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Hibiscus – Native, Hardy, and Tropical

By Mitch Fitzgerald (MitchFAugust 5, 2008
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When the sight and sounds of the tropics comes to mind, there is no other flower that comes to mind in more peoples head than the hibiscus. So, can you grow this wonder of the tropics in your own yard? Sure you can, and, well, no you can’t. Read on to find out the how and whys!

Gardening pictureMajor types...

There are several major types of Hibiscus. There are the native plants, the hardy plants, and the tropical plants. Each is still the same in the fact that they all have huge stunning flowers that have five or more petals arrayed in such a way as to always give them that tropical look. The leaves are secondary. Even if they are variegated or fancy cut they are always second place to the show the flowers put on. So let's learn a little more about each of these wonderful groups of plants.

ImageNative

Native hibiscus are among the best for United States gardeners. They are long lasting and will withstand anything our weather can throw at them. They are often more simple in nature and colors, with most being white, red, or pink. The best known and classic example of this type of hibiscus is the Texas Star, known for growing in very wet and, once established, very dry areas with little if any problems. There are a lot of Mallows that love and thrive in many areas of the states and, even though being hated by some gardeners, they are stunning and deserve a little space in the home garden. Thank you to sisterhawk for the image.

 

ImageHardy

The hardy hibiscuses are stunning and, for the most part, the biggest blooms in the hibiscus market today. From the very ornate to the very simple these are among the most amazing of all the hibiscus for the simple fact they love to live and even thrive in so many areas. They can take some cold temperatures with mulch and live in many Northern areas, coming back bigger and better each and every year. These plants are among the last to come back in the spring. Thus, you must be careful to make sure you leave them space in the garden for they will rise up and spread in the warmth of summer. While it can be said these are much like the natives above, the biggest difference comes in the fact they mostly tend to be hybrids. Thank you to jody for the image.

 

ImageTropical

These plants will not take any cold. They will take a light freeze if they must, but they will brown and leaves will fall at the first hint of frost. These are the hibiscus that comes in a wide array of colors and kaleidoscopes of patterns. From the very simple to the complicated and ornate these are well worth their space in the garden even if left to die with winter frost. They can be dug and brought indoors or into a greenhouse for the winter and will bloom quickly when taken back outside in the spring. They can be grown as a house plant if you have good light and time to care for these wonderful plants. Thank you to Shirley1md for this image.

 

No matter what type of hibiscus you are thinking about or planning on growing, these are great plants that will fill any space with pride. They are well worth the time and effort it takes to plant and grow them. They will live for years to come in your garden with simple care, and reward you by getting bigger and better each year.

Thank you to Toxicodendron for the thumbnail image.

 


  About Mitch Fitzgerald  
Mitch FitzgeraldI am a pentecostal preacher, gardener,husband, and a father. I love natives, daylilies, iris, and roses. I love teaching others, be they children or adults, about the garden and plants.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Hibiscus called Fiery furnace mousegarden 0 0 Apr 29, 2014 2:33 PM
Propagation Debsroots 7 127 Jul 18, 2013 6:17 PM
hibiscus no flowers outdoors? purplemomma 0 13 Oct 26, 2009 11:18 AM
Cajun hibiscus Darmananda 3 49 Oct 13, 2009 1:37 PM
Beautiful article Aunt_A 8 44 Aug 8, 2008 3:01 PM
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