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Tropical hibiscus is native to China but widely grown throughout the tropics and subtropics where it can be tree-like. It is tender in Britain and is grown as a pot plant indoors where it may reach 2m (6½ft). Although widely grown as houseplant it can be tricky to manage in a dwelling. The large showy blooms only last a day or two but in a warm, bright greenhouse or conservatory plants will flower over an extended period.
Hibiscus requires bright, humid conditions with good ventilation, protected from direct sunlight and a minimum night temperature of 7ºC (45ºF). Plants can be placed outdoors in summer but need to be brought indoors before temperatures drop below 12ºC (59ºF).
Plants can be kept small and bushy with regular pruning and may live for up to 20 years.
Softwood tip cuttings or semi-ripe cuttings taken in late spring or early summer, root readily;
Unfortunately houseplants are not reliably listed in the RHS Plant Finder, as stocks offered in garden centres tend to be sourced abroad making it difficult to identify availablity.
Also the range of available Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cultivars is continually changing with new introductions and so it is difficult to make recommendations but the Old Walled Garden Nursery lists a good range of cultivars.
For a variegated form, consider;
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Cooperi’ (v) AGM: Compact plant with heavily marbled olive-green and white leaves, sometimes tinted pink and bearing red flowers, height 1-2m (3-6ft)
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Generally trouble free but may suffer from common glasshouse pests such as aphids, red spider mites and glasshouse whitefly.
Flower buds and leaves turn yellow and drop in winter when light levels are low indoors but plants can survive in this semi-dormant state if watering is reduced.
BougainvilleaBrugmansia (angel's trumpet)GardeniaHippeastrumHouseplantsMandevillaOrchids: indoor cultivationStephanotis floribundaStrelitzia
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