Hardy hibiscus in Georgia

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

I'm in the same boat as another poster here. Most have tropical hibiscus but I prefer hardy hibiscus that I can grow in my yard --- those that die back but will come back the next year. I had no idea there was such an animal until I went on another garden forum and someone in S.C. had one.

I had two tropicals last year and fell in love with them. But the ants were so bad I didn't want to bring them inside when summer was over. They were drop dead gorgeous all summer and required very little attention. The blooms were huge. I have no idea what their names were but one was red and one was pink. They both went on the compost pile when it got cold here.

I bought another tropical this year (yellow, "Sunny Wind") and it has bloomed beautifully for me ... still blooming, but it has slowed down considerably. It also has a bad ant problem and will go on the compost pile as soon as it dies.

Then I learned about the hardy ones and finally found two at my local Pike's Nursery last month --- both pink and beautiful. They were labeled "Rose Mallow 'The Clown.'" Both have about had it for this year but I'm looking forward to seeing those beautiful, huge, pink blooms next summer. They are supposed to grow to about 4-7 feet, both tall and wide, according to the label, and are fast growers. The blooms are very similar to my Rose of Sharon but are about 5 times as big.

My problem is, I have no idea how to properly take care of these beauties. I have discovered that they are real water hogs and the leaves start to droop at the first sign of dryness. But as far as what type of fertilizer to feed ... I haven't a clue. Would really appreciate any pointers. I am in Zone 7b, just south of Atlanta.

Here is "The Clown" ..

Thumbnail by JudyinGA
(Zone 9a)

I would treat them the way you treat any other blooming shrub or plant. Some slow release fertilizer in the spring should be plenty, the hardy hibs are not heavy feeders. They would also benefit from some good compost this fall.

So sad that you have ants in your tropicals; they make great indoor plants if you have a sunny window. Sunny Wind is a great bloomer.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi Judy in Ga, I had ants in one of my tropicals. Had it setting on a metal kitchen stool & when I picked it up the fire ants were going wild. Sprinkled some fire ant granules on the stool & some in the pot. End of problem. Keep those little round, metal things setting around in the GH when my plants are in there. The ones where you punch out the holes in the sides. Has always taken care of the ant population. You don't have to toss your tropical unless you just want to. One thing I have read about the Hardy type is to leave the stems on until next spring before removing them. Read that cutting stems before spring allows water to get in the stem & may cause you to lose the plant. Can't remember whether cut stems allowed them to rot or freeze. Spring is usually when I get around to cutting mine back anyway. :-) Mine seem to come back early & have green shoots when I do cut the dead parts off. Agee they are soooooo lovely & I don't want to lose the few I have. Good luck with your Hibs.

Judy in Tx

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Judy in Ga, look down to the post I made that says, "pretty double". Thats the one that had the fire ants. Forgot to thank you for posting pix of your beautiful hardy Hibs.

Judy in Tx

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Gosh! Thanks, y'all, for the responses. And especially Judy for the tip about not cutting the stems back until spring. I would have cut it back as soon as it all turned brown.

The ants are those tiny little black ants. They like my Rose of Sharon too so it must be something in the bloom. Just too icky to deal with. This is the first year I haven't had ants in the house in the summer. I treated the perimeter with Maxide last spring. But they're back in the plants. My petunias had them pretty bad too.

Ardesia, I appreciate the advice on fertilizer and compost. I'll slip them some slow release in the spring. I have never grown hibiscus before so I need all the help I can get. I had no idea something this beautiful and tropical looking would grow here. I only got a couple of blooms after I purchased them before they started fading out for the fall. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do next spring.

Here's my Sunny Wind back in July:

Thumbnail by JudyinGA
Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

And here's a closeup ...

Thumbnail by JudyinGA
Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Oh, and Judy, your apricot hibiscus is gorgeous. I like the new color better than the old one. It looks like orange slices. LOL Beautiful! Here's to fire ant killer!

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

One more thing ...
That Dave knows what he's doing. Every time I pull up this forum an ad for Hibiscus Moscheutos pops up on the right. I've almost bought it twice! It is gorgeous.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Hey, Judy, your Sunny Wind is gorgeous. Love the other flowers with it. I definitely want more hardy types. Mine never make seed. But, they come back. Doing some trading for some of the others. Noticed the Hardy & ROS that Dave has been putting up. I liked the newer color on my Tropical too. But, it has gone back to apricot. Don't know if it was the ant killer, the temp change or the fact that we were getting rain, which at that time was a blessing. Thanks for sharing your pix....they are so pretty & its nice to have a new person posting pix. Nice people on DG & always willing to help. Thanks again for sharing your beautiful flowers with us.

