Hibiscus moscheutos: Known as Rose Mallow and is native to marshy areas. It has been extensively bred and is the parent of many of the popular Hibiscus hybrids (Disco Belle, Southern Belle Mix and others). It is often referred to as “Dinner Plate Hibiscus” or Hardy Hibiscus. The most common colors are white, bi-colored, and shades of red or pink. It blooms from late July until October, and the large individual flowers do not usually last more than a day, but the plant may have several of the large blooms (size ranges from 4 – 12 inches across) at one time, and they are quickly replaced by new blooms. Prominent pistil and stamens are located in the center of each flower adding to their charm. Their stems are woody, but they die back to the ground in winter. Deadhead for aesthetics. The Hibiscus flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.
Hibiscus acetosella: This Red Leaf Hibiscus is grown more for its deep burgundy red, maple-like leaves than for the flowers. It is also a tropical shrub that grows easily and quickly enough that it is treated as an annual in many areas of the United States.
How to grow Hibiscus plants:
- Location: Full sun
- Soil: It should be rich in organic matter, well-drained.
- Moisture: Damp soil is preferred. Until they are well-established, young Hibiscus plants require lots of water. Applying a 3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant will help keep the roots cool and moist.
- Fertilizer: A top dressing of composted manure each spring will bring out the most stunning foliage and bloom color. Use a liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season, two times each month.
Hibiscus plants are valuable to the garden because they give incredible color in the later part of the season when there are fewer flowering plants. Also, if a taste of the tropics is desired in a colder, northern climate, a hardy Hibiscus will give an impressive flower display.