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Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:36 am
by Spudboy
Planted a small (40 cm) Hibisicus Tiliaceus Rubra in my west-facing front yard over 18 months ago. Thought I did everything right; dug the hole nice and wide, added a bit of gypsum and organic matter (good compost) gave it a soak of soil tonic, babied it through the heat of summer with water and mulch, but most importantly chose what is supposed to be a hardy and fast growing tree.

It has had just about zero growth in all this time. Probably shrunk, as a few of the tips withered in the summer heat last year and haven't regenerated. Late this winter I carefully dug around the perimeter of the hole to make sure it wasn't root-bound. Seemed fine, with lots of small, outward roots.

New buds appeared in the spring, but they aren't amounting to any new growth. The darn thing just sits there, neither growing or dying, or looking particularly healthy. I was hoping we'd be on our way to a nice shady tree in the front by now. Instead there's just a leafy stick one of the kids is probably going to trod on.

Any suggestions? If the answer is "start over", any advice as to when? Summer heat is here.

(P.S. Hopefully this has been posted in the right category. It's often referred to as "Native Hibiscus".)

Re: Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:50 am
by Pam
You have mentioned nothing about feeding it? If you haven't done so it would no doubt help a lot.

Re: Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:11 am
by Spudboy
I gave it a feed of seaweed fertilizer in the spring at the recommended dose, and topped up the compost and mulch, all with no noticeable results. Is there a better fertilizer for this particular plant?

Re: Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:10 am
by Pam
Seaweed solution isn't really a fertiliser as such. It's more of a soil tonic - helps to create healthy soil, which in turn does benefit plant growth, but isn't enough in itself.

Any all-purpose fertilizer would be fine. As they are not a member of the proteaceae family they are not phosphorus intolerant like grevilleas, banksias etc.

Re: Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:03 am
by Spudboy
Thanks, Pam. I'll expand the fertilizing regime and see what happens before I decide to start over next spring.

Re: Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:19 am
by Pam
What's your soil like, Spudboy?

Re: Hibiscus Tiliaceus won't grow!

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:06 pm
by Spudboy
It looked okay when I did my exploratory dig around the tree in late winter; nice and dark and friable. I hope I can tell you more if I get my soil testing kit for Christmas! But generally speaking, the soils in the Adelaide eastern suburbs are clay.