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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Braided Hibiscus

    I couldn't resist it. I went back to Walmart and bought one of those braided hibiscus. Now, I just need to figure out how they managed to braid them.

    Here's a link to a picture of the braid:

    Braided Hibiscus

    The plant was in a 1 gallon pot, and it was definitely not root bound. I upgraded it to a 3 gallon pot and added polymer crystals because hibiscus do not like their roots to dry out.

    Anyone ever tried braiding plant stems before? Any tips for me?
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    598
    Good picture except we can't see the bottom.

    Take a careful look at the base of the plant. Can you determine if it is one plant or three? I would think a cluster of three would be simple to braid. You would probably need to root them together, or put them together soon after rooting to get the trunks close together.

    They look to have been planned to be sold at this particular age, and were braided in a loose fashion in order for them to grow to this size before touching.

    If they are forced to reach for the light, by placing them where the only source was up high, then they would develop long whips, especially if all attempts to develop side branches were discouraged with frequent pruning.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Good Point, Tom

    Tom,

    I checked and there are four separate branches going into the soil. The trunk is 12 inches high, and there is about 12 inches of top growth. The height of the plant from soil level is 24 inches.

    It appears that they took 13-14 inch cuttings, then braided them, probably tied them with rubber bands or something at the bottom. The top of the braid is held together with green stretchy plastic florist tape.

    All the growth on the trunk looks like it was removed at the time the cuttings were made. The cuttings are a substantial size diameter for an hibiscus, about 3/8 inch diameter. All of the top is fairly new growth which makes me think they were braided when they were that thick. Perhaps they soaked the branches in water to make them more pliable.

    The fact that the plant wasn't root bound indicates that new growth wasn't used. What do you think?

    The only hibiscus I have with that large of stems is the double red hibiscus that I bring in for protection every winter. This one is in a 15 gallon pot. I have another one with thick stems, but it stays outdoors, and it is herbaceous.

    I think I will give it a try. Looks like fun.

    Thanks, Tom!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    Santee-Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
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    braided plants

    I've seen this done with tree like house plants and fruit trees as well. A fruit grower near here has a fence that was done by braiding and grafting. It is essentually one completly connected tree with twenty trunks (about 3 ft apart) the tops are woven and grafted to form a series of circles the tops of which have green apples and the bottoms red apples. Also saw a flowering crab with two limbs bent to form a circle, they had grown together at the top -- like grafting. It looked like a lollypop.
    Jim Lang

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    221

    hibiscus-to braid /not to braid

    Ann-thanks for getting on this hibiscus topic. My little Galaxy seedlings are taking off like stink, starting to pot up the plugs into 3.5 in. pots as we speak (almost!).

    Do you think that such long cuttings will work, Ann. I have no experience with hibiscus-I guess they are fairly easy to root, but still not many plants can root more than a 6-7 in. cutting, or so I thought.

    I guess the hibiscus you have would be the rosa-sinensis (tropical) type? Mine are supposed to be hardy to at least zone 6 (moscheutos), apparently there has been quite a bit of breeding done crossing with hardier species to get these hybrid strains.

    Well, so far I'm just raising a few dozen to see what they look like, then intend to start lots this summer to overwinter and place in containers for sale next spring. From what I've heard, they are quite spectacular, and important for me-not commonly seen in this area.

    Having fun--Glen in BC

  6. #6
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    Hibiscus rosa sinensis

    Glen,

    The braided one is tropical, Hibiscus rosa sinensis, but most of mine are either from cuttings from friends or purchased plants with no information.

    The label on this one says medium to high light, not to be planted outdoors below 50 degrees. It was in the low 40's this morning, and I didn't bring it indoors because I know it will take an occassional cold snap like this one.

    Also, in the heat of the summer, they need more water, and if they appear to be suffering from too much heat, I move them to morning sun. I always upgrade them to a larger pot and use polymer crystals.

    They are usually easy to propagate from semi-hardwood cuttings, but I have about 60 cuttings of a single red one that is thriving with new growth and blooming despite the fact that none appear to have roots. I am hoping they will root when the temps in my greenhouse stay above 60 degrees. I may have to cut them again and restick them if they don't form roots soon. The cuttings came from two potted plants at Hunter's school that were left outdoors during Christmas holidays and were subjected to hard freezes. The freeze didn't kill the plant, but it was in bad need of pruning and the principle asked me to help. I brought the cuttings home, hoping to make more plants for the school. This was in January.

    I have not tried softwood cuttings, but may try that in the next month or so. I slit the bottom of the semi-hardwood vertically, so they can get more to drink. The semi-hardwood stems will live a long time in water, but I have never had them root in water.

    When you bring them indoors for the winter, you will want to keep an eye out for aphids. Spraying with insecticidal soap before bringing them indoors will help. Check the undersides of the leafs to make sure no more hatch out.

    As far as the length of the cuttings go, the first ones that I did were given to me by a neighbor. They were double red and double peach and quite long cuttings, much longer than 12 inches. I remember sticking them without cutting them anymore because she gave me so many, and I was short on pots and space. In fact, I put 3 in each 1 gallon pot, then transplanted them as they formed roots and gave most away.

