Sue Sanderson

Sue Sanderson – our horticulturist expert

Sue Says
It is possible to move an established shrub although reduce the size of your Hibiscus first as this will help it to cope with the move. Reducing the leaf mass will reduce the amount of water lost through transpiration. Ideally the size of the shrub should reduced over a couple of years, by about a third each time. Prune in early spring, just above a set of leaves or above a node. Once the shrub has been reduced in size, it can be moved it to its new home. It’s best to do this when the plant is dormant between autumn and late winter (November-February). Prepare the new planting hole before begining to lift the Hibiscus from its current position. Make sure the shrub is water well the previous day and tie in any stems to avoid damaging them during lifting. Choose a cool overcast day to prevent the roots from drying out too quickly. Give the main stem a wide berth and aim to lift as big a root ball out as possible, so as not to disturb the roots. Any large roots that cannot be lifted should be cleanly cut with a knife or saw. Wrap the root ball in a damp hessian sack to hold it together and prevent the smaller roots from drying out. Re-plant the Hibiscus in its new home immediately. Dig plenty of organic matter (well rotted manure or garden compost) into the new planting hole, and insert a sturdy stake to prevent the plant rocking during windy weather. Firm the plant into its new hole and water well every day, especially in dry periods until the plant has re-established. Mulching around the plant as well will help to retain moisture at the roots. When moving mature plants there are no guarantees that they will survive. Before undertaking this task take cuttings from fresh new growth in the summer, and propagate some new plants just in case! Although they will take some years to reach the size of the large Hibiscus, a small, younger plant will establish in the new position quickly and easily.

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