The hibiscus: characteristics of the species

The hibiscus is a plant whose etymological origin seems to be lost in the mists of time. In fact, Discorides mentioned in his writings a plant named Altea which, however, it turned out later, had nothing to do with the hibiscus if not a certain similarity in the flower. The botanist Linnaeus, always very precise, respected the ancient name and created the genus Althaea. In 1737 the Swedish botanist coined the genus hibiscus with a clear reference to the Greek root ibiscos, to indicate this beautiful and elegant plant, very decorative for its different forms. The hibiscus siriacus, which is the most widespread species, has been known for over three hundred and fifty years. It is a shrubby plant, sometimes shaped like a tree that during the summer has very characteristic multicolored flowers, funnel-shaped even in variegated colors.

The hibiscus rosa-sinensis

The most conspicuous and well known species is the hibiscus rosa sinensis which produces beautiful flowers adorned by the dancers of the South Seas. This plant is believed to be native to China, however it is an evergreen of Asian origin. Due to its beauty, the hibiscus is a flower that appears very often on the fabrics of high fashion dresses. Along the Amalfi coast, in the province of Salerno, in the Campania region, not far from the splendid town of Positano, there is a beautiful hotel with a garden completely made up of hibiscus rosa-sinensis shrubs. A garden that includes huge-flowered varieties and a specimen of Chorisia speciosa hibiscus between 8 and 10 meters tall. The flowers of this hibiscus species are solitary and mainly pink and yellow in color.

The hibiscus: sowing and transplanting

The annual species of hibiscus are sown in peat or terracotta pots, to facilitate the vegetative restart of the seedlings after transplanting to the home. The sowing must be performed in April, in a sheltered place, the transplant must be carried out as soon as the young seedlings have emitted the third or fourth leaf. The hibiscus species can multiply by division in autumn or spring, before the vegetative restart. The shrub species, on the other hand, usually multiply by cuttings, taking the twigs of the previous year from the mother plants. Twigs that must be reduced to 25 centimeters in length, and then placed in a vase of 3 or 4 cuttings each. Almost all hibiscus species bloom in the summer. The flowers are of different colors depending on the species. Some varieties have even originated double-colored flower varieties.

Hibiscus: Hibiscus, soil and fertilizer

Almost all species of hibiscus do not have particular soil requirements. It will be enough that the soil is loose, fresh and fertile enough. Watering must be assiduous during the summer months. The waterings are to be reduced in the other months and almost suspended in the winter season. A good basic fertilization at the time of planting must necessarily be done. Other fertilizations, on the other hand, can be done monthly. Flowering will benefit from these fertilizations. Enemies of the hibiscus are aphids and scale insects, sometimes powdery mildew. Parasites that must necessarily be treated with special medicines to be purchased in nurseries and specialized shops. Some of these can be mixed with water that will be used to water the plants. L’

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