Rooting Hibiscus From Cuttings - by Buddy 7/2011

Paul Buddy Short is an experienced hibiscus grower, an active member of the National American Hibiscus Society and the local Mike Bernard Acadiana Hibiscus Chapter.
6 or 7 years ago I posted to the yahoo and asked, "the dreaded question", is it better to graft or own root? I didn't realize at the time that it was such a controversial topic. Frankly, I didn't care. I was just trying to duplicate some of my plants and trying to come up with the easiest way for ME. Of course, that started a debate. I never really understood why and I'm not sure that I understand it today.
Here's a question for you.....if 9+ out of 10 plants will "own root" why would you have to learn to graft? To me the answer is simple. You really don't. Many of you know that I live close to Dupont nursery. 99+ out of 100 Dupont plants are own roots. I think Curt Sinclair has about the same percentage and probably others own root as well. Pretty good percentage to me.
I actually do both methods but stick far more cuttings than I do grafts. I took a few pictures for you this morning to demonstrate grafting and the own root process. I will do my best to explain a few things that I have learned in hopes that they may help you. of our chapter members asked me if I would graft a K Loa Point for her. Looks like it was successful. She asked, I complied. some wood from a far away friend. Rehydrated the wood and grafted it. That's one very good reason to graft. I think Gail in South Africa however tries her own method of water rooting with shipped wood. Maybe she will resurrect that discussion.  
3..look at these cuttings. This picture has several methods in play. First I cut my plants back by going down to where the wood starts turning brown. I then cut the branch up in several pieces trying to leave some leaves on the top of each cutting. The leaves are then peared back. Before I stick the cuttings I mix up a bucket of Clorox/water 1 to 10 and soak or wash off the cuttings before I stick them in whatever mix I will use. I like doing this to possibly prevent fungus.
Note the green cuttings in that tray of rubber dirt. They have been there for about 3 weeks. I have noted that if they remain green or alive for about 2 weeks they have a great chance of rooting. The tray sits under my shade cloth and gets moisture from afternoon showers or from my cool down spray from the hose. Above that tray are individual cuttings in 4 inch pots of pure peatmoss. Nothing else and easy. About half of those are taking. Anyone can do this.'s a dark shot of some garden variety I stuck in my regular potting mix for root stock. They took and look rather healthy to me.'s another shot of multiple cuttings from one plant stuck in my regular potting mix. Simple. If I get one to take I'm happy. Chances are I will get several.
 6..I cut this plant this morning by going down to the brown wood. Chopped up the branches, soaked them for about 1 hour in my clorox mix, and stuck them in the rubber dirt. I don't care what percentage takes. I only want a few anyway. I will probably give these plants away.
7..notice this pruned plant and how the new growth is coming out. Won't be long before some new buds will start popping.
Conclusion.....don't be afraid to go outside the box occasionally. You may find out that the new procedure is just as effective and much easier than the written word.......still learning Buddy