Knowing how to start hibiscus seeds is not limited to getting and germinating them, but you must thoroughly tackle four steps. This article will help you ensure that you’ll end up with vigorous hibiscus plants that start from seeds. One shouldn’t be intimidated in growing any plant from seeds because it’s relatively simple.
Being a tropical plant, you have to remember that hibiscus seeds will only grow successfully if you mimic their natural environment. You can use a greenhouse for starting the seeds and provide the conditions that they prefer. This way, you will grow strong and healthy seedlings that will survive outdoor transplanting later.
Step #1. Seed preparation
After you collect hibiscus seeds from your flowers after they faded, you have the option to sow them in your garden immediately. However, this is only doable in areas where their fall season still provides a frost-free condition. If the risk of freezing climate is higher in your location, it’s best to start the seeds indoors.
Prepare the hibiscus seeds first by nicking them with sandpaper. This step is crucial, or moisture won’t enter the seeds, thus preventing germination. It should also shorten the waiting time for sprouting into only a month or less.
After you have nicked the seeds, don’t forget to soak them overnight in warm water. An hour should also suffice, but soaking them overnight before planting the following day is more advantageous. Seed scarification combined with soaking in water should jump-start the germination process and prepare them for sowing.
Step #2. Sowing
After you have prepared the seeds, you should be ready to sow them in a container. You can use any pot as long as it has a drainage hole, but you can also use seed trays to grow multiple hibiscus plants. A suitable medium is any seed-starting mix as long as it is free of any fertilizer.
Ensure that you have moistened the medium first to help the seeds sprout. However, the mix shouldn’t be soggy as this can cause rot. Once you’ve checked everything, sow the seeds at half an inch deep.
Step #3. Germination
Germinating hibiscus seeds shouldn’t intimidate you because you have already nicked and soaked them beforehand. More so, those who have placed the containers or trays in the greenhouse should have an easier time sprouting the seeds because the conditions are stable. Remember that fluctuating and extreme climates is problematic for seed germination.
Therefore, when starting hibiscus seeds indoors, select a warm location, and cover their containers to keep the environment humid for them. Your maintenance at this point is monitoring the medium and preventing it from drying. Once the seeds sprout, remove the cover and place them under grow lights to hasten their development.
Step #4. Thinning and transplanting
You should be ready to transplant your young hibiscus plants in their individual plants once they develop leaves and woody stems. However, be careful in handling the seedlings since their stems are still not strong and can bend easily. To further help with their establishment, start fertilizing with a diluted water-soluble fertilizer as well.
According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, you can expect the hibiscus plants to bloom immediately in their first year if you sow them indoors before the last frost in spring. However, remember to monitor your plants and move them to suitable-size containers as they grow and only plant outdoors when the climate is not at risk of frost.
It wouldn’t be a problem to keep the hibiscus plants in the greenhouse, especially when the outdoor conditions are still freezing or fluctuating. But if you choose to transplant, remember to acclimate your plants gradually to prevent transplant shock. Mature and well-established healthy hibiscus plants should survive the outdoor garden without setbacks.
How To Transplant Hibiscus
To help you ensure that you’ll grow healthy hibiscus plants, learn how to transplant them correctly. You must select an area that will mimic their natural tropical environment. The plants’ hole should anticipate the growth of the plant’s root, and the top part should be at the same level as the surface. Fill the hole after planting and soak the soil to help with establishment.
Caring For Hibiscus
Hibiscus plants will bloom well if they receive at least six hours of sunlight every day. You must also ensure that the temperature is always between 60 to 90°F since cold conditions are detrimental for hibiscus. However, be mindful of scorching conditions and provide shade if necessary.
Water and fertilizer
Besides sunlight, water also plays a significant role in the blooming of hibiscus. Ensure that they won’t dry up during the summer season and then lessen the amount once the climate begins to get cold. Remember that overwatering is also damaging to plants.
You can boost your blooms by feeding with high-potassium fertilizer in the summer as well. Some gardeners also feed once a month and then stop fertilizing in the winter as part of maintenance. A slow-release fertilizer would be best for this regimen.
Hibiscus plants offer many propagation techniques, but you can also consider starting them from seeds. Learning how to start hibiscus seeds is not even complicated, and it’s possible to grow vigorous plants for transplanting. The best way to do this is by sowing indoors and allowing the stable conditions and practices to encourage germination.
Once the seeds sprout, you can transplant them in individual pots and acclimate before permanently planting outdoors. The required conditions of hibiscus are no different from other tropical plants. Be mindful of watering and extreme climate, and your plants should thrive successfully.