Hibiscus is a tropical shrub, but even if you live in a cool or cold climate you can grow hibiscus. You just need to bring it inside over the winter. Hibiscus is easily propagated from cuttings. Planting from seed does work, but it takes a long time for the plant to get established. There are two methods for propagation from cuttings. Propagation from tip cuttings uses soft green shoots and is best done in the warm summer months. Hardwood propagation uses stiff mature stems and can be done any time of year as long as you have a hothouse or live in a warm tropical or semitropical climate. However, the best time to propagate hibiscus using the hardwood method is in the early spring.
Prepare a planting pot with a mixture of coarse sand and peat moss. Mix 3 parts sand to 1 part peat moss. Water the planting pot with the sand and peat moss mixture thoroughly.
Select a green shoot from the hibiscus plant you wish to propagate. Cut off the shoot just below a leaf node (the place where a leaf attaches to the stem). The cutting should be 6 inches long.
Remove the lower leaves from the cutting but leave the upper leaves.
Roll the bottom of the cutting in rooting powder. Rooting powder is a growth stimulator that can be purchased at your local home and garden store.
Make a hole in the sand and peat moss mixture using your finger or a pencil. Gently press the bottom of the cutting into the soil. The cutting should be planted about 2 inches deep.
Place the new cuttings in a warm damp environment such as a greenhouse or glass-covered garden box.
Keep the newly planted cuttings damp by sprinkling lightly with water several times a day.
Your cuttings should be ready to plant in the ground the following spring.
In early spring select hardwood stalks that are about the thickness of a pencil. Select straight wood and make the cut about 6 to 8 inches below the end of the selected stalk.
Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, make the cut at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node.
Remove all the leaves from the hardwood stalk using a sharp knife or by bending them gently backwards until they snap off.
Prepare planting pots with a mixture of peat moss and coarse sand, about 3 to 1 ratio--the same as you would use for leaf tip cutting.
Roll the ends of your cuttings in rooting powder and plant in premade holes in your planting pots.
Place in a hothouse or a glass-covered planting box to protect the newly planted stalks from cold wind and from drying out.
As summer heats up your hibiscus should be ready to plant in the ground. Hardwood cuttings take root in 6 to 8 weeks.
About this Author
Pricilla Bell has been a freelance copywriter and journalist for five years. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine with noted herbalist Susan Parker. Pricilla Bell is currently pursuing a degree from Boston University. Bell has been working with Demand Studio since March 2009 writing articles about herbal and alternative medicine.