Hibiscus – a tropical look year after year!

Blue Satin 2

Hibiscus syriacus ‘Blue Satin’

Hibiscus are plants with gorgeous, tropical-looking blooms!  Many annual varieties are a favorite for summer patio pots or pool-side plantings.  In addition to the annual varieties, there are several types of Hibiscus that can be enjoyed year after year! Hibiscus coccineus (Hardy Hibiscus) and Hibiscus moscheutos (Rose Mallow) are perennial varieties, and Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) are the shrub variety.  Although they are slow to break dormancy in spring, they are hardy selections for the landscape that bring a plethora of blooms in summer.

Hibiscus coccineus – Hardy Hibiscus

Hibiscus cHibiscus coccineus (Hardy Hibiscus) is a native and adaptable perennial for the home landscape.  They can be planted in the perennial bed, or because they also enjoy swamp like conditions, they can also be submerged in the pond.  Blooms are brilliant and large – 6” in diameter – and come from June to October.  Plants are also attractive, growing up to 8 feet tall with leaves similar to a Japanese Maple.  Hummingbirds and Butterflies love them but deer do not!  Foliage is red-tinted on reddish stems.  Single flowers are deep red.

Hardy Hibiscus Care

Hardy hibiscus prefers full sun with moist soils and tolerates poorly draining areas.  Transplants are most successful when they are between 1-3 feet tall.  When cutting stalks down in late fall, leave stumps; remember they break dormancy late in spring so this will help you remember your location so you don’t disturb them during early spring planting.

Hibiscus moscheutos – Rose Mallow

HibiscusHibiscus moscheutos (Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow) is native to wetlands and creek edges in much of the southeastern US.  It’s an ideal perennial for poorly draining areas.  Like the hardy hibiscus, hibiscus moscheutos is also an ideal bog plant for the pond.  Plants are shorter and more compact than the hardy hibiscus, growing 4-7 feet tall.  Leaves are ovate with jagged edges.  Some cultivars can produce dinner plate sized blooms an impressive 12” wide!  Blooms are prevalent summer to fall and are enjoyed by hummingbirds and butterflies.  Bloom color ranges from white to cream to pink with crimson or purplish centers.

Varieties we carry include:

‘Luna Red’ – Deep burgundy red blooms on plants with dwarf growth habit.

‘Luna Rose’ – Large rosy-pink blooms on plants with a dwarf growth habit.

‘Luna Pink Swirl’ – Pink and white swirled blooms with a cranberry eye 8″ in diameter. Compact, dwarf growth habit.

‘Luna White’ – White flowers with bright red eyes on dwarf plants.

Hibiscus moscheutos Care

Hibiscus moscheutos prefers to be planted in moist soil, high in organic matter, in full to part-sun.

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)

Rose of Sharon Hibiscus Lil' Kim

Hibiscus syriacus ‘Lil’ Kim’

Hibiscus syriacus is a hardy, deciduous, woody shrub with prolific blooms and a long summer bloom period.  Unpruned, they can reach up to 15’ tall and work nicely at the back of the border or as an informal hedge.  Blooms range from white, pink, red and lavender.  They too attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Some varieties can spread readily in the garden by re-seeding.  Deer Resistant.

Varieties include:

'Peppermint Smoothie'

‘Peppermint Smoothie’

‘Peppermint Smoothie Althea’ – Double, two-toned light pink and fuchsia blooms!

‘Blue Satin’ – Large blueish-purple flowers.  Heat & drought tolerant.

‘Lil Kim’ – Dwarf plants with dainty white flowers with a red eye.  Heat & drought tolerant.

‘Fiji’ – Pink buds open to exotic semi-double blooms which slowly fade to light pink. A splash of deep red colors the center.

‘Aphrodite’ – Floriferous with ruffled pink blooms with red eye.

Rose of Sharon Care

They prefer to be planted in full sun with moist, well-draining soil heavy in organic matter but will tolerate a range of conditions. They love our hot summers and bloom best when the heat is on!  It is naturally a multi-stemmed shrub but can be pruned to have a single trunk for tree-form topiaries.