This online guide has been created for you to successfully grow a variety of plants that thrive in the tropics, using native seeds and plants to get growing with wise advice from fellow backyard gardeners and farmers. You are welcome to add your wisdom and share growing and harvest tips and recipes. email

Welcome to the Pro-Organic Belize
Garden Grow Guide
Where you are the student and the teacher
Plant of the month - August 2023

Contributed by Mary Loan

photo credit: Mary Loan

Botanic name: Hibiscus
Plant type: A woody shrub of the Malvaceae family which produces a profusion of flowers.
Sun exposure: Prefers Full Sun
Ph Ph  Neutral to slightly alkaline
Soil preference:  Soil preference: Friable, well-drained loamy soil


This month we are moving from the vegetable garden to explore the world of decorative, nutritious and the healing properties of the popular flowering tropical hibiscus plant.


How to grow: To start plants from semi-hardwood to hardwood cuttings, take 8-12 inch stems, place in potting bags or pots cover with damp sandy soil.  Keep the cuttings in the shade for about 4 to 6 weeks to form roots, water daily, but do not allow plants to sit in soggy damp soil.  To plant dig a space about one foot deep and one foot wide, place the rooted cutting in this space and fill with potting soil mixed with compost.  Water regularly till well rooted.

Disease and insect control:  Root knot nematodes are a major pest of hibiscus.  It is advised to pre-treat a new bed by planting marigold seeds or plants several months prior to planting hibiscus.

Health benefits:

  • Flowers are decocted to make a refreshing beverage.
  • The petals are a nourishing source of vitamin C and minerals. 
  • The calyx is snipped off the the petals used as a salad ingredient and healthy addition to s sandwich or dessert.
  • The flowers are considered to be a healing remedy for liver disorders, high cholesterol and high blood presure. 

Dr. Rosita Arvigo advises boiling 9 leaves, 5 open flowers, and 4 closed flowers in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes, then consume cool 3 times a day to help staunch heavy menstruation and prevent miscarriage, as the flowers are also rich in iron.

There are many varieties of hibiscus that thrive in Belize.  Cuttings can be swapped and shared.

From Karin Westdyk:

  • Can make thick beautiful hibiscus hedges by putting approximately 15 inch woody cuttings directly in the ground in a cross cross fashion...XXXXXXXXXXX. Must water and care for them to encourage rooting as described.
  • Fresh hibiscus flowers make beautiful decorations on cakes.

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