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Hidden Valley Hibiscus

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Information about Our Plants

Which Pot Size Should I Order?

HVH offers our special varieties of exotic hibiscus in 3 pot sizes 4", 6", and 8".

Plants in 4" Pots

HVH Pot and Plant Sizes
The 4" pots contain young plants that have developed a good root system and are actively growing from one main stem . They are 4-8 month old plants that are well established in the 4" pot but not yet blooming. They usually do best if transplanted to a larger pot after arrival. The 4" pots we use are deeper than most pots called 4", which provides for a stronger root system that gives the plants a head start when transplanting to larger pots. These are our youngest and smallest plants but in good conditions they will grow rapidly and bloom in 3-4 months. They are the most cost effective way to build a collection of hibiscus but require more attention and the patience to wait for flowers.

Plants in 6" Pots
The 6" pots contain plants that are approximately 1 year old. These plants have very well developed root systems and multiple stems. In most cases they ship with buds already showing and will bloom within 1 month or sooner. Sometimes they are blooming when you open the box although we cannot guarantee that. These plants cost more than the smaller pots but assure you a strong, well developed plant that will bloom the first summer you have it. Transplanting this size is up to you. If you need a smaller potted plant you may leave the hibiscus in its original pot or it can be moved to a larger pot or even planted into the ground in warm locations. This size pot is the most cost effective way to acquire a strong, blooming hibiscus.

Plants in 8" and 2-Gallon Pots
The 8" and 2-gallon pots contain our larger and hardier plants. They are usually 2-year-old plants with great root systems and sturdy, multi-stemmed tops. They can be used without transplanting on deck or in the garden and will provide the most flowers and biggest visual impact of all the sizes we offer. They almost always ship with buds and bloom within a month of arrival, often much earlier. This size also survives the winter months with the least risk since older hibiscus have thicker, woodier main stems that are able to withstand cooler temperatures (no tropical hibiscus can survive exposure to long freezing nights).

Where Can These Hibiscus Be Grown?

All hibiscus sold by HVH are tropical species and cannot tolerate long nights in freezing weather. Suitable areas for outdoor cultivation year round are south Florida, South Louisiana, South Texas, South Coastal California and Hawaii. For other areas the plants will need to be moved inside the house, garage, or greenhouse on any night that a freeze is expected. We find that our house with its large windows provides plenty of warmth and light for our potted hibiscus in the winter. Many hibiscus enthusiasts add a small greenhouse to their property which is also ideal for over wintering and extending the season. In a pinch, hibiscus in pots can be laid on their sides and covered with suitable material to get them through a quick cold snap. Some in colder climates find the flowers so enjoyable that they buy fresh new plants every spring and treat them as annuals.

Why Do Flower Colors Change?

Hibiscus flowers are very sensitive to influences of weather. How they are grown also makes a difference. Warmer weather brings out spots and other secondary colors on many of the varieties. For instance, red flowers with gold or white markings often appear as solid reds in early spring, but by mid-summer will become fascinating canvases of red, painted exuberantly with the other colors. By late fall, the markings will disappear again until temperatures warm up. The cool temperatures of fall also bring a deepening of the oranges and reds and purples. A flower that was light lavender with white spots in summer, may become a solid medium purple in cooler weather. Some flowers are impervious to changes in temperature and are easily recognized year round. Others change so dramatically they can hardly be identified in winter.

Some hibiscus fade dramatically. Others hold color all the way until they fold up and drop off the plant. Fading can provide pleasing effects with some varieties such as 5th Dimension which has a bright orange edge that changes during the day to yellow. Some flowers look their best with their bright opening colors but some look better once the contrast of fading colors has occurred. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but one thing is for sure these new hibiscus will always put on a fascinating and ever changing show! That is just part of their charm.

What About Bush Size and Shape?

We are often asked to comment on the size and shape of the bush of different varieties. This is one of the toughest questions for us to answer. Our reply has to be "it depends" because there are so many variables that affect bush size and shape. In general, the new exotic hibiscus are not as vigorous and wild growing as the older style of hibiscus. They generally have larger leaves but remain shorter and more compact than the traditional type. In addition, at HVH we select new varieties that have good, strong bushes to offer to the public. We have discarded many varieties with poor growth habit or weak bushes. Most of the varieties we offer will grow into medium sized, attractive plants that can be maintained in 10" (3 gallon) or larger pots or planted in mostly frost free landscapes. How big is medium sized? Well, that depends (read on).

Hibiscus can be pruned for size and shape. The more pruning that is done, the more branching the plant will do. This gives a fuller but shorter look. Since hibiscus bloom on the end of each stem the more branches there are the more flowers you will have.

Hibiscus are remarkably care free. However, they do thrive even better when given fertilizer that suits them and when they are watered regularly. This will result in a larger plant and a better blooming plant.

Weather, particularly temperature, is a big factor in determining how big hibiscus will grow. Warmer areas with a longer growing season and mild winters provide the best conditions for hibiscus to grow large. Greenhouses in cooler areas create similar conditions that promote larger plants. Hibiscus can be grown very well indoors. Plants will generally be smaller inside than out due mainly to lower light conditions.

Pot size matters, too. Hibiscus can grow in almost any size pot, but the roots cannot grow larger than the pot they are in and this usually limits growth. Bigger pots allow for bigger roots with more water and nutrient uptake and thus bigger plants overall.

How big will your hibiscus be? From 1 foot to 8 foot tall and almost as big around, depending on the environment it is in and how it is cared for!

That said we are still glad to help you plan a landscape with advice about slower and faster growing varieties and the likely final plant size. We just need to know the details about how and where they will be grown and then we can offer suggestions.

How Do I Care for These New Varieties?

Caring for these new varieties takes a little bit of skill but with the aid of this website you will do fine and your plants will be beautiful. Our special Hibiscus Care Section begins with a crash course in growing these beauties. Our Free Newsletter keeps you updated with seasonal care and information on new products that make a gardener's life easier. Use the quick link at the top left on any page of our website to subscribe to the Free Newsletter. Last but not least, our HVH "Growing Hibiscus at Home" CD is the ultimate helper in getting the most out of your plants. Welcome into the fold of fellow hibiscus growers!

The best of luck with your plants!

Charles Black
Hidden Valley Hibiscus