Rose of China (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in Latin) is an exotic-looking shrub with its vivid colored flowers. It may also be known as Chinese hibiscus, Hawaiian hibiscus, rose mallow, and shoeblack plant. Rose of China looks very enchanting, and it is even accepted as the national flower in Malaysia and Haiti.
1. General information for Rose of China Plant
Rose of China is a perennial plant species that belongs to the Malvaceae family. It is an evergreen bushy and flowering shrub; if not pruned, it can grow to look like a small tree. Even though its origin is unknown, it is widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.
This beautiful plant has shiny, toothed, dark green leaves in an oval shape. Its solitary, trumpet-shaped flowers have red, orange, pink, white, or yellow petals with a single long staminal pollen stalk in the center. It starts to bloom by mid-spring until fall. The flowers last only for a day. But don’t worry, because it gives new flowers frequently. Since it is highly cultivated, the color selection for the flowers is broad. The flowers can be as large as 10 cm (4 in) in diameter.
Rose of China can grow 2.5 to 5 m (8 to 16 ft) in height, and it can spread 1.5 to 3 m (5 to 10 ft) width. Therefore, it is necessary to prune it regularly to keep the right size for indoor cultivation. As it ages, its green branches turn greyish and become woody.
The brewed flowers of Rose of China are believed to be medically healing, which is also known as hibiscus tea. You should collect the closed flowers without separating the calycle and dry them. Then, add the dried flowers to boiled water and let it brew for ten minutes to make tea. This tea is rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. It helps lower high blood pressure, balance bad cholesterol, and support the immune system against the common cold with its high anti-oxidants.
Even if it has benefits for humans, Rose of China is believed to be poisonous for pets. Even though there is not enough support for it, you may want to be careful and keep the plant in a place that your loved pets cannot reach.
2. How to Care for Shoeblackplant (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) Plant
Rose of Chine loves sunlight, but not directly. It is best to keep your plant in semi-shadowed areas, but do not leave it in the dark, ever!
It is vital to water your Rose of China when it blooms. Water it as frequently as 4-5 days, and do not let the soil dry for too long. During the hot days of summer, you must spray water on the leaves to keep them refreshed. In winter, it can and should stay dry for longer times.
This plant doesn’t like dry air at all. Especially in the heating season, most homes have arid air. So, it might be a good idea to use a humidifier to keep humidity at an optimum level which is beneficial for your skin too!
Rose of China comes from tropical areas, and it is not resistant to cold weather. It does not tolerate temperatures lower than 8-10 °C (46-50 °F). The ideal temperature for healthy growth is between 15° – 24°C (60° – 75°F). Because of that, it is an excellent indoor plant if you live in cold climates. In warmer climates, it can be cultivated in gardens or balconies.
Any all-purpose potting soil is enough for Rose of China, but it grows better in soils rich in organic matters.
To avoid root bound, you should change your plant’s pot once a year. So, it is best to use a planter that fits the size of your plant. If the planter is too big, the plant will give more energy to grow its roots which slows down growth on top.
In the growing season (spring and summer), it is beneficial to feed your plant every one to two weeks because it likes feeding very much. In winter, reduce the frequency of feeding to once a month or less, depending on the condition of your plant.
Rose of China can easily be cultivated by stem cutting. You should start the propagation process in spring or early summer. Cut 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) of a young and green stem, make sure you remove the bottom leaves and flowers/ flower buds. Insert the cut branch in a pot or tray with moist growing mix. Place the pot in a warm and humid space. It usually takes some time, but when your stems produce new leaves, you can transfer them to their respective flowerpots.
When cultivated indoors, your plant should not have long, extended branches. It is better to prune it before or in early spring to keep it in shape and promote healthy growth.
3. Keep in Mind: Common Problems
The most common problems for your Chinese hibiscus are bugs and insects. If it is not healthy, it will become an attraction center. Mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids, and red spider mites are harmful pests that can attack your plant.
Suggestions for problems
The best answer is prevention! Ensure that you provide the proper humidity and temperature conditions for your plant to stay healthy. Moreover, check the leaves and flowers regularly to make sure everything is fine. If you notice harmful pests earlier, that is better for the health of your plant.
If you spot any pests, use insecticidal soap spray. Continue spraying daily for 4-5 days, depending on the severity. Beware of using dishwashing detergent or soft soap since it harms your plant.
If you notice that flower buds are falling before blooming, this can be due to excessive dryness. Consider the humidity conditions and the plant’s place. Too much exposure to light or being too close to the radiator can cause this situation. If so, change the spot and start watering your plant more often.
Suggestions for beginners
Keep in mind that the Rose of China can be fragile under stressful conditions. Try to keep the temperature and humidity levels consistent for it to grow in a wholesome way.