flower too late
HAVE several hibiscus plants - three in pots and one in the garden.
They all develop buds and start flowering so late in the season
that the winter weather tends to damage the flowers. Is there anything
I can do to make them flower earlier in summer? They get almost
full sun all summer, but are shaded between May to September. And
since they are fairly small, young bushes, I haven't pruned them
hard yet. I have a similar problem with my Bambino bougainvilleas
- they flowered well the summer I bought them, but despite full
sun in summer they're now refusing to flower. The only fertiliser
I have used is sulphate of potash.
produce flowers on new growth and, like many other subtropical plants,
they often don't start putting on new growth until soil temperatures
have really warmed up in summer. Placing them in a warm, sunny spot
as you have done is good, but to encourage growth as early as possible
you could also try regular applications of liquid fertiliser, or
a slow-release type applied in early spring, along with regular
watering if the mix dries out.
Another trick worth trying
could be to use dark coloured containers which absorb heat, so warming
the root system, which will encourage earlier growth. Or place some
dark rocks nearby to soak up the heat during the day and act as
radiators at night.
With bougainvilleas the
secret is to be tough - if they're in pots, don't fertilise them
unless they look really nutrient-deficient. Only water them when
really dry and expose them to as much hot sunshine as you can. If
planted in the garden, don't feed at all and don't water them unless
wilting badly. The harsher the conditions, the better they flower,
but flowering does also improve with age.
Gardener, Issue 151, 2004, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.