) at the bottom of the cutting to germinate root the cuttings quickly. You can use a chemical rooting hormone or just rub an aloe Vera gel on the cutting.
  8. Now make a hole in the soil by a stick.  Place the hibiscus cutting in the hole (do not push), about 1 inch above the bottom of the pot, and backfill soil around the hibiscus cutting. 
  9. You can plant more than one cutting in the same pot.
  10. Enclose the pot in a plastic bag. This acts as a mini green house, providing high humid environment to the cuttings.
  11. Place the hibiscus cutting bag in shade at a warm place.
  12. Open the bag every 10 days and give a few drops of water to soil. 
  13. How long will it take for hibiscus cuttings to root? The hibiscus cuttings will be rooted in 3 to 8 weeks. You may see roots coming out from the bottom holes. The success rate for tropical hibiscus will be lower than hardy hibiscus. But as you have planted many cuttings, at least one will root successfully.
  14. When the cuttings grow 2-3 sets of new leaves, open the bag and keep it in morning sunlight for next 10 days.
  15. Repot them in a bigger pots or in garden.

Hibiscus Propagated From a Cutting
Hibiscus Propagated From a Cutting

Propagating Hibiscus In Water

Grow Hibiscus Cuttings in Water

Hibiscus cutting is quite easy to grow in water.

Can hardy hibiscus be rooted in water?
Yes, it is easy as given below:
  1. Prepare the hibiscus cuttings as mentioned above.
  2. Take a glass bottle and fill it half with water. Add some rooting hormone in water (optional).
  3. Immerse the cuttings in water and place the bottle in shade and watch.
  4. Change water every third day.
  5. You will see new roots start coming out in less than a week.

Propagating Hibiscus from Seeds

The hibiscus seeds will not grow true to the parent plant and may look different from the parent.

  1. The first step of growing hibiscus is to sand or nick the seeds which will help to get moisture into the seeds. You can use a plain sandpaper to scrap the seeds. Rub the seeds in the sandpaper for some time.
  2. Soak the seeds overnight.
  3. As the seeds are very small, it is difficult to sow them in holes in soil. It is better to spread the seeds on the soil and cover them with soil such that the seeds are about two times their size deep in the soil.
  4. Spray water, keep moist but not soggy. Place in sun.
  5. The hibiscus seeds will germinate in one to two weeks and seedlings will appear.