Judy

cullman, AL(Zone 7b)

I had 3 sunny wind hibiscus and a peach one (name on that one unknown).. Out of the 4 plants only one seeds, and when i say seeds i mean like every flower turns to a pod.. I only brought that one and the peach in for the winter because the other 2 looked a bit sad (my dogs break them all up to get the flowers) and from 2 flowers that have bloomed indoors with no sun they have gone to pods.. by far a great plant... I have never had any luck with overwintering tropical hibiscus they always seem to die.. these ones will be my last to buy, so if it makes it great if not i give up.. I just this summer found the hardy ones.. Thats the way I will be going.. have 2 plants that are overwintering in the ground and plan to add any and all i can this year from seeds.. I have a bunch, i'm getting ready...
jen

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

On that ad on the right that Dave's shows on this forum ... make it Hibiscus Moscheutos Luna Pink Swirl. So very, very pretty. Want it! Want it!

Judy, looking forward to seeing your hardies next year and Jen, yours too. Both of mine should overwinter, if my information is correct. Now that I know about them, will probably not waste my money on tropicals any more. (That's probably a lie. If I can't resist one, I'll surely buy it! Even if I end up throwing it away.)

My Sunny Wind has given it up for the season. Lots of buds that will never open. Foliage thinning out and yellowing. Temps are in the 40s at night. Guess it's time to give it a proper sendoff to the compost pile.

(Zone 9a)

Jen, why don't you snip those seed pods off. It is likely those are infertile pods and all they are doing is robbing the plant of strength.

cullman, AL(Zone 7b)

no they all seed, i have had about 20 seed pods burst full of seeds this year.. no the ones last year lookes very sad when i brought them in and thats why i think they didn't make it, thats why i only brought in the 2 healthy ones this year..



This message was edited Nov 4, 2009 3:57 PM

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

Will hardy Hibiscus bloom in sun, but not full direct sun? I would love to plant mine in an area that becomes more of a bog in the rainy season.

Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)

The grower Fleming's Flower Fields will be launching a new line of Hibiscus to be known as Tropical-Hardy™ in 2010 so you may get your wish sooner than you think. For additional information see the following link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_moscheutos

Update

The new Flemings Flowers website is up and they have listed the Tropical-Hardy™ Hibiscus:

http://www.flemingsflowers.com/
http://www.flemingsflowers.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/plants.main/typeID/3/index.htm

Of the three patented Tropical-Hardy™ Hibiscus only the Angelique (PP13734) is listed for sale at this time.

http://www.google.com/patents?as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_drrb_ap=b&as_minm_ap=1&as_miny_ap=2002&as_maxm_ap=0&as_maxy_ap=&q=Hibiscus+rosa-sinensis+moscheutos+OR+coccineus+OR+laevis+OR+militaris+OR+palustris&as_ptype=3&num=100&scoring=2

Hibiscus plant named "Angelique"
US Pat. PP13734 - Filed Jul 30, 2002

Hibiscus plant named: ‘Cherub’
US Pat. PP16669 - Filed Jul 30, 2002

Hibiscus plant named: "Pink Comet"
US Pat. PP13751 - Filed Jul 30, 2002

Mike


This message was edited Nov 10, 2009 8:48 AM

(Zone 9a)

Plant Delights has a great selection of hardy hibs.

http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/page42.html

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

My question is, how big is a 24 fl ounce pot?....lol

(Zone 9a)

Isn't that funny, it makes it sound larger than it is. I just checked the pot and it says 3 9/16" Band Pot, 4 1/4" tall. In their defense, the plants are always well rooted and he carries things you can't always find elsewhere - at least I can't find them in my neck of the woods.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

do they grow rather fast?

(Zone 9a)

During the summer outdoors they will shoot up. I am sure you are familiar with the Rose of Sharon and how fast they grow; these are close cousins.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I have had this Hardy Hibiscus for over 15 yeas, My father got it as a gift from Burpee with an order and would not grow in his region. He gave two to me. One pink and one white., I said thanks dad and put them in a black nursery container in the back landscape by the tomatoes. They were in these pots for over two years. Then one spring, this plant burst into the Las Vegas Desert. Both plants burst but the white survived and the pink one died probably from neglect. My neglect..... The white one is beautiful and no one knew what this plant was. It bloomed every year and was beautiful. We built a new home and moved a portion of the mother plant to our new home...We have been here 8 years and this year I am trying to germinate seeds so my sibling can have the plant my father gave to me/us. I am also trying cuttings but am obvious in a learning session. It is a learning experience and we have wonderful experts to help. Hardy hibiscus are now outstanding and no one in the West has a clue. Should be interesting to see who comes out on top selling hardy hibiscus to the Southwest. This is a photo of my father's hibiscus gift from Burpee in 1985.

