Commercial hibiscus cultivation for flowers is a profitable business for the entrepreneurs. One can start hibiscus farming in pots, containers, open fields and greenhouse. The scientific name of hibiscus is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and it belongs to the mallow family. Basically, about 220 species of annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs and trees belong to the genus Hibiscus. The other popular regional names are Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus, Lashand, Joba, shoeblack plant, Sembaruthi and Sappartu Pu.
Growing hibiscus is comparatively easy than other flowers. The flowers of most species open early in the morning and begin to droop and wilt by late afternoon. Most last only one day, but a few varieties have flowers that last two days or more.
Generally, the height of the trees can reach up to 15′ height. Basically, the hibiscus shrub grows well in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions. Some of the major hibiscus growing countries are China, Thailand, Mexico, India and Africa, principally Sudan, Senegal and Mali.
Economic Importance of Hibiscus Cultivation
First of all, hibiscus can enhance the beauty of any flower garden and lawn. Therefore, it is an important plant for landscaping. The flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands.
Additionally, the flowers are popular for hair care as a preparation. It is also used to shine shoes in certain parts of India. It can also be used as a pH indicator. Basically, the flower turns acidic solutions to a dark pink or magenta colour and basic solutions to green. It is also used for the worship of Devi, and the red variety is especially prominent, having an important part in tantra. In Indonesia, these flowers are called “kembang sepatu”, which literally means “shoe flower”. In several countries, the flowers are dried to use in a beverage, usually tea.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus
- The study found hibiscus can fight against cancer.
- Hibiscus is rich in Vitamin C. Thus it has the capacity to cure minor cold related infections like a sore throat, cough and headache.
- The antioxidants in hibiscus help to repair free radical damage
- Hibiscus has many natural anti-inflammatory substances and also Vitamin C that can stop the growth of acne and even clear the marks left by it.
- Additionally, hibiscus flower helps to boost the level of immunity in your body.
- The hibiscus is rich in Vitamin C. Therefore, it helps to increase the rate of metabolism.
Things To Consider In commercial Hibiscus Cultivation
- First of all, decide the reason of growing hibiscus and accordingly choose the variety.
- According to the agroclimatic condition, choose the right time for plantation.
- Test the soil first. It will help you in taking an informed decision on nutrients management.
- According to the area of land, craft a business plan with the financial inputs.
- Finally, you must have a proper post harvest management system for the flowers.
Best Varieties for Hibiscus Cultivation
There are four major types of the Hibiscus shrub. They are the H. Mutabtlis, H. Rosa Sinensis, H. Syhacus and the H. Schizopetalus. The first species is famous as the Changeable Rose. The other varieties of the Hibiscus shrub remain white, then change from pale to dark pink or remain pink. The flowers generally dry out before nightfall. However, the species H. Rosa Sinensis is a big evergreen shrub. There are some double varieties of the shrub at present. Additionally, you can find a lot of new colours like white, yellow, pink, orange, terra cotta, cerise etc.
Agro Climatic Condition for Hibiscus Cultivation
Tropical hibiscus needs warm, steady temperatures to thrive. Temperature fluctuations, when extreme, can shock and kill the plant. Tropical hibiscus has the best bud growth between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Buds stop growing around 55 F, and at 45 F, plants may suffer damage. If your microclimate gets an occasional frost, you will need to overwinter your hibiscus in a container indoors.
Tropical hibiscus grown on the side of a building or near a heat source is more likely to survive a frost. Hardy hibiscus also benefits from warm temperatures for bud growth; approximately 68 F is ideal. Unlike tropical hibiscus, the hardy varieties will survive freezing temperatures, although flowering will reduce. Provide a 12-inch layer of mulch to protect your hibiscus if there is a chance of frost in your microclimate.
All types of hibiscus do best in full sun. They will grow in partial shade, although growth and flowering will suffer. Give your hibiscus at least six hours of the sun per day. In areas with very hot summers and bright, strong sunlight, you may need to provide shade for your hibiscus during the hottest part of the day.
Suitable Soil for Hibiscus Cultivation
Both tropical and hardy hibiscus have similar soil needs. Ideally, plant your hibiscus in well-drained soil amended with organic matter. Hibiscus prefers acidic soil. Mixing sphagnum peat moss into your garden soil or potting mix is one way to increase acidity. If your garden has heavy clay soil, growing hibiscus in a raised bed helps eliminate water buildup. Hibiscus needs plenty of fertilizer, particularly fertilizer high in potassium and low in phosphorus.
Commercial Hibiscus Farming – Basic Steps
Propagation & Plantation
Usually, propagation can be done through the both seeds and cuttings. However, if you want to buy the hibiscus saplings from the nurseries, try to get disease free plants. At the time of plantation, prepare the soil carefully. Also, you can use liquid fertilizer if you are using cuttings.
Basically, hibiscus prefers constant moisture and good sunlight for proper blooming. However, according to the soil condition, you must have an arrangement of watering the plants. In the hot and dry season, hibiscus cultivation demands regular watering. If you find the top leaves turning yellow or dropping, it indicates the water deficiency in the soil.
You must have proper fertilization plan according to the soil condition. Basically, hibiscus demands a lot of nutrients. You must use a high potassium fertilizer for good blooming of the flowers. Additionally, you can apply garden compost or farm yard manure.
Harvesting & Selling
Harvesting of the flowers basically depends on the variety. However, you can harvest the flowers in the full bloom condition. According to your business plan and purpose of the farming, you must find out the potential market for the flowers. You can sell the fresh flowers or you can contact the herbal processing companies for the bulk supply. However, before initiating the hibiscus cultivation, you must identify the demand and the target consumer of your produce.