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Propagate hibiscus: What methods are suitable for the garden and houseplant and how to use them.

Anyone who wants to propagate his hibiscus or that of a friend, thus decides to do a really simple task. Because even beginners are guaranteed success with the right method and will soon be able to grow their own shrub in the garden or pot. As already indicated, there are different ways to get one or more more from one plant. We present all the options with which you can propagate the hibiscus, once below.

Choose the right time

Propagate hibiscus with the help of cuttings - This is how the method works.

Spring and early summer are, in principle, the best times for hibiscus propagation. However, the plant is easy enough to care for to try at other times of the year, provided you offer it the right temperatures. For example, the windowsill can be the ideal location until it’s time to move the hibiscus plant outside. With a clear plastic bag that you put over the plant and pot, you will offer it perfect conditions in terms of humidity and temperature (don’t forget to take it off daily for airing, otherwise mold will form).

If you use cuttings, it is best to choose the summer for this. Cuttings are best prepared in the spring, but no later than summer.

Is hibiscus propagation forbidden?

Houseplants can be propagated by cuttings or purchased seeds

On the labels of purchased hibiscus varieties you can sometimes find a notice that propagation is prohibited. However, this concerns only the dealers. The breeder has probably patented the new variety and thus prohibits other dealers and growers from making profit with his variety. For private use, i.e. if you are only supplying yourself or a relative/friend or two, this usually does not apply.

Propagating Hibiscus – What are the options?

There are four different ways to propagate hibiscus. They can be applied both if you are propagating a giant hibiscus, as well as for other garden varieties or for houseplants.

  • Seedlings
  • Cuttings
  • Seeds
  • Cuttings

Seeds and seedlings – what is the difference?

Propagate hibiscus by seed from seed pods in the spring

What sounds somehow the same at first moment, are actually different stages of growth. In fact, seedlings are already grown plants that have formed by themselves around the mother plant after the hibiscus seeds have fallen. So the shrub has seeded itself. You can dig up these so-called sinkers as soon as the first branches have formed, after which you plant them in their new location.

Seeds can be collected yourself in the fall (if you are propagating a garden hibiscus) or purchased (for houseplants). It is best to use seeds in the spring or early summer, because then the plant still has enough time to develop vigorously enough until winter. After the last frost, you can also sow the seeds directly in the garden.

Use seedlings from the garden for propagation


After you cut off the hibiscus seed pods and take out the seeds, store them in a cool, dry place. Then in the spring, scarify them to help them germinate. Prepare a pot of potting soil and spread the seeds on it. Moisten the soil with a spray bottle, as they are so small that you would wash them away with normal watering. Place the pot on a bright windowsill in a warm place and keep the soil moist. Once the seedlings have formed their first leaves, you can transplant them into separate pots.

Hibiscus propagate by cuttings

Cuttings form roots when they stand in water

One of the fastest and easiest methods is the use of cuttings. For this purpose, you need to cut branches from the hibiscus, which contain at least three eyes and are 15 cm long. Remove the lower leaves, but not all, and then put the branches in water until roots are formed (there should be no leaves in the water). Once these are long enough, plant the plant in soil.

Propagate hibiscus by cuttings - Put in water or stick in soil


Alternatively, the cuttings can be stuck directly into soil (preferably growing soil). If you would like to propagate the hibiscus in this way, you should first dip them in rooting powder, which promotes root formation. From now on, the soil should always remain moist so that roots can form. In both cases (water or pot) choose a warm and bright location. You can tell that the new plant is ready to be repotted or planted in the garden by the fact that it forms new leaves.

Cuttings are the best option if you want to propagate an indoor hibiscus plant.

Use cuttings to propagate the shrub

Is forbidden to propagate hibiscus bushes and plants

With cuttings you work directly in the garden and on the mother plant. If you want to propagate the hibiscus with this method, choose a branch that you “lower”, that is, work it into the soil. However, for this purpose, do not cut it off as for cuttings, but leave it on the main plant. To ensure that the branch remains down, fix it with wire. Cover with soil only any area between the base of the branch and the tip, so the tip of the branch must necessarily stick out of the soil.

Always keep the covered area moist, because new roots should now form there. Until then, however, the branch will continue to be supplied by the mother plant, which is what makes this method so promising. Once roots have developed, you can cut off the new plant and plant it in its new location. Late spring is the best time for this, so that the plant can get well accustomed to its new place by the end of the season.

Cut branches and use them for new plants

Note: Do not confuse cuttings, cuttings and hibiscus offshoots. The latter is not formed in this shrub. These are so-called children, which the mother plant usually forms its own roots – a miniature version of the mother plant, so to speak. Cuttings, on the contrary, are cut off and only then rooted. Cuttings are very close to offshoots in nature, but the root formation for the new plant is forced and not controlled by the main plant itself.