Mesta (Hibiscus) is an annual plant from the Malvaceae family. Homeland Southeast Asia. the widespread species Hibiscus Chinese (or Chinese rose) and also Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis. The name was given by Karl Linnaeus and literally translates as the Rose of China. This species is the national flower of Malaysia. In the literature, this plant is found under the name Chinese rose. Sometimes hibiscus is confused with a room rose, but this is a completely different plant.
- Chinese Mesta is an evergreen shrub, at home from 70 to 1.5 m in height. Leaves are whole, ovate or lanceolate, with a serrated or wavy edge on long petioles. Hibiscus blooms quite easily with good care in large flowers, up to 12 cm in diameter. Flowering can be abundant and long – from spring to autumn, although the flowers do not last long – about two days. Flowers come in different shades – orange, yellow, red, pink or white, as well as in different shapes – simple or double.
- There are varieties with variegated leaves, for example, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis var. cooperi Cooper’s hibiscus (in the first photo) – it has elongated leaves (up to 10-12 cm long and 3 cm wide) and cream and pink specks on a light green background. It is very good to branch.
- Lipoid hibiscus Mesta tiliaceus is an evergreen tree with leaves shaped like those of a linden, round-oval, about 8-15 cm in diameter, simple or lobed, usually toothed. The flowers are large, five-petalled, similar to the flowers of abutilone, in the morning they are yellow, in the evening they turn red. There is a variegated form with variegated leaves.
Hibiscus is a wonderful plant to grow at home, suitable for beginner growers and blooms easily at an early age.
Mesta – home care
Mesta is one of the few plants that grow well at home, turning over the years into a sprawling shrub that can decorate the living room, bedroom, staircase, hallway, and if it has enough light, then please with annual flowering. Hibiscus is completely safe for children and animals – it has neither sharp thorns nor poisonous milky juice.
Hibiscus is thermophilic, although it is satisfied with any temperature that is optimal for growth of 20-25 ° C, at a higher temperature flowers fade faster, and in general, mesta easily adapts to any conditions. In the summer, it is better to take the plant out into the garden or on the balcony, into fresh air, but the place should be protected from the wind and a little shaded. In winter, a coolness of 15-18 ° C is desirable, if you leave the pot on a glazed (insulated) balcony, then you can hold it until mid-autumn, until the temperature drops to + 10 ° C, but watering is very strict. A decrease in temperature in winter is due to a decrease in illumination, the darker the plant, the more important it is to lower the temperature so that the bushes do not lose leaves. If you are unable to keep it cool, simply place lamps nearby.
Mesta loves bright, diffused light, for flowering at least 4 hours of direct sun in the morning or evening, and a very good, openwork light in the midday hours. Small hibiscuses grow on windowsills, but over time they do not have enough space here and have to rearrange the pots in the room. In this case, it is best to place the hibiscus close to the south window.
The requirements for the light of a rose tree are only in terms of flowering, if a deciduous tree is enough for you, the pot can be placed in diffused light or light partial shade (on the north side), perhaps occasionally it will bloom with lonely flowers. But if you want constant abundant flowering, you need a lot of light, additional lighting on cloudy days in winter, when the temperature is above 18 ° C. For supplementary lighting, LED or fluorescent lamps are suitable. To illuminate a tree from 80 cm to 1.2 m in height, you need about 2-3 LED bulbs with a conventional base, with a power of 15-20 W, placed on different sides of the crown.
Cooper’s hibiscus is more picky about light, turns the shoots clearly towards the light source, so you need to supplement or periodically turn them in different directions on the windowsill.
Watering and humidity
Mesta has a large leaf mass, a leaf surface with a thin epidermis, therefore it evaporates moisture very actively. That is why you should avoid leaving plants in the heat, you may simply not have time to water. And you need to water it often in the warm season, in spring and summer almost every day. Although the frequency of watering is not determined by the days of the week, but by the rate of drying of the soil, it should have time to dry in the upper third of the pot, and remain slightly damp inside.
- When the temperature drops, moisture evaporation is sharply reduced and watering should also become more rare – reduce watering in rainy cool weather in summer. And don’t forget to switch to a new irrigation system with heating on in the fall and the end of the heating season in the spring.
Hibiscus easily tolerates dry air, if you are an idealist, then know that this plant likes air humidity of 50-70%. If the hygrometer is below 30%, spraying should be started 2-3 times a day. If the pot is next to the radiator, cover it with a damp terry towel or sheet in winter. While the plants are small, they can be periodically carried to the bathroom under a warm or hot shower to wash off the dust. Try not to use leaf polish.
Topdressing begins 1.5-2 months after transplanting. It is necessary to give a complex fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in equal parts or slightly less nitrogen (for example, Fertika-Lux). Large doses of nitrogen, like organics, cause rapid foliage growth and delay flowering. It is very good if the fertilizer contains minerals that are no less important for flowering, for example, boron and zinc, as well as molybdenum, copper, and manganese. Topdressing can be carried out only during the period of active growth and flowering with an interval of two weeks. If in winter hibiscus continues to grow at home in warmth and good lighting, and perhaps even blooms, then you can feed it once a month. There are a lot of good fertilizers, choose those that are intended for flowering plants.
