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Hibiscus

Hibiscus Rosa-sinensis
Hybrid 'All Aglow'

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Zone 9-10

Hibiscus is perhaps the best known tropical shrub and flower in the world. The form of the flower is known everywhere and there are hundreds of hybrids to enjoy in every color imaginable

Pictured is 'All Aglow' our favorite of them all.  This hibiscus hybrid used to be available but now is very difficult to find.  All Aglow can be excellent as a shrub or trained as a "tree" hibiscus

In zone 9-10, Hibiscus is a robust shrub of variable height to 15 feet, although most are seen much smaller due to pruning. Others like Hibiscus 'LaFrance' are correctly grown as a small trees

Be sure your soil is on the acid side.  Like Ixora, keep away from concrete.  Full sun is essential for high flower production.  Feed well from spring through October and mulch is appreciated.  Bud drop can be caused by hot weather and also from insects, such as thrips

Many fancy hybrid Hibiscus plants grown for shows are small to tiny, perhaps 2 feet tall, and with minimal foliage. Of course, their fancy flowers are spectacular.  These are not landscape plants as they require knowledge and attention

Flowers are produced all year around in South Florida zone 10, but the best production is during the fall and spring when temperatures are moderate to cool.  Hibiscus hot weather bud drop is universal

Blooms are seen best from fall through early summer (cooler months).  Best pruning time is after blooming has stopped or you are seeing bud drop due to hot weather. For superior blooming plus surviving and thriving through cold waves is the double red

Some call hibiscus "Queen of Shrubs" as different types can be used in so many ways to provide color, beauty of bloom and ease of ownership. Hibiscus is likely the best shrub in the tropics

USA native Hibiscus grandiflora always has 5 pedals and grows in a triangle from Georgia to Louisiana to Florida


"Dinner Plate" Hibiscus
click pic to enlarge

This variety is prized for it's super huge blooms, often 10-12 inches across.  Hibiscus grandiflora is a bog plant in both fresh and brackish water.  Not often grown in zone 10.  Due to size, one common name is "Dinner Plate" hibiscus

For Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, plant in fertile soil that is moist but well drained. Water to supplement rain in dry periods. Fertilize with a complete fertilizer, lightly but often. Plant in full sun to partial shade for best flowering. Do not use hibiscus as a hedge as all flowers come from tips which are exterminated in hedge pruning

Aphids, scales, mites, nematodes and thrips all enjoy hibiscus as well, especially aphids . New emerging blooms can be covered in aphids and bloom drop is the likely result. Chemical sprays are awful for hibiscus (kills the blooms) so alternate means of insect control are suggested. Also, a plain water spray wash works well for most of these pests

Landscape hibiscus commercially grown by professional landscape nurseries include:

  • Hibiscus  'Anderson Crepe'
  • Hibiscus  'Annie Wood'
  • Hibiscus  'Aussie Queen'
  • Hibiscus  Brilliant Red'
  • Hibiscus  'Carnation - Red'
  • Hibiscus  'Celia'
  • Hibiscus  coccineus - Scarlet Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus  'Corkscrew'
  • Hibiscus  'El Capitola Sport'
  • Hibiscus  'Euterpe'
  • Hibiscus  'Florida Sunset'
  • Hibiscus  'Fort Lyers'
  • Hibiscus  'Hula Girl'
  • Hibiscus  'Jane Cowl'
  • Hibiscus  'Joanne'
  • Hibiscus  'Kona'
  • Hibiscus  'Kona Princess'
  • Hibiscus  'LaFrance", pic
  • Hibiscus  'M. Gruder''
  • Hibiscus  moscheutos - Mallow Rose
  • Hibiscus  'Orange Pride'
  • Hibiscus  'Painted Lady'
  • Hibiscus  'Pink Veriscolor'
  • Hibiscus  'President'
  • Hibiscus  'Pride/Hankins'
  • Hibiscus  'Rosa'
  • Hibiscus  rosa-sinensis - Chinese Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus  'Ruth Wilcox'
  • Hibiscus  Scarlet Red'
  • Hibiscus  schizopetalus, Fringed Hibiscus, Pic #1  #2
  • Hibiscus  'Seminole Pink'
  • Hibiscus  'Snow Queen', pic
  • Hibiscus spendens, Pic  #1  #2
  • Hibiscus  subdariffa - Roselle
  • Hibiscus  'Sundance'
  • Hibiscus  syriacus - Rose-of-Sharon
  • Hibiscus  tiliaceus - Sea Hibiscus Tree, Pic, #1  #2   #3  #4
  • Hibiscus  tiliaceus 'Tri-Color' or 'Mahoe', offer page
  • Hibiscus  'White Wings'
  • Malvaviscus grandiflorus, Turk's Cap, Pic #1  #2

Fancy, named hybrid hibiscus available only from specialty growers and hibiscus collectors include:

Due to scarcity and demand, these hybrid hibiscus are typically sold very small - usually only 4-12 inches tall and most often priced at $12-$30 each, regardless of size.  Because demand is so high and availability is so small, specialty growers are bought out at these sizes and prices

Leaves of many hybrid hibiscus are often sparse causing a scraggly appearance.  The wood of hybrid hibiscus tends to grow very slowly and many varieties never attain full shrub size.  Nevertheless, owning a few of these beauties is very rewarding for their large showy complex flowers and the exclusivity of ownership

More information is here at the American Hibiscus Society

We have started a hibiscus picture collection. Come back often to see new photos

For fancy and rare hibiscus, Winn Soldani is our favorite source just down the road from us.  Winn is in Pompano Beach