Hibiscus is part of the mallow or Malvaceae family and is a common garden and house plant.
They are native to tropical regions and are thought to have originated from China and the Pacific Islands.
There are over 300 different species of Hibiscus, with more species being created and discovered over the past decades.
They gained popularity due to their perennial qualities, meaning their bright and exotic flowers grow back every year.
So, are you now ready to learn to propagate this beautiful plant? Learn about it more here in this article.
How to propagate a hibiscus?
To begin the propagation of a hibiscus, 6 to 8-inch (15-20cm) cuttings have to be taken from a parent plant. The freshly cut stems then need to be dipped into a rooting hormone to aid the process of growing new roots. These stems will need to be placed into a soil mixture and watered regularly. It should take between 4-6 weeks for new leaves to form on the cuttings.
Propagating a hibiscus from cuttings is the most popular form of propagation.
This method is where you take cuttings from another hibiscus plant and use those cuttings to grow more plants. This will create a hibiscus that is a carbon copy of its parent plant.
Start by selecting which stems you are going to cut.
To ensure propagation is successful, be sure to choose a plant that has lots of viable stems.
These stems will have smooth branches with lots of green leaves.
The healthier that your parent plant is, the higher chance of success you will get when propagating them.
Start by cutting away from the plant at a 45-degree angle, with a length of between 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm). You should cut just below a node (or eye) of the stem to prevent any damage occurring to your hibiscus plant.
Once you have made your cuttings start to remove some of the leaves from the stems. Using your clean pruning shears, remove all but a few of the smaller leaves.
Removing a majority of the leaves will help improve oxygen levels in your young hibiscus plants as they begin to grow.
Never pull the leaves directly from the cuttings. Using shears or scissors will avoid any damage to the fibers in the freshly cut stems.
The next step is to prepare your stems so that they are ready for planting.
Using a clean gardening tool such as scissors or a knife, gently score the sides of the end of each stem.
Be sure to score very lightly. You should scratch into the outer layer of the plant’s root (also known as the epidermis), but not damage the stem itself.
This will increase the area from which roots will grow from.
Dip the stems’ ends in a rooting hormone. We recommend using a rooting gel, as it is a mess-free option that is very straightforward to use.
Place the cuttings 1.5-2 inches deep into the soil or sand mixture. Ensure that the soil is firmly packed around the cutting to provide support as the roots start to form.
When to begin propagation
The best time to propagate a hibiscus is late spring or early summer. Your hibiscus plants will need lots of bright but indirect sunlight to begin their growth process.
Avoid propagating hibiscus during cold seasons, unless you own a greenhouse or a professional heat lamp.
These plants originate from warm and tropic environments where the temperature is usually over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the environment you are propagating your hibiscus in is a very low or frosty temperature, they will have a slim chance of survival.
Materials needed to propagate a hibiscus plant
When propagating any plant, it is important to use clean and sterile pruning shears. This will prevent any risk of infection to both the parent plant and the fresh cuttings.
Many use a growth or root hormone when propagating. There are many varieties of root hormones in the market, but any simple rooting gel works well.
This will help encourage new roots to grow and increase the chance of viability.
You will need to plant your hibiscus cuttings in a soil mix that has enough drainage to help the stems begin to root.
A mixture of 3 parts fine sand and one part regular houseplant soil works perfectly and will provide adequate draining for your plants.
Hibiscus plants need lots of water. Propagating the cuttings in a pot that has a drainage hole will prevent root rot and other issues that come with plants that enjoy moist environments.
The soil mixture will need to be thoroughly soaked every few days as a way of stimulating your stems to grow new roots.
Don’t let the soil become completely dry, but ensure that it is only slightly damp before watering again.
Over or under-watering your soil could stop the propagation process entirely, and cause the newly cut stem to die.
Hibiscus are plants that are native to tropical areas, meaning they thrive in warm and humid environments.
Thus, it’s best to keep the pots in a bright area that receives lots of indirect sunlight.
For a higher chance of success, place your pots on a windowsill in a plastic lidded box. This will imitate the warmer conditions by creating a greenhouse effect and should speed up the propagation process.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hibiscus Propagation
How long will it take for my hibiscus to bloom?
It can take between 6-24 months for the plant to reach full growth. After this, your hibiscus should bloom every summer and will flower again every year.
How many cuttings can I take from one plant?
Avoid taking more than 5 cuttings from each hibiscus plant. Cutting too many of the stems can sometimes make the hibiscus plant stop growing altogether.
Do I need to regularly prune my hibiscus?
Pruning your plant is not an overly necessary part of hibiscus care. Hibiscus plants should only be pruned in the spring, and only if you notice a yellow discoloration in older leaves.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.