Can hibiscus plants be started from seeds? This is the first year that I have had a hibiscus. It is beautiful and had over 100 beautiful blooms. I brought it in the house and set it under a sky light in the bathroom. It finally stopped blooming. There are seed pods that fall from the plant. Can I start some seedlings from that? If so how do I do that? Should I prune the plant now? Thank you.
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Carole from Port Huron, MI
Seeds can be planted in a commercial seed starting medium or a mix can be made out of some combination of sand, perlite, vermiculite and Canadian peat. The seeds are planted 1/4 to 1/2" deep in the mixture and should germinate in a week to a month on average. It is best to keep the temperature about 80 to 85° F (about 28° C) and the medium moist, but not soggy. A heat mat to provide bottom heat is helpful.
Until you have found out what works best for you, the seed starting kits that are available in gardening stores and catalogs that use small plastic cells may be the best way to start -- one seed per cell. Some have used Styrofoam coffee cups with drainage holes poked in the bottoms and 100% perlite to start their seedlings. Some plant several seeds in 4" pots. Putting the pots/cups, etc. in trays with clear domes and starting under lights can give them a head start.
It is absolutely essential that you do not use too much water. Seeds will rot and will not germinate if they stay in a wet/soggy medium.
After the seedlings have developed several sets of true leaves and the stems have begun to harden and become woody, they may be moved to a larger pot. A water soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer can be used per label directions at this point. Some growers will move these 3 or 4" tall seedlings to a gallon plastic pot containing potting soil, others will move their seedlings up in several stages to gallon pots and use soil-less mixtures.
Some growers plant their young seedlings in the ground in their own bed. (Always avoid disrupting the plant and its roots as much as possible in these moves.) These small seedlings should be gradually introduced to sun over several days. Remember they are tender, so avoid temperatures in the 40s. Good luck. (11/17/2009)
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