Hibiscus locally called as Gumamela is one of the top 10 all time favorite flowering shrub in the country. Growers can encounter some problems during rainy or wet season in the Philippines.
The most common colors are red, pink, yellow,magenta and intermediate colors. There are some native hibiscus in the country, While hundreds of hybrids origin being cultivated in many homes, public parks, cemeteries, schools, resorts and estates. The flowers does not last long, most of the hybrid cultivars only last for a day or so.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid or Gumamelang Pula planted as hedge plant within Manila Memorial Park
Some Feng Shui practitioners recommend planting reddish color, bright yellow color gumamela. Depending on the position of one’s property to create harmony in colors and balance within the household.
double petal pink Gumamela ( photo courtesy of King Louis Farm and Sir Lebon Ong)
8 Practical Tips for Caring Hibiscus /Gumamela
8.) One can grow their gumamela / hibiscus directly on garden plot or in potted terracotta/ plastic containers. This allows growers to move the containers in ideal location or focal point in one’s home or office when the plant is in bloom. Providing at between 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
Hibiscus Taiwan Cloud Cotton
7.) Gumamela requires 50% loam/garden/brown soil with combination of 20% sandy mix, 30% compost, aged cow or carabao manure, aged rice hull, coco coir and vermicast for the rest of the potting mixture. Mulching is recommended for gumamela planted outdoors because it not only provides a lot of protection for the roots, but it also helps the plant retain the moisture, especially if grown in garden type setting.
6.) Fertilize weekly using a variety of water soluble fertilizer 20N, 20P, 20K or 10N-10P-10K, (whichever is available) diluted into 1/2 or 1/4 strength during its growing season or flowering season. One may add few teaspoon of slow release fertilizer or compost mixture as fertilizer for the plant. For blooming gumamela plants, a ratio of 20N-30P-30K water soluble fertilizer, trace elements, calcium nitrate, epson salt can also be applied alternately.
Another good brand is Naturamin which enables hibiscus or gumamela to absorb the nutrients. This is also good in other plants like Syngonium podophyllum, flowering plants, orchids, crops and fruits trees.
Avoid using skim milk, beer, Monosodium glutamate (MSG), urine or any home base fertilizer mixture as these can eventually kill your Gumamela or Hibiscus in no time.
5.) Regular pruning is also required when the shrub grow lush during rainy season. One can schedule a monthly pruning period. Try to sterilize your pruning shears, knife or cutter before using them.
4.) Try to regular check for pest such as aphids, white flies, scale insects, mealybugs, caterpillars, thrips or even spider mites. These insects can eat parts of the flowers, leaves or stems of gumamela.
3.) Potted hibiscus / gumamela plant with flowers can be enjoyed for a limited time period. Interior decorator suggest that one can put them inside their homes between 1 to 3 days. Near windows where there is bright light.
a humidity tray if you have dry air conditions inside of your house to ensure the plant is getting all of the moisture it needs to thrive.
single petal yellow variety
2.) Propagation is quite easy. One can propagate via cuttings, air layering or seeds during the onset of the rainy season, or when one prunes their gumamela shrub. Find a node and cut about six-inches below that and then remove everything except the very top leaves. Another way is to graft different colored gumamela.
1.) Avoid over watering, Especially during this rainy season. This can cause a lot of problems like root rotting and fungal problems. When in doubt, one can forgo watering for at least a day or so. Gumamela needed well- drained soil if planted in garden type setting.
pale pink form
Economic Importance and Ethno Botanical Uses
Hibiscus Red Double
Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea while Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia. Hibiscus brackenridgei is the state flower of Hawaii, While it is a national symbol in Haiti, Solomon and Niue.
Hibiscus, Gumamela, Rose Mallow or Rose of Sharon and hybrids are commonly use to beautify the landscape. Blooming gumamela can also serves as focal point in one’s office or public area.
The flowers is used by children in many parts of the country as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out, adding 1 tablespoon detergent to make bubble.
Some would use the flowers to make edible flower salad. Flowers and young leaves are also use by some for their medicinal properties. In some parts of the country, flowers are use for offering in home altars and as lei for welcoming guests.
