September 12, 2017

Auction Plants for September 2017 Meeting

Below are the five auction plants for our Sept 2017 meeting. Each plant is a very healthy and medium sized plant with multiple branches and are on their way to being fantastic bushes. In addition to the five auction plants below we will have five very large extra mature exotic hibiscus that we will give away or if more than one person is interested will auction off. Those are Midsummer Night, Deep Water, Slapstick, Sea of Tranquility and Maui Dancer. These five plants are so big that they might have trouble fitting in a car and should be planted either in ground or in very large pots. Whoever gets them will have plants with years of strong growth and are built like tanks.

Swan Lake

 

 

Water Therapy

 

 

 

Interstellar Flight

 

 

Sonic Boom

 

 

 

Amelia Earhart

 

The next five photos are for the super large hibiscus that we will either give away or auction off depending on demand….

 

Midsummer Night

 

 

 

Slapstick

 

 

Deep Waters

 

 

Sea of Tranquility

 

Maui Dancer

 

 

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May 3, 2016

New Hibiscus Species Discovered in the Solomon Islands

It is not everyday that a new species of flora is discovered.  Check out the link to read all about it.

Savurua Botanical Gardens Fiji –  https://www.facebook.com/BotanicalGardensFiji

Solomon Hibiscus

Many thanks to Damon Veach of the Red Stick Hibiscus Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society for sharing this with us.

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April 21, 2016

Our First Video in a Series of Hibiscus How-To Instructional Videos

Root Pruning Screenshot

Did you know that if you do not root prune your potted hibiscus they will eventually die? Yes – they become so root bound that they will be unable to pull up enough nutrients to survive. You can continue to pot up your hibiscus into larger containers but at some point they become so big and heavy it is a challenge to move them around as needed. Our advice is to keep them in the size pots you desire and prune the roots instead. You will see a big difference in your plants performance as well as much increased longevity.

Our esteemed member Brad Daniels, “The Hibiscus Whisperer,” takes you on an interesting and informative journey covering all the particulars you will need to do the job right the first time. Sit back, relax and take in a valuable instructional video that will help you obtain an important skill needed to grow hibiscus successfully.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9GCLZFinaE

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February 21, 2016

Hibiscus: The Story of Malaysia’s National Flower

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Original article published on: Expatco.com

Author: Ewe Park Leong

Belonging to the Malvaceae family, the hibiscus is characterized by a trumpet- shaped receptacle, five petals and a long pollen tube. The flower measures from 5 to 14 cm broad. How the hibiscus, dubbed the Queen of Tropical Flowers, was crowned Malaysia’s national flower is a story that is seldom told, so read on…

Why the Hibiscus?

After receiving independence in 1957, the nation needed a national flower to symbolize her identity. In 1958, the Ministry of Agriculture sought proposals for a national flower from all state governments. Seven flowers were proposed. They were the rose, ylang ylang, jasmine, lotus, hibiscus, frangipani and bunga tanjung.

The people in the east coast states of the country preferred the rose, while those in the west coast were partial towards the jasmine. In 1960, after careful consideration, the ministry selected the hibiscus rosa sinensis.

One reason it upstaged the other flowers was its eye-catching, bigger-sized red petals. Another reason given was that it blooms throughout the year and the plant requires little maintenance. Hibiscus is also commonly found in the rural areas where the plant functions as hedge fencing for houses.

Since then, the hibiscus has inspired the logos for several events, such as the Kuala Lumpur 98 XVI Commonwealth Games and Visit Malaysia Year 2007. It is also the logo for Tourism Malaysia.

logos

More than just pretty flower

Besides being an ornamental plant, the hibiscus is also utilized for medicinal purposes. Hibiscus tea is a popular health beverage in Jamaica and Mexico for reducing high blood pressure. Ayurveda physicians in India use the hibiscus to treat hair loss, while in the Philippines, hibiscus roots are used as an aperitif and tonic. Also, the Xhosa of South Africa dress septic wounds with hibiscus leaves. Hibiscus juice, commonly called roselle, is available in many supermarkets nationwide.

