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Hibiscus Bushes–Add A Splash Of Color
It’s a lovely tropical day. Imagine warm breezes, huge vibrant tropical flowers, and glossy green foliage. Right now, you are likely picturing a tropical hibiscus, even if you don’t know the name. Also called Chinese hibiscus, its botanical name is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.
Tropical hibiscuses produce huge, 6-inch blooms in vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors. Each flower lasts only a day, but the bush will keep on blooming. We love them for bringing that tropical vibe back home to our yards and patios.
Which Hibiscus is Which?
When shopping for a new hibiscus, there are three main types, but it is easy to get them mixed up. Tropical hibiscus, H. rosa-sinensis, is not at all cold hardy. It is evergreen and blooms in bright, deep colors.
Rose of Sharon, H. syriacus, which is somewhat hardy, down to USDA zone 5 or 6. It blooms white, pink, lavender, and blue.
Hardy hibiscus, also called rose mallow, usually refers to H. moscheutos but can be one of several species that are hardy to as low as USDA zone 4. Famous not only for being tolerant of cold weather, but especially for its giant blooms, it will begin flowering in midsummer and continue until the frost.
Where to Plant a Hibiscus Bush?
Hibiscus love warm, sunny spots with fertile, well-draining soil. They will be delighted with morning or midday sun and a bit of shade in the afternoon.
Many people plant tropical hibiscus in large containers and move them indoors during winter. Container-grown hibiscus can be an excellent addition to your patio or deck.
Do Hibiscus Come Back Every Year?
Tropical hibiscus is an evergreen perennial shrub when grown in USDA zones 9-12. Tropical hibiscuses must be brought inside during the winter for those in colder climates. Freezing temperatures will kill a tropical hibiscus.
Hardy hibiscuses are deciduous and are perennial when grown in appropriate climates.
Hibiscus Landscaping Ideas
In warmer climates, tropical hibiscuses make fantastic landscaping plants. Their evergreen habit and fast growth provide excellent privacy screens with the double benefit of creating a tropical vibe around your deck, pool, or yard.
Use them to hide utility or parking areas, make an informal property border, or line the back edge of your yard. If kept trimmed, they are beautiful foundation plantings as well.
Large tropical hibiscuses make fantastic specimen plantings. A pair of tropical hibiscus flanking your front entryway or ‘guarding’ your mailbox can be striking.
Perennial Hibiscus Hardiness Zone
Tropical hibiscuses are not tolerant of cold weather and will show damage when temperatures dip lower. If your area experiences temperatures below 32 ℉, your tropical hibiscus will need to be brought indoors for the winter.
Perennial Hibiscus Size
Rosa sinensis can grow as large as 6-10 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide but can be kept smaller with pruning.
How Often to Water Hibiscus in Pots vs In Ground
Tropical hibiscus bushes need regular water. If grown in a container, they will likely need watering daily or more often in hot weather. Bushes grown in the ground will need about 1-2 inches of water per week and more in extremely hot spells.
Best Hibiscus Fertilizer
Fertilizer applications are needed for tropical hibiscus grown in containers. Choose a slow-release fertilizer and apply it several times during the growing season.
Hibiscus grown in the ground may not need additional fertilizer if your soil is fertile and high in organic matter. If desired, you can provide a top dressing with a slow-release fertilizer in spring and midsummer.
Pruning Hibiscus Bushes
Hibiscus does not need pruning, but cutting back some old wood will encourage new growth. If pruning for shape, or to cause a growth flush, do so in late winter or early spring. Hibiscus blooms on new wood, so pruning will not prevent flowering if done at this time.