Flower of the Week: Perennial Hibiscus
Local experts weigh in and discuss why perennial hibiscus make a great addition to any flowerbed.
Who would have guessed that the cousin to okra and cotton could be so stunning?
Often referred to as "rose mallow," the hardy hibiscus is unlike any other flower in the garden, offering blooms that are both delicate and huge.
The following post was submitted by Greenstreet Garden staff member Maggie Wiles.
The perennial hibiscus should not be confused with the tropical hibiscus, which would be killed in winter freezes. As the name implies, these plants are herbaceous perennials, meaning their tops die down to the ground each winter, but new shoots will come roaring back into lush growth when soils warm the following spring.
The amazing flower colors and the sizes of the perennial hibiscus provide hibiscus growers a long season of delightful blooms. Flower sizes can be anywhere from 4 to 12 inches in diameter with colors ranging from pinks, reds, whites, and lavenders all with a deep maroon eye at the center of each bloom. Their gorgeous flowers start to appear in midsummer and continue up until the first killing frost not only proving visual appeal but also enhancing wildlife value for nectar-feeders and birds.
These perennials are easy to grow and once established last for years in the garden. Plants are sun lovers and will not tolerate shade. Give them a good rich soil that has been amended with plenty of organic material. Hibiscus prefers a damp soil and bloom much better if their water needs are met. For stunning foliage color and intense bloom feed in early spring with a top dressing of composted manure and bone meal.
Important to note that perennial hibiscus are always one of the last plants to emerge in spring. Don't give up on them to early; it is not uncommon for plants to wait until late May or even early June before showing signs of growth.
So leave those "dead sticks" poking out of the ground until you see new growth and keep the weed whackers at bay until your hibiscus has safely shown it’s little head. You will be rewarded with a magnificent show of ‘blow your doors off’ color year after year.