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)

It looks very much like Hibiscus grandiflorus which comes in pink and white shades.

http://www.floridata.com/wallpaper/jpg/2008/Hibiscus_grandiflorus800.jpg
http://okeechobee.ifas.ufl.edu/News%20columns/Hibiscus_grandiflorus6.jpg

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/80836/

I am attempting to grow this Hibiscus from seeds with limited success but am now resorting to seed nicking.

Did this come as a plant or seeds from Burpee?

Mike

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Mike, it came as a very small plant. There were two. White and Pink. The pink one died. My cuttings did not take but I have several seeds that have sprouted. I used the method mentioned somewhere in the Hibiscus thread about soaking them, placing in slightly damp paper towel, place in baggie, blow up with own breath and then place bag on top of warm appliance. I used our Direct TV box. It has taken over 2 weeks but they are starting to sprout. Thanks for the links. I think you are right. Thank you.

I just received two I ordered from Burpee. They were less money than the ones I got from Plants Delight but they were also about 1/2 the size.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

ok, how tall are the ones from plants delight? $15.00 seems steep for a 4 1/2 inch tall plant.

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

I paid $39.95 each at a local nursery for two very full, blooming plants about 18-20 inches high. (See photo at top)

(Zone 9a)

The PD plants I bought were about 12" to 18" tall but they were very full and had excellent root systems. The height depended ont he variety, some were taller than others.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

No the Hardy's from Plants Delight were about 18" tall. But they die down in the winter so I guess that means the root ball is larger. I have 7 new ones, plus the two from burpee, so we will see in the spring what happens. I am hooked....

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

JudyinGA I love the color of your 2 Hibiscus. I live in zone 4 so have to settle for the hardy kind. I bought seeds from Parks and sowed H. 'Disco Bell' 3 years ago. I managed to sprout one seed. The plant flowered the first time this season. It was planted where it was overshadowed by a large elm tree. I had forgotten about it. To show how hardy it is, it never received much water and it was neglected. I discovered it after I had the elm cut down due to concern over its health and my garage under it. I redid that area in to another border and found my poor neglected Hibiscus.

I dug it up before it started to grow and potted it. I had to finish digging up along my fence where I wanted to plant it. As soon as the weather began to warm up in May, the plant began to grow. I think it was end of May or early June before I finally planted it in its permanent place. I also started 2 more Hibiscus from seeds last March and the are planted there also. I was hoping I would get at least one bloom from all 3 this year.

The one sowed last March had a bud on it that showed pink on the outside. Frost came and killed it before it bloomed. The 3rd didn't bud. It was overshadowed by a Datura growing next to it. .

Here is my 3 year old plant full of buds. Photo taken 3 days before first frost on Sept 23, 09. The flowers measured 7" across. I just love it.

Thumbnail by blomma
Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Closeup of the flower

Thumbnail by blomma
Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

The ones I got this year were around $12.00 each for plants about 20 inches tall. they were the red. I wanted different colors but hubby picked up all the same color. The ones that were $20.00 were taller .
I was wondering can they bloom in not full direct sun, but sun?

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Blomma,
That is gorgeous! Mine are my first experience with hardy hibiscus. I didn't even know there was such a thing until I joined Dave's. We'll see how they do next year. They are definitely water hogs.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

In Las Vegas, mine is in the partial shade of a very Pepper tree but it does get the heat. I have one in my holding garden which is full afternoon sun and it did fine. JudyinGA. I am with you on not knowing about all the different varieties. I have had mine for over 15 years but it was a gift from my father which was a bonus gift to him from a Burpee order. I really did not know what it was. When I joined DG, fellow gardeners identified it and then I found out about the other colors. I have 10 new different varieties planted for next spring. Will just to wait and see. They are not sold locally. I have for the first time successfully sprouted some seed which I am planting today in seed mix. I have also ordered a plant heating pad but it will not be here for 7 days. I am totally hooked.... which is not good because I am already hooked on Coleus, Iris and vegetable gardening.

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

skwinter,
I admire you for going the seed route. I'm not that patient. More of an instant gratification person. The reason I was drawn to the hibiscus (in addition to their gorgeous blooms) was the fact that they are fast growers. I still have a lot to learn about them. I was just so glad to be able to find these that I grabbed them and didn't really care what they cost! LOL

cullman, AL(Zone 7b)

I have heard that if planted soon enough in the season that some hardies will bloom there first year... I plan to give this a try.. And even if i have to wait two years its going to be all worth it in the end,,,

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

I want to plant one in my back garden. But with the tree roots I cant dig far down. If I dig down as far as I can and place the plant in it. Then put lots of soil around and spread it out making like a very large circular mound and thick enough , do you think this will work?

