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Re: hib care


Hi Andrea

Yeah, cut way back on the water. Is it a cold greenhouse? Back off baby! They don't need that much during the winter if it's a cold house. If it's warm you still don't need as much because we don't have that much sun. Try that first. Then if it still languishes then give it the bleach. Also, if you haven't been feeding it give it half strength and a tablespoon of Epsom salts. Also, if you have it a little Super Thrive wouldn't hurt. By the way, in the winter...and I think your climate is fairly close to mine though a little colder...they pretty much languish in the winter anyway.

DF
http://www.atouchofthetropics.net
----- Original Message ----- From: "A A HODGES" <hodgesaa@earthlink.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 3:34 AM
Subject: RE: [CHAT] hib care


David

Should I do that now while it's still relatively cold here? It's in the
greenhouse, has buds on it, and I think I'm probably overwatering it.
A


Andrea H
hodgesaa@earthlink.net
EarthLink Revolves Around You.


[Original Message]
From: David Franzman <dfranzma@pacbell.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Date: 2/15/2005 1:00:30 AM
Subject: [CHAT] hib care

Hi folks

Ok, exfoliating Hibs! *First revert to fake French accent* Hibeescus are
like women. Intensely beautiful but at zee zame time tempermental and
difficult to understand.

Ok, forget that. Loosing leaves is a common problem that everybody
experiences. The funny thing about Hibs is that they can be so damn
tempermental but at the same time they will suprise you with their
tenacity to
live.  Usually, they lose leaves because of some type of stress.  That
makes
sense but there is a surprising number of things that make them stressful.
The most common are overwatering, underwatering or changing their
environment.
They don't like change.  That could be taking them in for the winter or
putting them out for the spring.  It could also mean just the changing
seasons.  One nice thing about them though is that the leaves will grow
back
right from the bottom of the plant.  I will quite often use that time to
prune
them.  Then you force the energy to the bottom of the plant and let them
leaf
out.  Another thing that will cause exfoliation especially for indoor
plants
is spider mites.  Mites like warm dry air and while you may have mites on
several indoor plants they don't show it like hibs.  Look for a mottled
yellow
leaf.  In severe cases you can see webbing.  They are relatively easy to
take
care of.  Blast them with water.  They live on the undersides of leaves.
You
can do it in the shower or outside with a hose.

All of this stuff is part of the learning curve of Hibiscus.  It takes a
year
or two before you know what you are looking for.  I try and tell my
customers
to ask questions before it's too late.  Most of the issues are ones that
can
be corrected immediately.

Here's a word about watering:  Here in the west in summer it's almost
impossible to overwater them.  They will take just as much as you want to
give
them.  During the winter when I've brought them in I almost wait until
they
wilt before they get any.  I figure I'm just following the tropical
pattern of
wet, hot summers and dry cooler winters. In the east where you have a lot
more humidity than we do (as well as a lot more critters) water them
often but
try and avoid getting the leaves wet in the evenings when they will stay
wet
all night.  That invites fungus problems.  Same pattern for the winter
though.
Allow them to stay fairly on the dry side.  One of the ways I know if my
hibs
or any potted plants need water is to know how much your pot weighs wet or
dry. A tip of the finger or for larger pots tip it with your toe to feel
how
much the pot weighs.  When the pot is light...water.  If they are heavy
with
water then let it dry.  Hibiscus like water running over their roots but
they
don't like wet feet. Use a well draining soil. Avoid the dark super soil
type stuff. It retains too much water.

One other thing: They like to eat. Use a balanced fertilizer like
10-10-10
with minors. If you like to endulge your plants use a tablespoon of Epsom
salts to a gallon of water every month. They like the magnesium and it
will
green up your plants.

Here's something I know.  When you know what you are looking for and how
to
deal with it you will find this to be much easier.  And if given enough
light
throughout the winter they will bloom all year.  I know this too.
Virtually
all of you on this list...at least the ones who mentioned they were having
problems know 10 times more about plants than I do. And if I can do
this...
They only difference is that I have studied them and belong to a couple of
lists devoted strickly to them. If you have them and need help ask. Your
curve will straighten out real quick. For two years I struggled but now I
don't worry about them. They lose leaves I know they grow back.

Andrea if you are still with me at this point a languishing plant tells
me you
have a root problem.  Either your soil is not draining or you just have a
bummer root system that has problems.  Take the plant out and give it a
bath
in a 10% bleach solution and give it half doses of fert once a week.  See
if
the roots are nice and white.  If that doesn't work toss it and I'll send
you
out another.

DF

http://www.atouchofthetropics.net

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