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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Hawaiian Dwarf hibiscus - Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Unlike the common types where you can see grown by the roadside where it can appear to be tall, semi wood shrub plant - these ones are in small pot with big sized flowers.

The ID seemed to be tricky as they are not officially having a specific name.
Commonly known as Hawaiian Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) These are grown on highlands which may produce exotic blooming sprays but able to tolerate low-land climate with proper care.

One of the characteristics you can notice is the bud formation where it appears to be like a rosebud, almost like a lotus bud formation. This appearance doesn't appear on the common look breed.

These pictures are taken from the local Nursery from "Sg.Buloh Nursery" I wanted to show you have these plants are marketed here. Understanding this plant is considered a big deal especially you would be saving money, time and heart-ache handling the expectation as many nursery owners are very much like businessman and not gardeners.

Their ideology is very much based on the sale of the plants and rarely know much about the plants or plant care (let alone - even plant ID may be challenge for them)

There are few types only in Malaysia - the variants and some rare varieties that may have been imported and brought here for cultivation. Basically there just 2 types - the highland type and the lowland type.

The Highland Type may have an excellent bloom formation - often it comes from Cameron Highland and the flower is already bloomed in their prime when sold in nursery. It will last around another 2-3 months but it may never bloom again after that season. These all appear to be like in a dwarf stage which I'm suspecting that they might be (forced root) after they had set in bud-bloom.

These are however considered as BATA plants (Buy And Throw Away Plants)
Once their blooms are spend - it's often discard and thrown away, just like a cut flower types - these last longer in indoor setting - like by a sunny window stand.

However, all are not lost, they can still be cultivated as a perennial plant and may last for many years when cared properly.

I must say there are many challenges in cultivating this particular cultivar compared to the common ones. Firstly is the pest attack.

Mealy bug seemed to love them - and the infestation is so bad that it goes all the way even into the rootball. Another culprit was farming ants - they brought in alphids and back again with scale insect.
Eventually even after continuous application of pesticide, the battle rages on but finally the plant died out of stress.

And so, I must stress that Prevention is Better Than Cure. 
Either use a good organic pesticide before the attack takes place to deter all the pest to get attracted to this hibiscus.
Or don't at all - use any pesticide which means don't cultivate this plant at all until find a better solution for the pest control.

This is the Main Problem for this Plant - Solving this Problem settles the Rest of Problem,
Other Care & Maintenance of the Plant is very similar like most tropical plant care.


Hibiscus is a sun loving plant. It does require bright direct sunlight for it to bloom. Without the sunlight - it may not bloom at all, the formed buds may bloom later in days time but no new bud formation may appear later on when placed in shaded garden.

The flowers may last a day or two - these are short spanned flowers and will wither and fall away by evening or the next day.

Once they had grown and established itself - It becomes hardy plant and there is nothing much to worry about except daily watering, weekly feeding and occasional pruning to keep the plant in shape.


I noticed that if not most / all of the medium that been planted that come from the nursery are cocopeat. Though it is very good for new cut plant for root development - it is not ideal for long-termed plants. These potted plants in this medium will slowly succumb to root-rot and eventually die away within few months.

If you plan to keep for long-term - you may need to change the medium with 50% fast draining medium & 50% rich compost medium.


If kept in the existing pot where the medium is cocopeat: Do consider not to overwater as it will definitely cause flower bud-drop due to overwatering. One of the way to handle the matter is to change the medium. 

Otherwise, these do well on daily watering - they also do well carefree planted in open area without any watering whatsoever relying on just the rain. These are however a tropical plant.
Of course - only once the plant established itself grown in open ground. It may not applicable if they are in planted as a potted plant.


They can be grown by seeds but these do not normally bear fruits here in the tropical side and so most likely the best success would be using stem cutting. The branch should be about 5-6" long where there is a crown rosette of leaves. Remove the lower leaves at the bottom - at least 2-3 leaf nodes and poke into the planting medium in a pot. Place it in a cool bright shade.

It will take root and may able see new growth in few weeks time.

These are some of the varieties of types of Hawaiian Dwarf hibiscus that are usually sold in the nursery. There was once a season where it was trending that these were highly sought after. However like any trend and season - these come and go.


Hibiscus are very much decorative ornament plant but unlike other counterpart they prove to have other uses.

These flowers are considered Edible Flowers and often used together in Green Salad. Normally the petals are sliced and garnished together with salad. It is important to grow them on your own - purchasing them from florist or nursery may be fatal as they may contain pesticides.

Also they can be made into Juice and Drinks.

The leaves too have uses - normally they are pounded and use as hair conditioner. It is believed to make the hair grow thicker and darker - often used for traditional purpose. I also had seen these ingredient appearing in shampoo's and hair-oil too.

Also there are many other traditional uses together with medicinal & cosmetic uses - curing or relief many ailments and such. Just do some research and follow-up with good reliable source just to make sure.


One of the Best Plants to Grow by the Seaside Garden Area as the are Salt Tolerant Plant.

How to Grow, Care & Cultivate Hawaiian Hibiscus (Video)

Commonly known as Hawaiian Hibiscus however these are not true hibiscus native from Hawaiian species - rather just locally identified as such by plant vendors and sales personnel. 

Here I will explain on the care and maintenance of these plants as these are actually cultivated from the highlands and bought here for the general plant market. However these are considered as highly popular plants and will be quickly snapped off from the table - considering them as hot cakes in most nurseries.

There are some general matters to consider when it comes to acclimatization, pest control management and other factors of this general interest. Here I'm showcasing what is currently sold in the local nursery located in Sg.Buloh region.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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