I have a perennial hibiscus I want to move to a sunnier location. Can I move it now, Sept. 15? I live 60 miles north of Detriot in Canada. The hibiscus is still blooming.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Lynda in Canada: Hardy hibiscus are best transplanted in the spring just as the new growth begins to emerge. They are typically one of the last plants to break dormancy and put on new growth. Hibiscus thrive when grown in an area of the garden that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sun. They like nutrient-rich, consistently moist but well-drained soil. So, it is a good idea to move your hibiscus to a sunnier location, but if you can wait until next spring it would be beneficial to your plant. If you need to move your plant now, do it as soon as possible. I suspect that the cold temperatures are just around the corner where you live and the hibiscus would need time to get its roots settled before winter arrives. If the roots do not have time to get established, the freezing and thawing of the soil can lift the plant and expose the roots to dangerous temperatures. When you transplant it is always a good idea to dig the new hole before digging up the existing plant. Reducing stress is the key here and getting the roots back into the soil is the best way to reduce stress. Keep as much of the root ball intact as possible and make sure the new hole is twice the width and just as deep as the root ball. Treat it like a new addition to the garden in terms of water. A thin layer of mulch will help keep the moisture in and the weeds down.