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The decorative and popular hibiscus, which can be cultivated in a wide variety of forms, is already in many local gardens. The popular garden plant is not only easy to care for but also very easy to propagate. There are also hardy varieties of garden marshmallow, others have to be cultivated in tubs. But all plants can be easily propagated by cuttings due to their origin as hybrids. So the summer can be used to get many more small plants.


When the lush green leaves and the decorative flowers are on the hibiscus in summer, this is the ideal time to get the sticks for a successful propagation. It should also be pleasantly warm for the rooting phase. The months from May to July are the optimal time to cut the required cuttings.


The marshmallow seedlings need the right location to root and thus to be able to form new small hibiscus plants. Warmth and light encourage rooting, but direct sunlight can damage and burn the seedling, although the adult hibiscus needs a sunny spot. The ideal locations for the cuttings and young seedlings are therefore as follows.

  • in summer on the balcony or terrace
  • should have roofing
  • sheltered corner
  • no direct sun
  • on a windowsill
  • not facing south
  • close roller blinds or curtains when the sun is shining


prepare utensils

Before the actual work begins, the utensils should be ready. This way the work gets done faster. This includes the right tool as well as the other utensils that are needed for propagation.

  • sharp, disinfected rose or pruning shears
  • rooting hormones
  • rooting powder
  • both are available in well-stocked garden shops
  • Potting soil or compost soil-sand mixture
  • alternatively low-lime, room-warm water
  • small pots
  • for water culture bottles with a wide neck
  • clear plastic bags

Anyone who owns a mini greenhouse can also use this, because here the temperature usually remains constant, which can promote rapid rooting of the cuttings. In addition, there is also the right humidity in a mini greenhouse and it can be easily ventilated.


gain cuttings

It is important if the hibiscus is to be propagated by cuttings that more wood is taken than the offshoots are actually desired. Because if you only work with one or two cuttings, it is quite possible that both will not develop roots. Therefore, it makes more sense to cut more and more shoots from the hibiscus. If too many seedlings were rooted later, the small plants can always be given away to friends or garden neighbors. Typically, one-third to at best half of all cuttings will root and grow into viable plants.

The extraction process is as follows:

  • Cut off shoots about 12 cm long
  • Always cut at a 45° angle
  • choose only healthy, new shoots
  • soft, green, annual and vigorous
  • remove lower leaves and buds/flowers
  • use a sharp knife for this
  • later new shoots will sprout here
  • Dip interface in rooting hormones
  • cover with rooting powder

After this activity comes the decision as to whether the shoots should be rooted in water or earth. Both are simple procedures that usually work well, the success rate can be estimated the same for both procedures.


Root in soil

If the cuttings are to be rooted in potting soil or a compost soil-sand mixture, then the small pots are required, which must be prepared in advance. So that there is no waterlogging here and the fresh roots could rot directly, a drainage should be created over the drainage hole. Here small shards of pottery or pebbles are placed on the drain hole and covered with a small piece of plant fleece. So no soil can clog the hole and the excess water can drain off easily. Then the slightly moist soil comes into the pot. Proceed as follows with the cuttings.

  • insert the stems about four to five centimeters
  • make sure that at least two eyes are covered with soil
  • cover with clear plastic bag
  • Or use a clear plastic bottle
  • keep moist
  • keep warm but out of direct sunlight
  • air regularly
  • otherwise mold or fungus can form
  • after about one month to six weeks the first roots appear

If a transparent plastic bottle is used, the neck of the bottle is removed with a knife or scissors and placed upside down over the small pot. The bottle should be high enough so that the cuttings do not hit the ceiling but have enough space. In this way, a mini greenhouse can be built for one seedling at a time. The advantage over the plastic bag is that it can be easily removed when the cutting is aired. A plastic bag is also faster on the offshoot, which should be avoided due to the risk of injury to the cuttings.

Root in water

So that it can be observed whether roots are forming on the cutting, many hobby gardeners also use a transparent glass or bottle that is only filled with water to root the offshoot. During the rooting process, it can be observed at any time how the new roots form from the eyes in the water. After a month, you can immediately see which cuttings have rooted and which have not. When rooting in water, the ideal procedure is as follows.