    Some varieties seem to root faster than others, so patience is key, and just make sure they are not allowed to dry out.

    Have FUN, Glen! Keep me posted as to how you do....
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  7. #7
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    Home Depot Braided Hibiscus

    Glen,

    Home Depot had even larger braided hibiscus, in 10 inch decorator type pots. Sorry, but there wasn't a price on them yet. They were much taller than the others, and the stems were 1/2 inch diameter.

    I've gotta give this a try...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    221

    braided hibiscus

    Ann-thanks for your sleuthing re. the hibiscus!

    Did you ever happen to see a price on the decorator pots of braided hibiscus? I love the idea of these large containers ready to put out on patios and beside walkways, but they would take quite a bit of work and even the tubs are quite pricey. They would have to be fairly expensive once they got to retail (?)

    Do you think the braids would be created with the freshly made cuttings, then stuck direct in a jumbo square or 1 gal. pot in the propagating area to root? That's my idea, coz it would be hard on the new little plants to try and braid them once they started some roots (?) This is one of those things that I love to play around with, since it isn't my livelihood (yet), just fun to do and who knows what we might figure out!

    Never rooted a hibiscus in my life, but I hope with mist and bottom heat we'll have a few figured out later on this year. First, I've got to raise these seedlings to get something to work with--doing great so far--Glen in BC

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    598
    Glen,
    You will not have a problem rooting cuttings from a tropical hibiscus. If kept in a warm environment, they put on new growth year round. Last summer I did a savere pruning job on a large one and stuck a few cuttings in sand, outdoors, in the shade and watered/sprayed them once or twice a day (most days) and they all rooted, some even bloomed. In Dec a friend visiting was impressed with them blooming and took a cutting. She put it in a cup with potting soil and put the cup and all in a large baggie, and it rooted and bloomed in about 3 months. Just strip off most of the leaves when you plant them and they should do fine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Western Michigan near Muskegon
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    Braided hibiscus

    Hi,
    Finally seen with my own eyes these braided hibiscus you all are talking about. Seen them at our local Sam's Club. I was going to purchase one (or 2) but they need to be broght in and have nowhere to keep it. (No greenhouse yet!)
    They looked healthy and there were double peach colored and single yellow. Maybe the other way around. Had 2 picked out they were 12.97 ea. in 2 gal. pots, but decided not to. They had single curly stemmed ones, 2 stems, 3 stems, and 4 stems. 3 ft. tall or so.

    They were cool. Have you guys tried it yet or found out how they do it. Also couldn't you use any number of different bushes? or a mix of similar growing, flowering ones?
    Happy Growing,
    Vicki in West. Mich.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 8 Northern Florida
    Posts
    55
    I was given many cuttings last fall that were not even 3". It took a long time for them to root, but they were blooming anyway. By March they had rooted. I set a few of them outside, but still have several in the greenhouse in gallon pots. They are about 11/2 feet tall. Unfortunately I don't have a clue what kind they are and wondered if you could mix them up to make a braid. Some of them appear to be of the same species, as the leaves are the same, but different color flower.
    Any thought on this?
    Judi K.

  12. #12
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    Thumbs up Good Gardeners Think Alike!

    Judi,

    You won't believe this! I was thinking about the very same thing this morning. I wondered why there aren't any like that on the market. What a pleasant surprise you would have every time it bloomed!

    In January, I took some cuttings from two large ones at Hunter's school. They had been left outside during the Christmas holidays and had lost most of their leaves. The principle asked if there was anything I could do to save them. I checked, and sure enough, the stems were still alive.

    When I went back to the school, I carried buckets of water and my new Felco pruners and pruned each stem about half way. I put the cuttings in water, took them home and potted them and put them in the greenhouse.

    All winter long, they were blooming and forming new leaves, but no roots. Since I had so many cuttings, I put most in cell packs. Now, large white roots are coming out the tops of the cells.

    It amazed me how they survived during the cold, only to root like crazy once warm weather arrived.

    I still haven't figured out how they are able to get such large stems braid so nicely. If anyone does, please let us know... The braid is so much prettier than the standard tree form, and even prettier than the the curved tree form.

    If I could figure out how it is done, I would definitely like to try the multiple colors in one braid!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  13. #13
    I've toyed around with braiding plants and have done a few different ones. At my house mulberries are running rampant so for fun I turned some into braids. You have to be diligent about taking off the side shoots to the point you want the braid to stop. A landscaper came by one day and saw the little braids of about 5' tall and bought them all for $20 a piece. Now it did take me a couple of years to get them this tall and I could have probably gotten more for them but to be honest I have such a problem with mulberry trees I would have given them away before they fruited and I had even more trees. Have fun Ann with your hibiscus and try any type of plant with a woody stem you may come up with something quite special from just plain old junk plants. Right now I plant on braiding my Rose of Sharon's I have in a pot right now. Kim

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    What FUN! I found this video today and remembered this thread and another...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNgBQFn1hSE
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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