Hibiscus is one of the most popular perennial flowers. These flowers have more than 2000 color and pattern variants. Although just a few of them are known to us. We will see a huge and beautiful member of the hibiscus family -“The Southern Belle”. It is very easy to grow and maintain. Some of you may have these magnificent flowers in your garden. So today we will discuss how to care for Southern Belle hibiscus.
Southern Belle is native to North America. It is popular for its huge 10 to 12-inch flowers. Just like any other hibiscus plant, it also loves a warm, humid environment with lots of sunlight. The southern belle is a perennial flowering plant. Although you have to protect it from heavy frost at least for a couple of early growing years.
Check out my previous post: How Much Sunlight Does Lettuce Need?
Southern Belle Hibiscus Info
- Scientific Name: Hibiscus moscheutos
- Common Name: Southern Belle
- Origin: Southern belle is native to North America.
- Plant Type: Perennial Shrub
- Color Variety: Red, Pink, Purple, White, and Many more color variants available.
- Bloom Size: Huge 10 to 12 inches.
- Plant Size: 3 to 5 Feet Tall.
- Plant Spread: 2 to 3 feet spread.
- USDA Hardiness zone: 4 to 9. You can grow these in hot zones like 10 or above with little care.
- Soil Ph: Acidic Soil with 6.0 to 6.8 Ph is good for southern belle hibiscus.
- Soil Texture: Light well-drained soil rich in organic matter is best to grow Southern Belle Hibiscus plants. Although this plant can adjust to any soil type.
- Water requirement: Consistent moist soil is preferred to grow these hibiscuses. Moisture helps in improving the size and quality of flowers.
- Sunlight Requirement: 6 to 8 hours of Direct Sunlight is sufficient to grow southern belle. The southern belle is not ideal for shades. The size of the blooms can reduce a lot in Partial shade.
- Bloom Time: Midsummer to late summer.
Southern Belle or Hibiscus moscheutos is 3 feet perennial flowering shrub. There are dozens of different color variants available to grow. The most popular are scarlet red, pink, purple, white, and orange Southern belle.
Southern belle hibiscus can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9. It is comfortable in heat zone 1 to 12. So no matter where you live, you can easily grow southern belle with little care.
Southern belle requires soft light well-drained acidic soil to grow. The soil can be sand or clay with organic manure. These flowers can adapt to a wide variety of soil types. Only make sure the soil remains moist and soft but not soggy.
Consistent 6 to 8 hours of direct bright sunlight is necessary to get large blooms in the Southern belle. You can grow these plants in partial shade but flower size will reduce.
How to Care for Southern Belle Hibiscus?
Every plant has some specific needs. Caring for southern belle depends on your efficiency to fulfill the requirements of the plant. Therefore it is necessary to pick all the key ingredients that can keep these plants healthy.
So before proceeding let us make a list of what needs to be addressed.
- Soil Preparation
- Time of Plantation
- Use of Fertilizer
- Regular Watering
- Proper Sunlight
- Stake and supports
- Protection for animals and Pests attacks
- Pruning and Deadheading
Check out this: What to do with the Zucchini Plant at end of the Season?
You must Start with soil preparation. You can use any type of soil although black soil is better. It can be clay or sandy or a mixture of both. The southern belle is adaptable to almost any soil type. So don’t worry, try experimenting with different soil mixtures.
The sand and cocopeat will balance the drainage with moisture retention. The Compost will keep the ph low and make the soil healthy for plant growth.
Time of Plantation
Always Plant the southern belle early in summer. In fact, early spring plantations can give the plant enough time to grow and mature before blooming.
Once your southern belle is ready to bloom. It will continue until the end of the season hits by the first frost. Timing is an essential factor in the care of southern belle hibiscus plants.
Use of Fertilizer for Healthy Growth
You have to feed this hibiscus throughout the flowering season. Southern belle plant spends lots of energy in blooming and keeping the blooms fresh for days. So you should feed these plants with a balanced fertilizer once in 4 to 6 weeks.
