dividing a hardy hibicus

Old 04-13-01, 11:13 AM
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I have a hardy hibiscus bush that is getting too large. How and when can I divide it? Norther Illinois climate
Old 04-21-01, 08:32 PM
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Dividing hibiscus

Hibiscus are not divided, but are propagated by softwood cuttings in early summer. I have read they are easier to grow from seed than cuttings. Hard pruning is required to keep the proportions balanced between stem and head.
Old 06-17-02, 07:49 PM
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I read the same thing that "twelvepole" was telling you, but only after I dug up my hibiscus and divided it! Now, instead of two healthy plants, I have three.

I divided it in early spring, when my plant only had a few leaves on it. I simply dug up the plant and pulled a large limb off of the root ball that had it's own roots and replanted them both.

Haven't tried rooting from cuttings yet, but I will this year!

Good luck..
Old 06-17-02, 09:01 PM
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Hi Alimah,

Hardy (perennial) Hibiscus moscheutos (rose mallow) can be divided. Is that what you are referring to?

I think the best time would be early spring. They are later popping through the ground than most perennials. Once you see growth, dig deep and try and get all the roots. Break the new growth apart. You didn't say how many stalks/stems your hibiscus has, but a good division would be 4-5 stems. They will soon multiply.

They are VERY easily started from seed. I'm surprised you haven't had any new plants nearby. Mine self seed so much, I have to thin them out.

I have found if you fertilize them regularly they have bigger blooms and less problems with insects.


My first plant was $25. Quite expensive when they can be easily started from seed.

Tropical hibiscus are propogated by cuttings. Their stems are woody. Perennial hibiscus have cellulouse type stems/stalks.

Old 06-18-02, 03:57 PM
texas lady
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gami seen your response to the hiabiscus. i had one, one being the operative wor here. my husband and i babied that wonderful plant like crazy. i had it in a large pot. it bloomed for three years.it got so large couldn,t keep it inside any longer. early last spring transplanted it to the out side in one of my floer beds. done wonderful all summer, but you guessed it. it died over the winter. was on the south side of my house, inpartial sun to shade.i was able to get seeds, planted them this year but noyhing. so what happened? just curious so i want repeat the same mistake twice. thanks again Texas Lady
Old 06-18-02, 04:52 PM
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Hi Texas Lady,

Sorry to hear that. You no doubt had the tropical hibiscus. It's been my experience with tropical plants or house plants that they need to be brought inside once the night temps reach 50. They could probably stand a colder temp, but they don't seem to appreciate it.

I've only had one tropical. It got so large I planted it outside one summer and forgot to bring it in, so it bit the dust. I really wasn't that disappointed since I no longer had room for it.

There is a big difference in the stems of the perennial and hardy hibiscus. Tropicals have more of a woody stem. On most varieties, their flowers have a longer stamen than the other kind. It protrudes way out from the flower.

I'm not sure why your seeds didn't germinate. I've sent seeds of the perennial variety to others and some had good germination and others didn't. If you still have seeds, you might try planting them again. Start them in a seed starting mix and bury them about 1/4". With the hardy hibiscus, you can just throw the seeds around in the fall. They need a cold period to germinate.

Keep trying. Here's a link on the tropical hibiscus.


Old 06-19-02, 05:31 PM
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Originally posted by texas lady
done wonderful all summer, but you guessed it. it died over the winter. was on the south side of my house, inpartial sun to shade.
Texas Lady,

I had three plants planted in full sun and water them generously, and had the same problem with one of mine. At the first hard frost, I pruned all of them back about 6-8". That wasn't good enough, so early spring I trimmed them back to the ground. I didn't realize how low I had cut them and one of them did not have good drainage and "drowned". My other plants are growing fine but not as large as last year, So I think that preparing them for the cold whether you bring them inside or not is essential.

My neighbor has two beautiful hibiscus that are very large, the only difference between what he did this past winter and me is that at the first sign of freezing, he cut them to the ground and covered them with a lot of pinestraw. I saw them today and they are 4 times as big as mine.

Granted that his plants are more mature than mine, I believe that it is how he winterizes them..

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