Gator Magic Project

In 2009 I learned there is actually an international society geared towards hibiscus hybridizing. They have hibiscus of the year voting and all that stuff too. Some of the hybrids that are generated look amazing, nothing like you can find in Home Depot or Lowes. In 2009 second place was awarded to Gator Magic, a Florida hybrid created by Bob Carran. I had to have it so I purchased it online. Here's a photo of my first bloom...

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As you can see this is a plant worth having, only problem is it's hard to find now. I searched and came up with nothing, even eBay didn't have it. My option now is to clone this plant myself using propagation. The plant itself was neglected for a long time in a pot, which most of the soil leaked out. I'm surprised it's still alive. Nevertheless, I lucked out and it's still going. I pruned and repotted in fresh new potting soil. It has a bud growing on the top, so I didn't want to cut that stem. I found a small 3-4" tip cutting that will work though. I am using the water method to root this cutting since it's mostly tender green stem. Hopefully it works, if it doesn't, I still have a nice stem cutting waiting for me after the bud flowers. :)

Hibiscus - Stem Cuttings in Perlite Experiment

Today I took some cuttings off some of the hibiscus I grew from seed in 2009. I'm using a gallon pot with side holes on the bottom. Fill the pot 2/3 full of moist perlite and sit inside a saucer of water. The water level in the saucer should always submerge the holes in the gallon pot. Because of the wicking properties of perlite, this method should keep the cuttings moist and also provide plenty of oxygen. I put the cuttings in a partial sunny area that doesn't get direct afternoon sunlight. In 4-6 weeks I should have duplicate mini copies of the plants below...

3 cuttings of Rosalind x Dragons Breath (image below)

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2 cuttings of Sweet Bippee x Dragons Breath (image below)

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Cutting in Perlite Experiment - Day 1

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UPDATE 4 weeks later: None of these cuttings survived unfortunately. It was my first attempt and I think I took the cuttings from an already unhealthy plant, plus the stems were from last years growth I think. These hibiscus plants were neglected for so long but now repotted and bouncing back. Another thing I didn't do is cover the cuttings hold moisture in the leaves. So this experiment failed but I'll try again. :)

Four Years Later....

After taking a break from extreme gardening for awhile, and with some free time on my hands, I've decided to revisit the world of plant propagation and development again. In 2009, I started Tropical Hibiscus, Datura metel (purple trumpet), and Plumeria from seed. After successful germination and overwintering, these 6 year old plants are still alive today. Most still in containers as well.

The Datura had seeded itself and was actually growing outside the container. So with a little luck I carefully took it out and repotted it. It's dropping some leaves, but so far hanging on.

I have 3 Plumerias now, neither have bloomed sadly. Although they lacked fertilizer for several years, they are heavy feeders. In the picture there is one large and two smaller plumerias that just need bigger pots. All three plumerias are 6 year old plants, so you can see how much space for roots makes a huge difference in overall plant size and growth.

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A few years ago I purchased a Purple Passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnate). It's a host plant for the Gulf Frit butterfly. The wasps have controlled the caterpillar population this year, therefore allowing a lot of lush green growth and it's even bloomed several times this year.

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The Hibiscus I'll take pictures later when they are in better shape. The containers they were have leaked soil, so they need to be repotted. With a little TLC they will bounce back and should have blooms by the end of the year.