Hibiscus Gardens Around the World
"Morning sun, afternoon shade and deep watering" is the ticket when growing hibiscus in Arizona says Wayne H who is a Master Gardener and has a great love for plants. We decided to ask him some questions about growing these plants in an inhospitable desert climate:
Q: How many years have you been growing hibiscus now, Wayne? It must be at least five I think.
A: I moved to Arizona in August 1998 from Chicago, Illinois. I bought my first Hibiscus, a Brilliant standard, in September from a supermarket Garden Shop.
Q: How often do you water and when do you water?
A: I water about 7 AM for 25 minutes once a week. When the temps start going over 100F (+38C) I turn on the system manually for 10 minutes every other day.
Q: You talked about "deep watering" earlier. Would you like to expand on that?
A: Deep watering is the rule not the exception in the "low desert" for all plants, except maybe for Cactus. I totally flood the flower bed for 25 minutes so it will saturate the soil to a depth of 18-24 inches.
Q: How often do you fertilize?
A: I fertilize weekly when watering. I mix fertilizer in a 5 gallon bucket and it is fed through my watering system with a Syphon-Jet feeder/injector.
Q: Do you use water spray to cool your plants on particularly hot days?
A: Yes, our humidity at this time of year is about 5-8% I have 8- one gallon misters piped around the Sunshade that I connect with a garden hose when the temperatures go over 100F for cooling purposes.
Q: Do you ever have frost in your area?
A: Yes, we have several light frosts a year in December and January, but as soon as the sun comes up it warms up to 60 F, so frost damage is not a problem.
The storm tore off the top of Wayne's shade house, giving us a chance to glimpse the plants inside.
Wayne is a thorough guy so when he decided to grow hibiscus he first invested in
less expensive landscape varieties to learn about the species before advancing
to the fancier ones. Smart move in such a difficult location as Arizona!
This home made shade structure keeps
the plants out of direct sun.
Newly purchased plants are kept in pots to establish themselves before planting out.