Growing, caring for and propagating Hibiscus moscheutos also known as “Dinner Plate” Hibiscus.
When I say this plant could change your life forever, this is what I mean.
If you were to start out growing and selling only this one plant from your backyard you could quickly establish yourself as the go to person for Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Lady Baltimore’ or any of the three other popular varieties. That’s all it takes, is one plant to have a nice little business growing and selling really small plants in your backyard. You can grow hundreds of these in a really small area, slip them out of the pot or shake them out bare root, put them in a box and off they go to your customer. I just ordered 400 of them for myself.
These dinner plate Hibiscus are what I call “Instantly Fall in Love, Gotta have One Plants”. As soon as somebody sees them they instantly want one. And they are fairly easy to grow. I have three different kinds of these plants in my landscape and I am crazy about them.
They are perennials and die back to the ground at the end of each growing season. When I first saw them I was really skeptical of how hardy they would really be. I didn’t really have any place to plant them but I bought about five of them anyway then ended up leaving them in the pots, unprotected for the winter figuring I probably killed them. I wasn’t happy about that, but my life is crazy and they just did not get planted last fall.
This spring they completely amazed me when they started growing. We moved them out back where they would be watered and just last week I finally planted them in a new landscape planting that I did at the nursery.
These plants have completely amazed me!
They are loaded with extremely large, beautiful blooms and grew to a height of almost 48″ this season alone. Even though I neglected them last fall and winter. And trust me, we had some really cold weather here in Northern Ohio. These are tough cookies and they are beautiful. Now I wish I had 200 of each color to grow and sell!
I have yet to propagate these myself but I am told they can be grown from cuttings and can also be divided in the spring. Sounds easy enough to me. By this time next year I hope to have at least 600 of these in my nursery for sale. This is one plant that will sell, and sell, and sell. You could specialize in just three colors and sell every one that you grew right from your backyard. You could easily sell these as small plants to the wholesale market and never have anybody coming to your house. Just put them in a box and off they go.
I just found a grower that has small hibiscus for 90 cents each. You can bet I’ll be on the phone to him this week! My Backyard Growing System comes with a directory of wholesale suppliers. These are all of the supplies that use to buy plants and supplies for my nursery. The directory is a digital download, you can be reading it in minutes.
Caring for Hibiscus moscheutos, Dinner Plate hibiscus.
Hibiscus is super easy to care for. Plant them in a sunny area and keep them watered as needed. They are fast growing so they do need plenty of water. During the growing season just water and leave them unpruned. When they start blooming it’s important to dead head them (remove the spent flower blossoms). If you do that, they will reward you with more and more of those big beautiful blooms.
They are perennials so come fall the frost will kill the top of the plants but the roots will be fine. Sometime after they have gone through a hard freeze where the temperatures drop below freezing for at least a few hours go ahead and cut them back to stubs or only three or four inches from the ground. If you want you can wait and do this early spring.
Come spring they are a little slow to get started so be patient. But once they start growing they really take off and by the end of July, early August they start making flowers.
Propagating Hibiscus moscheutos, Dinner Plate Hibiscus.
There are two fairly dependable ways to propagate these plants. One is from softwood cuttings during the summer months and the other is through division. If you are going to do cuttings do them about 6 to 8 weeks after the plants start growing in the spring. In most zones that’s around mid June. There are a lot of different ways to do softwood cuttings and I show you how the many ways on this page.
Hibiscus moscheutos, Dinner Plate hibiscus from cuttings.
Make sure to do the cuttings early in the summer so they have a chance to establish a nice root ball. Once the cuttings are rooted I’d just leave them right where they are and come winter make sure the flat is uncovered but in a protected area. Let them freeze along with the rest of the plants. Then come spring just as they start to show signs of life you can transplant them to where you want them. When you transplant them gently remove them from the flat being careful not to damage the roots.
Dividing hibiscus moscheutos.
If you want to divide them do so in the spring, just as they start to make buds. Be careful to not damage the new growth, but you are going to have either pull, cut or tear the roots apart in order to divide them. That’s why you want to do them just as they are breaking dormancy so they don’t have a lot of top growth to support right after being divided.
Growing Dinner Plate Hibiscus from Seed.
Will they come true from seed? I don’t honestly know, I’ve never grown them from seed, but it is fairly easy to do. If you want plan to grow from seed leave some of the seed pods on the plants after the flower is spent to allow the seeds to mature. When the paper like seed pods start to show signs of peeling, collect the seed pods and store them in a paper bag so as they open you can collect the seeds and not lose them.
When I researched this I found conflicting or incomplete information because some say to start them inside in the fall. But I’m not sure when to move them outside. I’d like to think that new seedlings are not going to do well if moved outside and allowed to freeze just weeks after germination. But if you leave them inside then you’d have to care for them inside all winter long which would get them out of sync for a dormancy period etc. So here’s my two suggestions . . .
Collect the seeds in the fall and store them in a paper bag in a cool, dry place over the winter. Come late winter soak the seeds for about an hour in warm water. Drain them and let them dry enough that you can separate them, then sow in a flat as you would any other seed. Sow on top of the flat, press them against the soil with light pressure so the seeds are making good contact with the soil, then sprinkle a very light layer of soil over the seeds. Keep them watered and warm but not soaking wet. Put a fan near the flat to keep air moving so you don’t get damping off or other fungal issues that often occur around moist soil indoors.
Once they are about 1/2″ tall you can transplant them into grow blocks or a plug tray. I like plug trays because the roots don’t get tangled and the plugs can easily be slipped out of the tray and planted without damaging the roots. Once the calendar says the danger of frost has past you can plant out in the garden.
The other option is to collect the seeds in the fall, soak them as described above, and sow them in a flat outside in a protected area. I know this sounds harsh, but nature knows what it’s doing and this is how the plants typically propagate themselves in a natural setting. We often do this with Dogwoods and Japanese Red maple trees with great results.
We often get better results with Dogwood trees and Japanese maple trees doing them in fall than we do holding them until late winter.
I hope you found this interesting, helpful and informative. Questions or comments post them below.
Questions or comments? Post them below.