Saving the Hibiscus

Nurturing the garden and voyaging to the ally dumpster to discard garden materials that I did not desire in my compost bin when I couldn’t help but noticing a blossom peeping out in the bushes close to a dumpster.


I ambled over for a closer look and discovered it was a hibiscus plant. This eye-catching crepe-papery flower in shade of a delicate lavender (purple) blossom was begging ‘please save me’, so I thought. Other bushes that seem too overpowering surrounded the plant. The tiny blossom somehow managed to peep through. Upon investigation, it was obvious that the root system embedded under a bit of concrete pose difficulty to remove the plant with roots intact.

I gathered a few garden tools that I planned to use to help in getting to the root system and unearth the plant that was begging “save me.”

With garden shears, I cut away all the other bushes that were crowding the hibiscus plant and made room so that I could maneuver. With a garden trowel, and a round-edged digging shovel, I tried lifting out the concrete, but to no avail. The shovel was too big for the tiny area that I was working with and the garden trowel not strong enough for the job. Therefore, I retrieved a small curved crowbar from my husband’s toolbox. This would do the job I thought to myself. I only need to use the crowbar as a lever to raise the concrete and remove it to reveal the plant’s roots. 20170730_112530_HDR_Signature

Thankfully, I did not have to break the concrete with a sledgehammer or anything like that. The crowbar was sufficient to pry under the concrete. Applying some pressure the piece of concrete gave very slowly. A little more pressure and I were able to remove a nice piece of the concrete that was resting on the roots. The roots were now in sight but still edged up against a much larger piece of concrete. Using the garden trowel, I did the best I could to get some of the root systems up with the plant. If left alone this plant would be a victim of clean up efforts. It would be sad to see such a beautiful plant go to waste. It could find a permanent spot in my garden. Can you think of all the beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds 20170730_112839_HDR_Signaturethat could drink from its nectar source? I can.

The neighbors had moved out and the yard has been unkempt. I looked around to see if any of the other neighbors had hibiscus in their yard. Not a garden was in sight. Only one yard had a few lilies but nothing like a real garden. How it got here remains a mystery. I can only assume it is a perennial and if I am able to save it, then it should come back next year.

I took the plant home with the little root system I was able to hollow out with it. To prevent the leaves from fading I put the plant in a bucket of water and decided to pot it later when the sun was not so high in the sky. Plant in the bucket of water remained in the shade for later.


I only had a few options in what to do with the plant. Two plans came to mind, Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A: Prepare a pot for the plant. Cut back some of the limbs to enable the plant to sustain itself with its limited root system. Then plant it later in the afternoon.

Plan B: Prepare a pot for the plant. Keep all the limbs. Plant it later in the afternoon and anticipate that it will survive.

A rather tempting thought to cut back some of the limbs, but I could not see myself robbing the plant of all the beautiful buds that was getting ready to bloom if I am able to save it. On to Plan B, since I was not able to deprive the plant of all those beautiful buds.

I remembered reading about the use of cinnamon to promote root system for cuttings. Since I did not have any rooting hormone I decided to try the cinnamon. I sprinkled cinnamon all over the root area some in the soil and planted the hibiscus. I then watered the plant thoroughly. In my attempt to excavate the roots away from the concrete I could prevent some of the root systems from bruising.

Well in a few days we will see if this will work. I will keep you posted. According to the experts on gardening, the cinnamon gives plants a head start and act as a rooting hormone, help to prevent disease and infection while it is taking root.

Well, rooting is not the only thing that I have to take into consideration. The plant has been traumatized uprooting it from where it was growing and the hot humid temperatures in the Midwest will take its toll on it. Therefore, the decision to put the pot in a location where it would get a lot of shade for most of the day was ideal.

Day 1 – 7/31/2017: I visited the plant after one full day in its new location. It is a little droopy but still hanging in. Will see how it looks at the end of Day 2.

Day 2 – 8/1/2017: 85° Fahrenheit. I am wondering how the hibiscus plant is doing. It was in its new environment, west wall of the house, and should not have any direct sun until in the afternoon. In hopes that the outdoor umbrella should shade it for some hours before the sun hits it. I guess I will see later how well it did. I am being hopeful.20170802_194040_HDR~2_Signature

Evening Checking In: The hibiscus is not out the woods as yet. A little droopy still, but looked the same as the previous day.

The rains came and beat upon its leaves. Rain is like medicine to plants. Soft water with some added nitrate instead of treated tap water. How refreshing for the plants. We will see what changes if any on Day 3.

Day 3 – 7 – 8/3/2017 through 8/7/2017: The plant showed very little progress over the course of the week. However, a few of the buds did bloom out despite the leaves hanging down and drying up.

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