The hibiscus is the most popular tropical flower for gardeners-even in zones where the word ‘tropical’ isn’t used to describe the climate.

There are over 200 species of hibiscus. Some are annuals while others are perennials. Some are smaller plants grown successfully in large pots, while others are tree-like in size and structure. The hibiscus comes in a variety of colors. Their large, open-faced blooms come in pink, yellow, white, red, salmon and red.

HIBISCUS FACTS

  • The hibiscus grows best in hot, humid, moist climates. The word ‘hibiscus’ comes from the Greek word meaning marshmallow.
  • Most people don’t realize that the old-fashioned Rose of Sharon which grows so prolifically is a species of hibiscus.
  • Some hibiscus blooms are used to make a caffeine-free tea while others are used for medicinal purposes.

GROWING HIBISCUS

Growing hibiscus in your garden is not difficult. Plants can be rooted from stem cuttings which are rooted in damp, sandy soil or rooting solution before being planted in a large pot or the ground. Hibiscus plants require soil that drains well and that which contains a good amount of organic material.

When you plant your hibiscus plants, be sure to water well when you plant them to help prevent weeping and wilting. After that, keep moist, but not soggy. Once your plant is established, you can shape it and control its height by pruning and pinching it back.

In colder climates, potted hibiscus can be wintered inside if allowed to rest if given minimal water and no fertilizer.

Hibiscus plants have a varying price range depending on the species. The most common varieties, however, can be purchased for under $10.

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