How to grow cottonwood hibiscus trees

Growing cottonwood hibiscus trees

Cottonwood Hibiscus also known as Hibiscus tiliaceus rubra, is a rounded medium sized Australian native tree with heart shaped,deep green to red foliage. During spring this tree produces attractive pastel yellow flowers that stand out against the dark foliage. Cottonwood hibiscus it is well accustomed to Australia’s ever-changing climate meaning it is extremely hardy and will tolerate our often harsh conditions.

If you have ever wondered how to grow cottonwood hibiscus in Perth then look no further. Cottonwood hibiscus are a relatively easy tree to grow, and there are a few tricks to successfully growing cottonwood hibiscus in Perth, Western Australia. Get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant cottonwood hibiscus trees in Australia:
You can plant cottonwood hibiscus most months of the year, but it’s best to plant cottonwood hibiscus during autumn. This will allow your plant time to establish roots before winter.

How much water do cottonwood hibiscus trees need:
In the warmer parts of Australia like Perth I recommend watering cottonwood hibiscus deeply, one to two times a week, depending on weather conditions.

How long can cottonwood hibiscus trees live:
Cottonwood hibiscus trees are thought to be able to live up to 50 years however it is more common for them to live for 10-20 years. Cottonwood hibiscus trees can reach a height of 4–10m.

How to prune cottonwood hibiscus:
Prune your cottonwood hibiscus by about 30cm. Cut every branch back by that much to produce another flush of fabulous flowers in autumn.

How far apart to plant cottonwood hibiscus:
When planting cottonwood hibiscus it is best to plant them 2m apart if you are planning on planting multiple as a hedge or screening arrangement.

How fast do cottonwood hibiscus grow:
Cottonwood hibiscus is a relatively fast growing shrub with dense foliage. Plants will grow to approximately 4 – 6m quite quickly. Great if you’re looking for a fast growing screening plant. Cottonwood hibiscus is a great option if you a looking for a plant that grows quite well in Perth and the Southwest and can tolerate coastal and windy conditions.

How to cottonwood hibiscus trees at home:
If you are wondering how to plant a cottonwood hibiscus tree in the garden then look no further. Growing cottonwood hibiscus trees in the backyard has become increasingly popular over recent years.

  1. Choose a spot in the garden that receives full sun or part shade. Enrich the well drained soil with a high quality potting mix or soil improver. If your soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the hibiscus shrub from the pot, gently tease the roots. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down the topsoil.
  3. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant’s root zone. This helps keep water where it’s needed at the base of the tree. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk to avoid the risk of any diseases.
  5. Water deeply, one to two times a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed every 6-8 weeks from spring to mid autumn with a Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver Plant Fertiliser and weekly with liquid plant food for flowers.

How to grow cottonwood hibiscus trees in pots:
Growing cottonwood hibiscus trees in pots is a great idea if you want to grow a relatively small cottonwood hibiscus tree. I love to grow cottonwood hibiscus trees in pots because it gives you the flexibility to move them around the yard for maximum impact.

  1. Choose a pot at least 60cm wide. Position in full sun to part shade and fill with quality potting mix.
  2. Remove the hibiscus from the pot, gently tease the roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down the topsoil. Water in well.
  4. Once planted, keep the plant well watered, but don’t let the water sit in a saucer at the base of the pot.
  5. Feed weekly with liquid plant food for flowers during the spring.

How to propagate cottonwood hibiscus trees:
Propagating cottonwood hibiscus trees by cutting is a good option if you have a friend with a tree. The best time to propagate cotton hibiscus is in early spring or with temperature of 20-26C and better before the plant start to grow after the dormant period over winter. Choose stems that not going to bloom, cut a stem around 20-30cm in length. Plant in a high quality potting mix with moist peat soil, I like to dip the end in some root hormone to help the root growth. If you have a greenhouse then I recommend to use green house or a makeshift version plastic box with holes it. It should take 3-4 weeks for you cutting to start to grow. Once it has established fro 3-4 months you can then transplant to the desired location or to a new pot.

How to transplant a cottonwood hibiscus:
Sometime your hibiscus will outgrow its current home. This or other reasons might lead you to want to transplant your hibiscus to a different spot.

Happily the process is pretty easy. First take a look and see how wide your plants canopy is. This is a good way to try to determine how big your root ball is. Carefully dig in and gently around the plants in a circular fashion building off your root ball.

It is important to not try to lift your plant too early. Once it feels nice and loose you’re ready to lift the plant up out of the ground again be careful to maintain as much of the root ball as possible.

Make sure your new hole is about the size of the root ball it’s very important not to plant the plant too deeply if it is too deep it can have troubles later on.It is important to fill in with the soil that you dug out of the hole a lot of people want to fill in with new fresh soil but your plant will perform better with the old soil that’s right around it. Pack the soil so you have good soil to root contact. Water it in and then your cottonwood hibiscus is ready to thrive in its new location.

How to fertilise cottonwood hibiscus trees:
Fertilise with hibiscus fertiliser or use a complete organic fertiliser. Look for one that’s fairly high in nitrogen and potassium and follow the directions on the bag.

When do cottonwood hibiscus trees bloom:
A common question a lot of first time planters will ask is when does a cottonwood hibiscus tree flower? The cottonwood hibiscus, flowers in the springtime. The flowers are yellow with a red centre.

How to care for cottonwood hibiscus:
There are really only three things required to care for cottonwood hibiscus. First mulch and water well, second prune after flowering and lastly fertilise in spring. Do these three things and your cottonwood hibiscus should thrive.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

1 thought on “How to grow cottonwood hibiscus trees”

  1. I am having trouble with Cottonwoods growing in the SW of WA.
    They are nearly 2 years old and still only hip height.
    They have regular water (8L/watering twice per week) and ecogrowth fertiliser monthly.
    They had a setback about 12 months ago from the mainroads spraying what I think was Glyphosate but they all have new growth now, just not growing!!

    Please help.


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