I have three large perennial hibiscus that have to be moved. When can I do this?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Carolyn: Perennial hibiscus are show-stoppers with their large blooms. They can add a tropical feel to any sun-loving perennial garden. They can be a bit tricky to transplant but if done properly you can be successful. The best time to transplant your hibiscus is later in the winter or the early spring just as new growth starts. These plants are one of the last to break dormancy in the garden so you will have plenty of time to move them in the spring. The second best time to move them is now. Late summer or early fall is better than moving them in the middle of the summer, but they will be more subject to frost damage being moved at this time. The root-to-soil contact is minimal and this makes them more susceptible to frost heaving. This is when the soil temperature change and causes the plant to be lifted up from the soil and exposed to damaging weather. So, if you can wait until the spring the plants will thank you. When it is time to move them, have the new holes prepared before digging up the hibiscus. Be aware that these perennials have an extensive root system, and keeping as much of the root ball intact is essential for a successful transplant. The idea is to reduce the amount of transplant stress. Once you have gotten them out of the ground, place them on a tarp or a large piece of burlap to gently move them. Make sure the new holes as just as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Plant them and treat them like you would any new addition to the garden. Additional moisture will be needed if it is a dry spring. A thin layer of mulch will help retain moisture. Make sure to choose a space where the hibiscus will receive full to part sun.