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Blue hibiscus holds a special value among hibiscus lovers for its vigorous growth and vibrant, lacy flowers. They’re low maintenance plants which means they require very little care and are extremely easy to grow. However, the more effort you put into caring for them, the better they will bloom.
If you’re interested in growing blue hibiscus in your garden, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about these unique plants and how to grow them.
Blue Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii)
Blue hibiscus is a variety of hibiscus that’s native to Western Australian regions and is popular for its spectacular dark-green foliage and flowers. They’re fairly large plants that can reach up to a height of 6-10 feet tall in their full growth.
Though commonly called “blue hibiscus”, these plants generate blooms in several shades ranging from pinkish to an intense violet-blue color. They’re drought-tolerant plants that grow best in USDA zones 9-11.
Factors to Consider
As mentioned earlier, blue hibiscus plants are very easy to grow. However, if you want bigger and more beautiful blooms, you may want to put a little more effort into caring for your plants.
Here are some important factors to consider:
Blue hibiscus can survive in various types of soil including alkaline, clayish, and sandy soils. However, the specific soil you chose needs to have proper drainage and a pH level of 6.5-6.8, which is ideal for blue hibiscus plants.
If the soil you have isn’t up to par, you can improve it by adding some organic mulch around the plant roots. This will also help in protecting the roots from extreme temperatures.
Temperature and Light
Blue hibiscus plants require a lot of sunlight but they can also grow well in partial shade and the hottest climates. They should get at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to bloom vigorously.
These plants prefer a temperature level of 59-79 Fahrenheit (15-26 Celsius), but they can also handle cold temperatures of 30-40 Fahrenheit (-1-4 Celsius) as well. Therefore, make sure to plant your blue hibiscus in a place that gets enough sunlight for optimal growth.
Hibiscus plants do well with low to moderate watering at least once a week. In normal climates give your plants about 1 inch of water per week and increase it during the summer.
It’s important that you don’t water these plants too much as over-watering can be more dangerous than under-watering for blue hibiscus.
When grown in rich soil, your blue hibiscus plants won’t need any additional or supplemental feedings. However, adding some fertilizer during growing and blooming seasons can improve their health and flower yield rapidly.
Use a fertilizer with extra phosphorus in it for the young plants and for mature plants, use an all-purpose fertilizer that includes nitrogen which can also encourage their leaf growth.
Pests and Diseases
Blue hibiscus attracts some common garden pests such as aphids, scale bugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. The tell-tale signs of these infections are:
- Leaf drop
- Discolored and distorted leaves and flowers
- Sooty mold, sticky residue and webbing on the foliage, blooms, and stems
- Lack of growth and blooming
- Weakened and wilted plants
To control and remove the infestation, spray the plants with a stream of water to wash off the insects and then spray some pesticides or horticultural oil on the plants.
Diseases won’t be much of an issue since blue hibiscus plants are less prone to infections. However, over-watering can cause their roots to rot and too much or little fertilizing can cause nutrition disorders. These can be prevented beforehand with proper care and attention.
Your blue hibiscus plants may also get infected with mildew and red blotch virus. In this case, separate the infected plants from the healthy ones and spray them with a fungicide to treat them and prevent a relapse.
Pruning is a very important step of the caring and maintenance process of your blue hibiscus for many reasons. The benefits of pruning include:
- New growth and blooming
- Reducing excess growth
- Improving aeration
- Removing old, damaged, and diseased parts
- Keeping plants healthy and thriving
Start pruning your blue hibiscus in the late summer, after the blooming season has ended. Cut about a third of the way back from the main branches starting from the opposite sides of the plant. Remember to leave at least 2-3 nodes for new branches to grow.
Blue hibiscus is one of those wonderful evergreen shrubs that can give your garden a cool, tropical vibe with their boisterous blossoms and contrasting foliage. What maximize their worth is the fact that they can be grown and maintained with very little effort and care.