Early this spring, as I was shopping on eBay, I came across some hardy hibiscus seeds. I had been considering starting some hardy hibiscus from seeds for years and finally bought two packages of them. One purchase was from a commercial seller and the other was from what looked like a backyard gardener selling their extra seeds.
After the seeds arrived, I planted them at one quarter inch depth in fine-textured potting soil and watered them in. I could have soaked them and lightly scratched the seed coat. Maybe, I will do a test to see if this makes a difference if I get more seeds. I planted the seeds on March 15th, 2019 and by April 2nd about a dozen of them had sprouted. Over the next 3 weeks, quite a few more seeds came up. So, I could say 1-4 weeks is the germination time for most of the seeds.
A newly sprouted hardy hibiscus. The seeds are tiny round and dark brown in color.
This gallery shows the first three months of development from seeds to budding. It looks like I inadvertently switched the tags on my flats! I now believe the poorly germinating seeds came from the backyard grower and the abundantly sprouting seeds came from the commercial source that was advertised as Hardy Hibiscus Mix. The backyard grower did not list any names of the parent plants so this is a mystery unfolding growing these hardy hibiscus plants from seeds! I am unsure if it was because the seeds were fresher or because of the kind of plant.
When the seedlings were about 5 or 6 inches tall, I figured it was time to get them potted up. I used cheap potting soil from the store with my own compost added. I planted 5 to 6 plants in each 3-gallon pot then put them in partial shade until I saw they were growing well and gradually moved them into the full sun where they quickly increased in size within a few weeks.
The two kinds of hardy hibiscus look different in that some have dark leaves while a few have lime-green leaves. A percentage of the plants are becoming tall and tree-like, while the rest are more compact like a shrub.
When the hardy hibiscus started forming flower buds, I pruned the plants which will delay blooming but results in more blooms later on due to increased branching. I will update this pruning later with a video. This is a rather crowded growing set up with five to six plants in each 3-gallon pot, so I did add composted manure and time release fertilizer.
Don’t forget to see part 2 where I share the results!