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

JudyinGA Like you, I was not familiar with these hardy plants either. Nor did I think any Hibiscus would be hardy enough for zone 4. I think there are only a few that are hardy. The rest are tropicals. The Disco Bell is my very first Hibiscus. It grows to 2ft. Another is named 'Southern Belle' which grows to 4ft high. Both are hardy.

cullman, AL(Zone 7b)

hardy hibuscus' that i know of...
Hibiscus coccineus Zone 6a
Hibiscus cannabinus zone 6a
Hibiscus moscheutos most are zone 5a
" " 'Anne Arundel' zone 4a
" " 'Carafe Grenache' zone 5a
" " Carolina Mix zone 4a
" " Lady Baltimore zone 5a
" " Disco Belle zone 5a
" "' Luna's zone 5a
" " 'Moy Grande' zone 5a
" " 'Rose Flare' zone 5a
" " 'Southern Belle' zone 5a
" " 'Kopper King' zone 5a
" " 'Torchy' zone 5a
" " 'Plum Crazy' zone 5a


hope this helps
jen

This message was edited Nov 12, 2009 7:38 PM

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Thank you Jen for the names, with zones.

I just came from the Fleming nursery and Ohhhhh....my! (drool). Here is the link to all both hardy and tropicals on one page. You can't buy from them since they only handle wholesale orders. They do recommend another nursery that deals with their plants. Prices from $15.00, up to $35, ouch! Here is the link to that nursery:

http://www.soonerplantfarm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/plants.kwSearchPost

Strangely, Fleming recommends that their plants when established, to allow the soil to dry out to 5 or 6" in depth. Claims that they are drought resistant due to their deep root system.

skwinter LOL! The directions for sowing seeds in a paper towel, then placed in ziplock bag, came from me. Others have written about the same process, but I am the only one that mentioned blowing up the plastic bag. The Hibiscus seeds I used was from 2006. They sprouted in 2 days after an overnight soaking in handhot water. Sown regularly, I was only able to sprout one. That is the one pictured above. I now do all my seeds with the paper towel trick. It is called The Deno Method. Glad you found the info useful.

Photo is of the Hibiscus seeds still in paper towel just prior to planting in flat. Only 2 days to sprout. Amazing!

Thumbnail by blomma
Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)

Blomma,

Could you link to you instructions in DG for germinating Hibiscus seeds? I just discovered that my Hibiscus seeds are infected with weevils and I need to do some serious controlled germination tests quickly and your method sounds ideal. Here is the link to my weevil problem.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1055744/

Mike

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Hi Mike. Sorry about your seeds. To see if I can help you, I turn to my huge bug book. There are many types of weevil but yours is probably the Bean Weevil (Acanthoscelides obtectus) It is 1/8" long and does attack seeds. They chew holes in seeds and then lay their eggs inside. There can be several generations during the winter if stored warm. The book recommends to treat with lindane before planting.

Edited to add that the grubs pupate in the seed and the weevils will eat its way out through the seed coat leaving holes.

I could not find the link, but here are the direction that I have saved in a folder on my PC.

For hardcoated seeds like Hibiscus, chip the seedcoat to allow moisture to penetrate, then soak overnight in hand hot water. In your case, I would first dip the seeds in Malathion diluted according to directions. I use it for every bug that I see on my plants.

Here is my modified Deno method:
Cut a kitchen paper towel in half. Wet it and squeeze out excess. Fold the towel in 1/2 and place seeds in a corner. Fold one end over the seeds, then fold again. You will have a square. Place this in a ziplock baggie, zip it but leave room for you to blow it up like a balloon, then quickly close it. The air will stay if the track are lined up correctly on the bag. This allows the seeds to "breathe", rather than have the plastic laying on the package. Place the baggie in a warm spot, like top of a refrigerator.

When you see radicals (roots) develop they have germinated and ready to grow. Pick the seeds up with a tweezer, holding it by the seed shell. Make a hole in the sowing mix with a pencil and gently guide the seed into it. Make sure that when you plant the sprouted seeds that the roots are placed downwards in the soil. If directions state depth of seeds, then place the sprouting seed likewise. If surface sow is recommended, just tuck in level with the soil. On the other hand, if there is some green growth, place it so that is above the soil. Sometimes seeds will "sprout" at both ends.

If roots are entangled in the paper towel, tear the towel off around the roots and plant both. You don't want to lose any roots.




This message was edited Nov 14, 2009 6:13 PM

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