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In Kuala Lumpur, to make up for the lack of hibiscus in public parks, the City Hall has set up the Hibiscus Garden in Perdana Botany Park as a showcase for public enjoyment. The 0.9-hectare garden takes you through a kaleidoscope of colours with its thousands of species of flowers.

Expect to see red, beige, pink, white, yellow, orange and purple blooms as you stroll along footpaths of ruddy brickwork that wind around the slope of a hillock.  At the summit of the hillock, you can take a breather under a gazebo with spurting fountains, and nearby is a small café which doubles as an art gallery.

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American botanist Luther Burbank once wrote: Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul

The hibiscus is all that and much, much more.

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January 23, 2016

End of January and 1st Spring Growth Spurts are Starting!

It is rather amazing to see that in the 2nd half of January we are already starting to see the first new growth spurts for our hibiscus plants here in Southern California.  Even though some of the plants look like they are dead they are in hibernation waiting for the right conditions to trigger the production of new growth.  A combination of longer days, warmer nights and a plant’s uncanny ability to know what time of the year it is all come together to start growing again.

Mango Tango w/ 1st new growth

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Tahitian Sunset Splendor w/ new growth

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David Orr w/ new growth

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It is amazing how a plant can look like it is dead but is just in hibernation.  A good way to know is to do a scratch test.  Take your fingernail or the side of your pruning shears and gently scratch the surface of a branch or trunk.  Make just a tiny small scratch until you get past the outer layer of bark.  Underneath you should see a bright green layer which indicates a healthy plant that is just waiting for the right conditions to start growing again.

If you can place a plant that has gone dormant inside with a grow light and good heating you will be amazed how quickly it will wake up and start leafing away again.  For those of us who don’t have the space or resources it is a challenge to watch your plants slow down, lose their leaves and eventually shut down until the seasons start to change again.  Nature knows how to survive, we just need to know how to understand that and work with it.

One of the most common mistakes made during the colder months is to continue watering and feeding plants that are or in the process of shutting down.  My two plants above (Tahitian Sunset Splendor & Mango Tango) have not been watered or fed since late October.  I use a moisture meter all year round to check the soil in all my potted plants before watering or feeding.

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I have found the most dangerous time to get root rot started is during heat waves in summer.  This is surprising considering that root rot is always associated with cold weather and wet soil.  But my experience is that it is those heat waves where we think our plants are in need of extra water that we start that process going.  When you see the top of the soil in your pots looking bone dry it is an instinctful reaction that they must need water.  But if you take a moisture meter and slowly insert it into the soil you will see how many times the top layer of soil is dry and towards the bottom of your pot it is very wet still.  The last thing your plant needs at that point is to saturate that bottom layer of soil even more.  Unless your pots have exceptional drainage you will eliminate any existing air pockets in the soil down low and that is the perfect environment for root rot to start.  Once the weather cools off then the pathogens will multiply like crazy and you will have a disaster on your hands.

It goes against our nature to not water for weeks and months at a time but once your plant shuts down don’t give it anything.  The roots are not taking up any water so you are just making the soil a breeding ground for root rot pathogens.  The only water my potted plants got was from any rain events we had and that had me nervous as that could push the soil environment over the edge into root rot heaven.  If your pots are small enough and you have protected areas from rain I highly recommend moving them during any rain events if your plants are not growing any more or have shut down.

If you can plant your hibiscus in the ground then you are very fortunate and don’t have to worry much about this whole problem.  One word of advise for in ground exotic hibiscus is make sure when you plant them you make huge holes and fill them with soil that has excellent drainage.  Also do not put a layer of rocks or pumice on the bottom of your holes as that can actually create a seal that does not allow your hole to drain.  Then you can get root rot for in ground exotic hibiscus.  But if you do it right your plants can withstand an amazing amount of negative impacts from the environment.

Happy Hibiscusing!

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