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Hidden Valley Hibiscus
Growers & Hybridizers of Exotic, Tropical Hibiscus
Volume 14, Issue 6
July 2013

News from Hidden Valley Hibiscus


Exotic Hibiscus 'Whimsy' is a Super Bloomer!

Exotic Hibiscus 'Star of India' in Page Border



'Sea Spray'


'Red Cape'


'Lemon Drop Kid'

Greetings to all our Fellow Hibiscus Lovers!

It's mid-summer and our hibiscus are in full bloom. Now is the time to hone our care-taking skills, watch for pests, and enjoy our flowers. For our first article, we thought you might enjoy A Visit to the HVH Greenhouse. The greenhouse is overflowing with plants and bursting into bloom all over the greenhouse at this time of year.

Our second article, Help! My Hibiscus has Stopped Blooming! will help you figure out what's going wrong if you're not getting any flowers. This is the number one reason people email us at this time of year, and we thought it would be easiest to answer everyone at once in our newsletter.

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to see our newest Seedling of the Month!

Happy summer blooming to all!

Charles & Cindy Black



'Orange Truffle'


'Spring Showers'


'Blushing Peach'



 

A Visit to the HVH Greenhouse


Come visit the HVH greenhouse! There it is over the hill and down in a deep canyon admidst acres of avocado trees. We'll put the truck in 4-wheel drive, and down we go!



Hibiscus flowers greet us at the door.


Each year, our greenhouse looks more and more like a jungle, with bigger plants, taller plants, and MORE plants. It's green, green from floor to ceiling.


 

 

 

Here's Charlie, busy at work hybridizing, planting, coaxing baby hibiscus plants to root and grow. He does a good job, because the hibiscus are 8 feet tall in many places, and every one of them started from either a seed or a teeny wood graft or cutting.


 

 

 

 

Here I am, Cindy, stealing some time from work to play with the flowers. There are plenty to play with! Hibiscus flowers are EVERYWHERE as you can see below!



The hibiscus plants are so tall and the flowers are so high over my head that I'm climbing on tall pots and ladders to take pictures of them. I have to push my way through plants that have grown across all the aisles. It's dark and shady down at my 5'3" level, and it feels like I'm trekking through the Amazon.


 

 

 

This is the nursery, where all our baby plants start. It's climate controlled, humid, warm, shady and perfectly managed for baby hibiscus plants.



These are our big, 2-gallon plants and the plants we call "stock plants" - the ones we use to propagate new baby plants. There are always lots of flowers on these plants!





These are our baby seedlings - the new hybrids that we will grow and evaluate. Less than 10% of them will end up being marketable hibiscus varieties. The rest, sadly, will have to go to hibiscus heaven. But for now, we watch and care for them tenderly, nursing each new flower and bush to see what each brand new hibiscus variety will produce.



Thank you for accompanying us on our little greenhouse tour! Some day in the next few years we will have a greenhouse that vistors can come to. Until then, we hope you enjoy our pictures!


 



 

Help! My Hibiscus has Stopped Blooming!


Exotic Hibiscus 'Song Sung Blue' Blooming on a 2-Gallon Plant

At this time of year, our HVH inbox gets flooded with emails that say, "Help! My hibiscus plants are healthy, green, and growing, but I have no flowers. What should I do?" We have all the answers you need on our website, but in case you can't find them, we thought we would help point our readers in the right direction.

If your plants are babies, then it's normal for them not to bloom. Many hibiscus like to be 3-4 feet tall before they start to bloom, and a few varieties are very slow to start blooming. If your hibiscus is young and has not yet bloomed, then don't worry. It is expending its energy on growing leaves instead of producing flowers. When it feels strong, big, and healthy enough, it will start blooming.

However... if your hibiscus is already big and several months or a year old, it should be blooming in mid-summer. If it isn't blooming, read on!

"My hibiscus make buds, but the buds fall off before they bloom."

Thrips!

It's midsummer, the peak of the season for a nearly invisible little flying insect called thrips. These annoying little pests fly off of many, many different flowering plants and weeds, and lay their eggs in our lovely, developing hibiscus buds. Sadly, the eggs hatch and the larvae kill the bud before it finishes developing, with the result that we see fallen buds all over the ground and no flowers.

Fortunately thrips are easy to get rid of. We have complete directions on the Thrips Page of our website. You'll find all the help you need there to prevent and treat this obnoxious little pest. If you don't have thrips, you may want to go ahead and treat your plants anyway, just as a preventative measure. Thrips are one of the most universal garden pests, and this is one of the cases where prevention is easy and saves a lot of heartbreak in the form of fallen hibiscus buds.

 

"My hibiscus aren't making any buds at all."

Sun, Water, and Fertilizer

There are three main things that hibiscus need in order to make buds: the right amount of sun, enough water, and enough of the right kind of fertilizer. So if your hibiscus aren't making any buds at this time of year, look at each of these three possibilities. These are so important that we have a page for each of these areas in the Care Section of our website. Click the links below to find the help and answers you need in each area:

How Much Sun do Hibiscus Need?

Watering Hibiscus

Feeding and Fertilizing

Good luck and happy blooming!



Exotic Hibiscus 'Reflection'
Exotic Hibiscus 'Reflection'

 

Seedling of the Month...

'Reflection'

Our July Seedling of the Month is a multi-colored single named 'Reflection.' The 6-8" hibiscus flower blooms with a blue body surrounding a soft pink eye. The ruffly orange and yellow edge sets off the flower in unique and interesting ways at different times of the year. 'Reflection' is an orphan seedling of questionable parentage. Every now and then we find a stray seed left behind on the floor or table with no pod, no tag, and no parent names. These are usually throw-away seeds, but for some reason, we went ahead and planted this little seed. Our little orphan grew into our beautiful 'Reflection,' and makes this flower extra special for us. 'Reflection' will be available for sale in 2014.


Exotic Hibiscus 'Reflection'
Exotic Hibiscus 'Reflection'