by Jennifer Poindexter
Are you in the market for a new and interesting flower for your garden? Don’t overlook the flower known as flower of an hour.
This plant produces light yellow or off white blooms. The maroon center of the plant stands out against the pale petals and produces quite the contrast.
What’s even more interesting is this flower will only open part of the day or not at all on a cloudy day. If you’d like a gorgeous flower with a blooming schedule that gives you something to look forward to daily, this could be a great choice for you.
Here’s everything you should know to grow flower of an hour around your home or garden.
Growing Conditions for Flower of an Hour
Flower of an hour is an interesting plant. It’s a type of hibiscus, which explains the similarities in the blooms. It’s considered an annual in many locations.
You can grow flower of an hour as a perennial in planting zones ten and eleven as there’s no frost in these locations. Flower of an hour can’t handle frost making it an annual in planting zones nine and below.
Flower of an hour will bloom from the middle of summer through early fall. It should reach heights of approximately two feet. Take this into consideration prior to choosing an ideal planting location.
Once you think you have a large enough space for this plant to grow comfortably, ensure a few specifications are met.
The first thing flower of an hour needs is full sun. As discussed earlier, the flowers won’t open without adequate lighting. This also helps deter certain types of disease which we’ll discuss later.
Otherwise, the only other necessity is fertile soil that’s also well-draining. This plant isn’t particular about soil, so if it’s loamy or even clay, it should still prosper in these areas as long as the plant isn’t left standing in water and has necessary nutrients.
If you’re concerned that you can’t meet these growing conditions, you’re in luck. Flower of an hour grows well in containers or raised beds.
Ensure the container is big enough to support the plant in its mature state and that it drains adequately, too.
After you have the growing conditions under control, you’re ready to begin planting this flower around your home.
How to Plant Flower of an Hour
If you live in a planting zone where flower of an hour is an annual, don’t think you must plant it every year.
In fact, once you get this flower well-established, you may have a difficult time keeping it from coming back.
I’m going to discuss a few different methods for starting this plant. Then I’ll clue you in on how it may return with little effort from you in the future years.
To start, you must decide if you’d like to direct sow the seeds or start them indoors. If you choose to sow the seeds directly into the permanent grow space, ensure the soil is ready to receive them.
It must be tilled and amended to ensure the plants will have the nutrients needed to grow. You should direct sow seeds in the fall so they’ll sprout in the spring.
When planting, leave one foot of space between each plant. As the plants sprout, you can thin them to where there’s two feet of space between each.
Be sure to mark where you planted the seeds to ensure they don’t get disturbed. This is important as they take a while to emerge.
The next method of growing flower of an hour is to start the seeds indoors. You should start the seeds approximately twelve weeks prior to the final spring frost.
Fill a seed tray with well-draining soil. Plant two seeds per cell in the tray. This serves as an insurance policy in case some of the seeds fail to germinate.
Mist the soil with water using a spray bottle. This will keep the soil from drying out without oversaturating the seeds.
It’s wise to place a layer of plastic wrap over the growing tray to provide a greenhouse effect for the seeds. They can take up to two months to germinate. Hence, the recommendation for starting your seeds so early.
After your seeds have sprouted, have formed true leaves, and all threat of frost is over it’s time to plant them outdoors in their permanent growing location.
Once the plants go through a successful growing season, you’ll notice the spent blooms transform into seed pods.
Over time, the pods will open and dump their seeds. If you’d like the flowers to return each year, let the plant go to seed.
In the following years, as the ground warms, the seeds will germinate allowing plants to return. Seeds can remain fertile, in the ground, for over a decade.
Now that you understand how to grow flower of an hour from seed, using multiple methods, let’s discuss what you should do once your flowers are planted and thriving.
Caring for Flower of an Hour
Flower of an hour has the same needs as other flowers in your garden. By providing the basics, these plants should do well under your care.
The first thing you must do to care for flower of an hour is water it properly. It’s a good idea to use the deep watering method.
This method ensures the roots receive water during the initial session. However, it also saturates the ground around and below the plant.
Over time, as the plant desires more water, the roots will dig deeper into the soil to retrieve it. In the process, developing a stronger root system. This also equates to a healthier plant.
Test the soil with your finger to know when watering should occur again. Insert your index finger into the dirt next to the plant.
When the soil is dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to have another deep watering session. If you still feel moisture, hold off on watering the plant for a day or two. Then test the soil again.
This watering method allows you to provide the necessary water without oversaturating the plant.
The next thing you must do is apply mulch around the flowers. It will deter weeds from popping up between the plants and help the flowers retain moisture.
Our final task is deadheading. Whether you want to control the self-sowing of the plant or keep it producing, deadheading is a good idea.
This is removing spent blooms. In doing so, it keeps your plant looking healthy and vibrant. It also tricks the flower into thinking it’s younger than it is. Therefore, encouraging more blooms.
If you can provide a little care to flower of an hour, this plant should produce beauty around your home for approximately one to two months. A little investment could equate to a bountiful reward when growing this flower in your landscape.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Flower of an Hour
The final thing we must discuss when growing flower of an hour is how to protect it against potential threats.
Flower of an hour has a few diseases you must be aware of. This plant can fall victim to fungal issues such as rust and leaf blight.
The best way to deter fungal problems is to plant where the flower will receive adequate lighting, in well-draining soil, and ensure proper spacing between plants.
These conditions make it harder for fungus to form in the soil as it should remain dry and warm. Fungal issues like to form where it’s cold and wet.
Plus, adequate spacing allows the plants room to breathe, airflow to dry the foliage of each plant, and for moisture to dry between each plant as well.
They should be treated with an insecticide at the first sign to avoid a larger infestation in your growing space.
By staying alert to threats, you should be able to catch anything forming before it does too much damage to your flower of an hour plants.
You now know what you must do to grow flower of an hour and have a positive experience doing so. Hopefully, this information will build your confidence and leave you equipped for the task.
Flower of an hour is a unique plant that can add charm to your surroundings. Whether you’re looking for something different or just a subtle touch of color in your growing area, this flower could be what you need.