The hardy hibiscus is at home in nearly any landscape or garden. These large, tough plants make good hedges, shrub borders or specimen plants. They produce some of the largest hibiscus flowers in many colors, including some eye-popping combinations. One hardy hibiscus, the giant rose mallow, is native to the southern Gulf states, and produces flowers up to 1-foot across. The hardy Disco Belle hybrids produce similar-sized blooms. In colder climates, hardy hibiscus may freeze to the ground in winter, only to return with a vigorous flush of new growth in spring. These lovely shrubs easily are propagated by cuttings.
Select a healthy branch from a mature hibiscus, which is 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch in diameter, with at least two sets of full-sized leaves.
Use the sharp knife to make a clean diagonal cut six to eight inches from the branch tip. Strip leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, leaving at least one set of mature, healthy leaves at the top.
Fill a clean, 6-inch pot with well-drained potting mix and gently firm the mix with your hands. Water the soil until water drains from the bottom and the potting mix has been thoroughly moistened.
Make a narrow, 3-inch-deep hole with your index finger in the center of the potting mix.
Dip the bottom two to three inches of the cutting in rooting hormone powder. Follow the instructions on the product label; avoid inhaling the powder or getting it on your skin. Place the cutting in the hole and gently firm the soil around the stem, using care not to touch the rooting powder with your hands.
Water once more, and allow drainage from the bottom. Carefully place a clear plastic bag over the cutting and the pot, leaving the bottom slightly open to allow air flow. Do not let the plastic bag touch the cutting.
Place the pot in a warm, sheltered location where it receives indirect sunlight. Do not place the pot in direct sun, or the cutting will be damaged. Open the bag up from the bottom for a few minutes once every two or three days to give the cutting air and check for signs of new growth. Do not water the pot again until new growth appears.
Remove the bag and place your cutting in partial sun when new leaves appear. Keep the soil evenly moist and feed your cuttings with balanced liquid plant food diluted to half strength when the cutting has one full-sized set of new leaves.