If you have prepared your own soil mix with 30-50% compost then you may need fewer fertilizers. Instead, you can use a mixture of NPK 10-20-18 with organic compost to feed these plants.
Just mix 2 to 3 spoons full of NPK with 100gms or 2 fists full of dry compost. Mix it well and sprinkle 2 spoons of this mixture around each southern belle plant. Don’t forget to water after applying fertilizers.
You should repeat this once every month. Just wait and watch the enormous growth in your southern belle hibiscus after using this fertilizer mix.
Care for Southern belle with Regular Watering
Keep the soil moist but never soggy. Too much water in the soil can lead to root rot. So if the plant is in a container then water every alternative day. Else if the hibiscus is grown in the garden then wait for the topsoil to appear dry. You can also use your fingers to test the dryness up to 2 inches deep on the soil surface.
Water only when it feels dry and rough. Apply enough water in each spell to moisten the soil to the depth of the roots. Both overwatering and underwatering can affect the blooming of Southern belle. Therefore maintain a schedule for regular watering.
These plants require 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. Full sun is necessary for the bud and flower formation in the southern belle. Therefore try to grow a southern belle where it can receive at least 6 hours of bright direct sunlight. Instead, you can grow it in partial shade but the size of the flower will reduce. There is no need to use any shade cloth even if the temperature exceeds 80 Fahrenheit.
Stake and Support
Southern belle hibiscus is a top-heavy plant. Although it doesn’t require any support to stand still use some stakes of pole support in the first year. First-year is the crucial time for these plants. The roots and branches are still not strong enough to support the load of heavy bloom. So it is better to give a helping hand to your plant until it stands on its own.
Protection for animals and Pests attacks
Hibiscus are prone to many sucking bugs and pests. It is a warm-season plant that loves moisture and humidity. So do the insects and pests. Therefore you have to be cautious with any sign of pests infestation. In warm humid conditions, these pests like Aphids, mealybugs, and leaf-cutting beetles can become a huge problem.
So it is better to be careful than today sorry. Make a habit of regular inspection of the plants.
Turn the leaves and look out for any sign of tiny green bugs. Anything sticky can be a symptom of pests attack.
Use mild pesticides to control this insect. Instead, I would suggest using soap oil spray twice every week to get rid of these pests. This option is cheap and safe for your pets and kids.
Install some fences to avoid deer, rabbits, and wild hogs in your flower garden. They can destroy your garden in a single night.
Pruning and Deadheading
Both Pruning and Deadheading are essential for the health of any plant. You must remove dead spent flowers and leaves to keep the plant clean. These dead flowers can attract many pests and insects. It can become a playground for these harmful bugs. So deadheading through the growing season is necessary.
Use a sharp knife or a Shear or Prunner to avoid any wound infection. You should always clean your tools before and after Deadheading and pruning the plants.
Once the flowering season is over and now new buds are seen. Then Cut off or Prune back the southern belle plant to half of its size in the first year. Don’t worry it will grow back strong in the spring with lots of healthy branches.
You can prune the plant up to 70% height from the subsequent years. It is important to consider the health and size of the southern belle plant before pruning.
Keep the plants clean as much as you can. This will enhance the health and look of your southern belle hibiscus plants.
Use Mulching to Care for Southern Belle Hibiscus
Mulching is very important both during the growth period and at the end of the season. Use dry wood chips or peat moss to mulch the southern belle plant.
These mulch will prevent weed growth and prevent moisture loss due to excessive evaporation on summer days. It will keep the plant root warm and safe from frost throughout the long winter season.
Don’t forget to mulch heavily after running at the end of the season before the first frost. This mulch will protect the plant roots from cold winter. organic mulch can also feed the plants after decomposition in the spring season.
If you keep an eye on every phase of the southern belle plant growth then it will be easier to care for and maintain it efficiently. You just have to be cautious and punctual to act accordingly. I hope this article is helpful to understand the Care for Southern Belle Hibiscus.
Write down your thought and questions. I would love to answer as much as I can. Keep reading keep gardening!