A hedge as a privacy screen for the garden is not only decorative, but also offers insects, birds and smaller mammals a safe haven. The garden marshmallow is a wood that quickly grows into a compact hedge and impresses with its colorful blossoms in the summer months. The deciduous plants are easy to cultivate, robust and easy to care for. There is little to consider when planning and planting a hibiscus hedge.
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Hardy and decorative
Privacy hedges do not have to form a uniform wall of green leaves, as the hibiscus impressively proves. The mallow plants develop flowers in abundance all summer long, which shine in the colors pink, blue and white. Planted in groups, the plants present a distinctive image and shield the garden from prying eyes with their dense foliage. As a solitary wood, the marshmallow frames the terraces and individual areas in the local garden landscape. However, due to its low demands and the ability to tolerate pruning, the plant is preferably used as a hedge plant.
The plant, which originally came from Asia, is represented worldwide with more than 650 species. There is a big difference between the individual varieties, and renowned experts also argue about the scope of the genus. These are annual and perennial plants that grow as trees, subshrubs and shrubs.
Many of the hibiscus species are similar in one way: they are sensitive to cold. “Hibiscus syriacus” is one of the few varieties that is hardy and survives the winter unscathed in our regions. The frost tolerance of these plants increases with age. The wood, which is up to 3 m high and 2 m wide, can be used in a variety of ways in the garden:
- Planting hedges
- Cultivation in the bucket
- Delimitation of individual areas in the garden
- Greening of dreary house walls and walls
The right location
The wide-open bell-shaped blossoms of the hibiscus appear between July and September and are an important source of clothing for bees. The right place in the garden determines how lush the flowers are.
- Protect the trees from drafts
- The location should be in direct sunlight
- Penumbra is tolerated
- Slopes or sloping garden areas are suitable for planting
In places that are too dark, there is less flowering, and at the same time the growth and resilience of the plants suffer. In addition to the right lighting conditions, the space requirement also plays a relevant role when choosing a location. With increasing age, the trees reach a depth of over 60 cm. This means that the hibiscus is significantly smaller than, for example, privet, but you should avoid being in close proximity to property lines and fences. Plan a minimum distance so that the plants can develop undisturbed. At the same time, it should be possible to have access to the hedge from all sides for regular maintenance.
Preparation of the planting area
Deciduous plants are planted from April to August. The roots need a few weeks to become firmly established in the ground. It is only from this point onwards that the garden hawk can survive cold temperatures. The creation of a hedge differs slightly from the planting of solitary trees. In order not to experience any unpleasant surprises later, it is relevant to make a few preparations and have the right tools at hand.
- Wooden slats
- Cord resp. Sealing tape
First, delineate the area generously. This step is by no means useless but serves as an overview. At this stage, you can easily make corrections and changes. After the individual plants have been planted, this is only possible with great effort. The course of the later hedge is made visually visible with the wooden slats and the cord. The course of the hibiscus hedge does not have to be dead straight.
Set accents according to your mood. In this way you can, for example, open passages to your garden or create other unusual shapes. You can also use the string to simulate the height and width below. Also pay attention to legal regulations that regulate, for example, the distance and the height of the hedges in the respective federal states and districts. After staking out, start preparing the site.
- Thoroughly remove stones and disturbing roots
- The soil is removed over a large area and 20 cm deep
- Prepare excavated earth with humus
- Spread an approx. 5 cm high layer of humus on the ground
Tip: Use a mini excavator to create the planting area. The small vehicles make work easier, and operation is almost intuitive.
Hibiscus hedges are not very particular about the composition of the soil. Any pH value, from slightly acidic to alkaline, is tolerated. Soils with a slight proportion of sand and loam promote the growth of plants. If necessary, mix the excavated earth with both materials. The sand counteracts heavy substrate so that water and oxygen can get to the roots of the woody plants. Expanded clay and small pebbles, which loosen the soil permanently, can also be used. The inorganic components have no negative effects on the care and growth of the plants.
It is an advantage if you do this work in the winter of the previous year. Because in the winter months the prepared area can settle sufficiently. At the same time, the humus enriches the adjacent soil with nutrients.
The creation of hedges
For the planting of the hibiscus hedge, you can use plants that you have grown yourself or bale goods from nurseries. Slowly get used to the woody plants from the trade to the climatic conditions in your garden.
- Place the plants in a sheltered, partially shaded location
- Protect from the direct midday sun in the first few days
- Water regularly
You can use the plants for hedge planting approximately 10 to 14 days after purchase. Sort out weak and stunted specimens beforehand. Treat the roots to a long bath in the bucket of water for 1 hour. This promotes the formation of the subterranean plant parts.
- Maintain a minimum distance of about 60 cm per plant
- Cover the plants with substrate up to the upper root neck
- Carefully press on the substrate
- Sludge vigorously
Tip: Loosen up the surrounding soil with the digging fork. This accelerates the acclimatization of the plants at the new planting location.
The soil around the freshly planted hedge should be kept evenly moist for the next 14 days. Drought at this stage can lead to the death of individual plants. You can add other plants, such as privet, to loosen up the hedge. The trees should have the same requirements in terms of care and location.
There is no avoiding annual pruning of the hibiscus plants. It is an advantage if young and freshly planted trees are not cut back in the summer or autumn of the first year. This minimizes the risk that weakened plants will not survive early frost.
- Remove sick and dead shoots all year round
- Cross-growing branches can be cut close to the trunk in late summer
- Shorten by a third in spring
- The flowers develop on annual shoots
Under favorable conditions, the hibiscus tends to multiply in an uncontrolled manner via lateral and root runners. Remove these shoots regularly to avoid overgrowth in the garden. Alternatively, you should create a rhizome barrier when planting. This separates the area underground and prevents the roots from spreading. If you dispose of the green cuttings from the marshmallow on the compost, you should regularly check the area for unwanted growth of hibiscus.
Care in summer
Newly planted trees differ only minimally from perennial hedges in terms of care. The most important point is the moisture content of the substrate. Older plants are able to get the water from the surrounding soil through their extensive root system. Young marshmallow is not yet able to do this. For this reason, the soil must not dry out completely in summer.
If necessary, pour more immediately. Check the soil daily. When the first 2 to 3 cm feel dry and crumbly, the filled watering can is used. The following points have proven themselves in the supply of water and nutrients:
- Avoid waterlogging
- In smaller quantities, water more often
- Calcareous water does not harm the hibiscus
- Freshly planted plants do not have to be fertilized for the first 6 weeks
- The nutrients are later applied in the form of slow release fertilizers or humus
Preparing for winter
The variety “Hibiscus syriacus” is considered to be hardy. Nevertheless, it makes sense to prepare the trees for the cold season at the end of September. This will prevent young and weakened plants from being damaged in the winter months. This can adversely affect the appearance of the hedge and require replanting.
- In September, lay out bark mulch or brushwood around the plants
- Wilted leaves are also suitable and at the same time serve as a winter retreat for mammals
- Do not prune the young plants
- The trees are compatible with pruning
Cuttings and hibiscus varieties in the bucket should be wrapped with a fleece. This will prevent the roots in the pot from freezing to death.
The use of hibiscus to design privacy hedges is an interesting alternative to the widespread classic hedge plants cherry laurel and conifers. Hibiscus syriacus is easy to care for, at the same time the wood with its large flowers is an eye-catcher in midsummer and late summer.