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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - June 11, 2013

From: Pleasanton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Germinating Hibiscus martianus, Heartleaf hibiscus
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Sean Watson

QUESTION:

Is there some secret to getting Heart Leaf Hibiscus to germinate from seed? I have tried several times, but have had no luck getting them to germinate.

ANSWER:

There is certainly agreement that Hibiscus martianus (Heartleaf rosemallow) is difficult to germinate.  Here's an informative article from Dave's Garden that discusses difficulties in getting seeds of the heartleaf hibiscus to germinate.  One observation in the article is that very fresh seeds germinate best.  Here are more comments from B and T World Seeds about germinating H. martianus (under its former name/synonym, H. cardiophyllus) and more information from All Things Plants.

I asked the Wildflower Center's Nursery Manager, Sean Watson, how he germinated the heartleaf rosemallow seeds and this is his reply:

"I soak the seed for 48 hours in water. I usually boil water, let it cool for a minute, and then pour over the seed and let it soak for the 48 hrs.  I still get spotty germination. I collect lots of seed and go with numbers."

If I were you and it's at all possible, I would follow Sean's instructions and also "go with numbers!"

 

From the Image Gallery


Heartleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus martianus

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