Hibiscus manihot or Abelmoschus manihot
Abelmoschus manihot formerly known as Hibiscus manihot is eaten in ( Quezon / Tayabas area) called Sapinit, Lagikuway. Bicol region and some parts of Ilocos region. Some Visayan provinces also use the flowers for souring agent in soup. In Surigao provinces it is called Lagikway, Lagikuway,Baniwayun. It is called Malaguhon / Malaguhun ( Han.) and Linikway/ Barakue ( Bng) Glikway/ Gikugguse (Sub) in other Philippine languages.
The flower is used as souring ingredient or add on for local vegetables, soup or meat dishes. The dish had a slippery texture like okra.
Although not so common within Metro Manila region. This species grow in semi-wild state in open grassland,cultivated fields and in rural areas all throughout the country.
University of the Philippines Los Baños had been active in breeding hibiscus and came up with several series which pay tributes to great women of the country.
Php 8.00 block of 4, Gumamela flowers issued by Philippine Postal Corporation in 1991
Philippine Postal Corporation released several definitive and special stamps in 1991, 2015 and 2018. This is a proof that gumamela or hibiscus is popular among thematic stamp collectors. Some mural painters also painted on the long perimeter wall of Manila North Cemetery last October 2019 dubbed as ” Flores para Los Muertos“.
yellow with red center
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made as an infusion from crimson or deep magenta-colored calyces (sepals) of the roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. Sometimes called Karkade tea or Jamaica tea.
Hibiscus sabdariffa popularly known as Roselle- grown by the author from seeds
There are also several Fb groups which specializes in Hibiscus or Gumamela.
Gumamela plants and hybrids are commonly available in many garden centers like in Tabang, Guiguinto,Bulacan Garden,Bay,Calamba,Los Baños in Laguna, Silang, Cavite province, Mindanao Avenue Garden Center, Araneta Farmer’s Garden, Quezon City Memorial Circle,White Plains garden center,Neopolitan, Fairview, Rona’s Garden in Visayas Avenue,Cartimar Garden Center in Pasay, Centris Sunday Market, neighborhood homes and backyard nationwide.
Some big time propagators includes Pagsolingan Garden, Arids and Aroid, Bulacan Garden, Mr. Rey Tester among others.
References, Sources, Bibliography:
Interview and photo courtesy of the following: King Louis, Mr. Rodrigo Joseph Bautista, Mr.Lebon Ong, Arids Aroid, Mac Pagsolingan,Mr. Rey Tester, Ms. Naida Delma and the author
Personal interview with backyard growers, hobbyists and farm owners.
Wonning, Paul R. (March 3, 2014) Gardener’s Guide To The Hibiscus: Perennial Hibiscus Flower Care ( ( Gardener”s Guide to the Full Sun Perennial Flower Garden Book 12) Mossy Feet Books.
V. M. Jadhav et al. / Journal of Pharmacy Research 2009, 2(8),1220-1222
University of the Philippines Los Baños : https://ovcre.uplb.edu.ph/
Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
Steiner, Mona Lisa, PHD;Care, M &L Licudine Enterprises, First Edition 1952, Second Edition 1960, Third Edition 1986, Atlag, Malolos , Bulacan. Gumamela Family (Malvaceae) pages 173 to 174, Philippine Ornamental Plants And Their Care.
Madulid, Domingo; Winner, National Book Award, Science, 1995. Revised Edition, 2000 with 388 pages. Malvaceae pages 240 to 244 Bookmark, Makati, A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants.
Lawton, Barbara Perry (2004). Hibiscus: Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden. Timber Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-88192-65-45.
International Hibiscus Society
C Les Beers & Jim Howie: Growing Hibiscus (1985 and 1990), Reprinted 1986, 1987
Second edition published 1990, First published in 1985 by Kangaroo Press Pty Ltd
3 Whitehall Road (P. 0. Box 75) Kenthurst 2156, Typeset by G. T Setters Pty Limited
Printed in Hong Kong by Colorcraft Ltd, ISBN 0 86417 278 8
Brickell, Christopher, ed. (2008). The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 534. ISBN 978-14053329-65
Bulacan Garden Corporation
American Hibiscus Society