- In early spring, you can carry out foliar feeding: dilute 2 g of boric acid powder, 1 g of zinc sulfate, 2 tablets of succinic acid in 5 liters of water and spray all the leaves in the evening. Repeat in a month.
- From May to August, you can feed with potassium humate: 1 teaspoon of potassium humate per 5 liters of warm water. Water once a month.
Young hibiscus should be transplanted into fresh soil annually. Often, in this case, you have to increase the pot if the root ball no longer fits in the old one. The growth rate of hibiscus depends on the conditions, the better the microclimate develops in your house, the more vigorously the hibiscus grows, and the better the light, the more responsive it blooms. Together with the growth in height, the trunk thickens in the hibiscus, at the age of ten it is about 2.5-3 cm thick in diameter. The root system also grows, it is quite powerful and dense, a large tree needs a large flowerpot (15-20 liters) or a small wooden tub.
If the conditions in the apartment are such that hibiscus does not grow in autumn and winter, then it is possible that there will be no need to increase the pot in a year.
What to plant Mesta in: a round, plastic or ceramic pot with large holes in the bottom. If there are no holes for water drainage in a tub or a large flowerpot and a pallet is not provided, you need to make a very high drainage (from expanded clay or polystyrene, pieces of 2 cm). If in an ordinary pot it is about 2-5 cm (from size), then in a tub without holes it is all 10 cm.
- Soil for young hibiscus: 1 part sod land, 1 part leaf, 1 part fine gravel or pebbles (3-5 mm), 1/2 part humus.
- Soil for adult (over 5 years old) hibiscus: 2 parts of sod land, 1 part of humus, 1 part of gravel or pebbles (3-5 mm), 1/3 part of vermiculite.
- Universal version: 5 l of peat soil Terra Vita living earth, 1 l of vermiculite, 1 l of small pebbles (3-5 mm) + 100-200 g of vermicompost.
Surely you have seen somewhere in an office or kindergarten a Chinese rose tree, planted in roadside soil, dense and cemented over the years. Indeed, hibiscus is not very demanding on the soil, but this only applies to our hibiscus, obtained from cuttings from a grandmother. And if you happen to buy a Dutch copy, he will not tolerate such treatment.
Greenhouse-grown Dutch or Polish hibiscus are more demanding to care for. They need the right soil, well-drained, loose, easily absorbing water and evaporating quickly. They prefer a slightly acidic reaction – pH 5.5-6. Dutch (store) hibiscus does not tolerate dampness or dryness!
Reproduction of mesta
The cuttings are rooted in water, if the cut is long, you need to cut off part of the lower leaves, you can leave 1-2 leaves at the top. When the cuttings grow 3-4 cm roots, transplant them into small pots, 8-10 cm in diameter. Better yet, plant the cuttings in small plastic transparent cups. When a large accumulation of roots becomes noticeable through the wall, you can transplant into a suitable pot. Hibiscus is propagated by cuttings. Rooting itself is not a problem – at any time of the year if it is warm and light. And formative pruning is carried out at any time during the growth period, you can repeatedly pinch the ends of the shoots.
You can root the cuttings in pure vermiculite or a mixture of vermiculite and universal peat soil. But the substrate must be sterilized.
Personal experience, Marla: “I plant hibiscus cuttings in a peat tablet, first dipping them into the root, so in two weeks the roots stick out of it. Then I immediately transplant them into a pot. I cut off almost everything, leave one or two if the second is large – then I cut it in half so that less moisture evaporates and does not waste energy. By the way, it is always better and faster to form the roots of cuttings from young twigs.”
If the soil contains a lot of drainage particles (pebbles or gravel, vermiculite), good holes in the bottom of the pot and bottom drainage, then the pot can be taken with a small margin. But if the soil is dense, after watering it forms a dense lump, in a large pot there is a threat to flood the plant.
With excessive watering or when the earthen coma dries out, flowers and buds may also fall off, but the main indicator is the state of the leaves. If mesta leaves turn yellow, you need to check:
- soil in a pot, to a depth of 5-7 cm, if it is damp – you pour the plant, if it is dry and the pot has become very light, then dry
- pay attention, the leaves are elastic or sag: from drying, the leaves can droop, the flowers instantly dry out and fall off, but after watering the turgor (elasticity) is restored
- if the top of the cutting or the ends of the branches drooped – most likely, you are flooding the plants
- pay attention to the nature of the spots – if these are yellow spots in the middle of the leaf, marble yellowing without clear boundaries – look for pests: tick, scale insect, scale insects
Store hibiscus can be more capricious to rearrangement: during a set of buds and flowering, they do not move or turn, as this causes the buds or flowers to fall off.