  • Pour in five inches of water
  • lukewarm and low in lime is ideal
  • Put the cuttings in
  • each offshoot requires its own vessel
  • in a warm, bright place without direct sun
  • cover with clear plastic bag
  • Or use a clear plastic bottle
  • air daily and spray from above

The water must be changed regularly so that it does not become cloudy and bacteria can form in it, which would prevent rooting and cause the seedling to rot. The water should be changed every two to three days. When rooting with water, it is ideal if collected rainwater can be used. If you don't have the opportunity to do this, use stale tap water

After rooting in water

If the cuttings have been successfully rooted in the water, roots that are 2.5 cm to 5 cm long will appear after about a month. Due to the transparent vessels, it was already possible to observe earlier how the small roots formed from an eye on the cutting and slowly grew out here. Once the cuttings have reached that length, they are ready to be transplanted into soil.

To do this, proceed as follows:

  • use small pots
  • prepare with drainage
  • Fill in half of the compost and sand mixture
  • Insert seedling carefully
  • fill in the remaining soil
  • pour lightly
  • put in a warm, bright place
  • protect from direct sunlight

Proceed further

After the period of taking and rooting cuttings and thus new offshoots of the hibiscus plant, which is over the summer with the warm months, comes winter. The young plants, even if they come from a hibiscus that is hardy, should still be well protected in the first winter and therefore frost-free. The following locations are recommended for overwintering the seedlings.

  • a bright, cool staircase
  • a windowsill in a bedroom
  • Warm living spaces are not ideal
  • unheated conservatory
  • bright, frost-free garage

During the winter, the seedlings are watered sparingly, but not fertilized. If the temperatures get warmer in spring and no more night frost is to be expected, they are taken outside and planted in the desired spot in a bucket or bed.


Lower in the bed

Another method of getting new hibiscus plants is by drooping. This is particularly useful when the mother plant is a marshmallow cultivated as a shrub. Because this requires quite close-to-the-ground shoots, which often occur in a shrub. Ideally, a fairly young, flexible shoot is used for this, which was formed in spring and is now long enough in summer. When propagating by subsidence, the procedure is as follows.

  • Score the shoot lightly
  • put it in the ground with the scratched spot
  • Dig a small hole, bend the shoot in
  • secure with tent pegs or thick, curved nails
  • cover the earth again
  • the shoot remains on the mother plant
  • therefore no additional care required
  • is taken care of by the mother plant

When the first roots appear, the shoot can be cut off the mother plant and repotted in a container. Alternatively, the sinker remains on the marshmallow over the next winter if it is a hardy specimen. Then the sinker is only cut from the mother hibiscus next spring and planted again in a suitable location.

Lowering for potted plants

Even if the cultivated marshmallow is a container plant, it can be propagated by lowering it. Since there is not enough space in the pot to grow another plant, the sinker gets its own pot right from the start.

Here's how to do it in this procedure:

  • Fill a small pot halfway with soil
  • prepare with drainage beforehand
  • find a flexible shoot
  • scratch lightly in one place
  • place in new pot with this spot
  • fix with a long, curved nail
  • hand over the rest of the earth
  • keep slightly moist
  • the first roots form, separate from the mother plant

In the initial period when the sinker is still on the mother plant, the soil should be kept slightly moist and therefore watered regularly. However, it is not necessary to fertilize it yourself, as the sinker continues to be supplied by the mother plant. Only after the offshoot has been separated is its own fertilization required. Since it is a container plant that is usually cultivated in this way because it is one of the non-hardy varieties of hibiscus, the offshoot must also be brought to a suitable quarter in winter. Next spring it will be repotted in its own bucket and cared for accordingly.


Transplant into pot

The sinker, which is taken from the mother plant immediately after rooting in summer or autumn and transplanted into a pot, must be protected from cold and frost, as this is still too weak and small to survive a winter outside, even if it is is a hardy marshmallow. So it should be brought to a suitable location after it has moved into the vessel.

Ideally, the procedure is as follows:

  • Use garden soil or compost-sand mixture
  • Prepare pot with drainage
  • Cut offshoots between plant and subsidence
  • Use sharp, disinfected scissors
  • Carefully dig and remove offshoots from the bed
  • place in a pot with soil and fill in the remaining soil
  • water lightly
  • find a warm, bright place out of direct sunlight
  • spend the winter in a frost-free place
  • water moderately and do not fertilize

In spring, the offshoot will slowly get used to more light and warmth again and can then be planted in the desired new location in the garden bed or in a tub when frosty temperatures are no longer to be expected at night.

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