If you want to grow a new hibiscus plant from an established plant, you can grow a hibiscus cutting in water. We’re going to cover how to take a proper stem cutting and how to provide good care for optimal growth.
About Hibiscus Plants
The term hibiscus refers to hundreds of different plants within the Hibiscus genus. These plants are known for their large, showy flowers that bloom for just a day or two.
The two main types of hibiscus are hardy and tropical. Hardy hibiscus can survive below-freezing temperatures and lose their foliage each winter. Tropical hibiscus requires warm temperatures and remains green year-round. Each is available in various colors, including beautiful yellow, red, and purple hibiscus flowers.
How to Take a Hibiscus Cutting
Starting with a healthy cutting is a crucial aspect of growing a vibrant plant. You should take a cutting from a branch that is rigid yet not fully mature. In general, a good branch for cutting is a mature branch that has not yet flowered.
The branch you choose should be at least eight inches long and show no signs of disease. It should also have healthy, green leaves.
Use a sharp and sanitized pair of pruning shears to remove the branch near the stem. After you have your cutting, use the shears to remove all leaves except for a few near the top of the cutting. It is okay if you’re cutting doesn’t have any leaves, but it must have at least one leaf node.
Before you place your cutting in water, recut the base at a 45° angle. This will create a larger cut surface area and therefore allow the cutting to take up more water.
Place the Cutting in Water
After you have a healthy hibiscus cutting, you can place the cutting in water. Fill a clean container with a few inches of water and place the cutting in the water.
Ensure that no leaves are touching the water.
If your goal is for your hibiscus plant to develop roots, you may want to consider using a rooting hormone. This product will help speed up the development of roots.
Applying rooting hormone is easy. Simply dip the cut end of your hibiscus cutting in the rooting hormone before you place it in water.
Set the Cutting in a Suitable Location
Once your cutting is in water, you’ll need to place it in a favorable environment.
Select a warm area (between 65–80°F) with high humidity. Place the cuttings in an area that is bright but free from direct light.
In order to prevent the development and spread of bacteria, change the water at least once a week.
Move the Cutting to a Pot
Within a few weeks, you should see roots developing along the cutting. These roots will continue to grow as long as the cutting remains healthy.
When the roots are about half an inch long, you can transfer the cutting to a container filled with potting mix. Choose a well-draining potting mix that can also hold moisture. FoxFarm Happy Frog is one good option.
Place the bottom two to three inches of the cutting in the soil mix and water well.
Once the cutting is in a container, place your hibiscus somewhere that receives bright yet indirect light (hibiscus doesn’t enjoy full shade). Keep the soil moist to encourage the plant to develop new growth.
After the plant has begun to develop new foliage, you can move it to a location that receives at least six hours of direct sun. At this point, you should continue to care for your plant as you would care for any other tropical hibiscus plant.
Growing Hibiscus Cuttings in Water FAQs:
How Long Does It Take for Hibiscus Cuttings to Grow Roots?
Hibiscus cuttings will start to form roots within a month. Using a rooting hormone can help speed up this process, so you may begin to see roots in as little as a few weeks.
Should I Root Hibiscus Cuttings in Water or Soil?
You can root hibiscus cuttings in water or in a soilless potting mix. Placing the cuttings in water will let you watch root development, but you will need to pot the cutting in soil later on.
Can I Leave My Hibiscus Cutting in Water?
Hibiscus cuttings can grow in water as long as you provide a liquid fertilizer. However, large plants can become top-heavy and perform better when the roots have soil to anchor in.
Taking hibiscus cuttings and rooting them in water is an easy way to grow new hibiscus plants. Remember to sanitize your tools and choose a healthy branch for cutting.
For more, see our in-depth guides to hibiscus flower meaning and symbolism and 32 amazing uses and benefits of hibiscus.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.
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