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Do you mean specifically the Hardy Hibiscus (Latin name Hibiscus moscheutos), or are you OK with any hibiscus species that is cold hardy? There are definitely variegated rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) cultivars and they're very hardy. I'm not as familiar with H. moscheutos so couldn't tell you if there are any variegated cultivars or not.
OK, then you mean specifically H. moscheutos--the way your post was worded about only being able to find variegated hibiscus that weren't cold hardy I thought maybe you were open to any species that were cold hardy and H. syriacus would fit that bill. Hopefully someone else will know if there are any variegated H. moscheutos or not. I'm not aware of any but maybe someone else knows of some.
There are 2 hybrids of H. moscheutos with variegated leaves...these are not RoS, but commonly called Hardy Hibiscus. The variegation is stunning in the spring, but diminishes by the end of the summer when the plant begins to bloom in huge pie-plate flowers. Both are hybrids. Cold-hardiness is being field-tested this coming winter...I can only attest to the heat-tolerance.
[quote="txaggiegal"]There are 2 hybrids of H. moscheutos with variegated leaves...these are not RoS, but commonly called Hardy Hibiscus. The variegation is stunning in the spring, but diminishes by the end of the summer when the plant begins to bloom in huge pie-plate flowers. Both are hybrids. Cold-hardiness is being field-tested this coming winter...I can only attest to the heat-tolerance.[/quote]Txaggiegal,
Variegated leaves can have several causes including:
1. A mutation in the cell nucleus which breeds true.
2. A chimera stem mutation where only some of the cells are chlorotic.
3. A variegated condition cause by a plant virus.
Cell mutations are fairly consistent but chimera stem mutations can be all over the place. I have Variegated Daylilies were the fan from each new runner is an unknown. I have new fans which revert back to solid green, while other new fans are albinos which die when separated from the mother plant. Once a variegated pattern is established in a new Daylily fan, it remains that way for the rest of it life, while the game of chance continues with the new runners.
Hibiscus syriacus and Hibiscus moscheutos are very different plants in tems of their response to cold. H. syriacus aboveground stems will survive the winter while H. moscheutos stems will usually die back to ground level. I have observe situations where the stems of H. moscheutos hybrids will survive the winter for a few inches above the ground and new gown will emerge from these surviving sections in addition to the root ball. My impression is that most of the variegated H. syriacus I have observed are chimera stem mutations.
I would like to ask you a few questions about your variegated H. moscheutos hybrids:
1. Will your variegated H. moscheutos hybrids produce variegated offspring from seeds?
2. Can you propagate a variegated H. moscheutos via root division?
3. Can you propagate a variegated H. moscheutos from a stem cutting?
You live in Zone 8b and there is a good chance that some of you variegated H. moscheutos stems may survive above ground.
The Dutch Tulip growers maintained their monopoly of variegated Tulips for may yeas until the word got out that you had to transfer the sap from variegate (infected) Tulips to healthy Tulips. Not lost of the ever mercantile minded Dutch, was the fact that infected Tulips didnít reproduce and died after a few yeas forcing customers to buy more Tulips from you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip#Diseases