hardy hibiscus

Justin W. Hancock

Happy New Hibiscus

Written on December 13, 2012 at 5:36 am , by

I love perennial hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos hybrids). I know some gardeners think they’re garish and too flashy, but the tropical feel they endow to the garden be so much fun. And they’re so easy to grow! Few perennials tolerate the range of conditions — from hot and dry to wet soil — that perennial hibiscus do.

And it’s really exciting that plant breeders are continuing to work on them, giving gardeners more choices than ever to add to the landscape. One variety I’m particularly excited about is Hibiscus ‘Hypnotic’. This stunner offers 11-inch-wide pale pink flowers with deeper stripes that radiate from a glowing red throat. It’s accented by finely cut purple-tinted foliage that looks great all summer and autumn.

Another exciting aspect to the plant is that it grows only 42 inches tall — so it’s easier than ever to tuck into the garden. Pair it with pink coneflowers, coreopsis (such as ‘Cosmic Evolution’), and Rozanne perennial geranium for a combo that flowers all summer long, no matter what the weather’s like.

Look for ‘Hypnotic’ hibiscus at your local garden center this spring!


Justin W. Hancock

Wordless Wednesday!

Written on April 27, 2011 at 5:47 am , by

It’s Wednesday…that means time to show off some fantastic photos from the BHG Share My Gallery.

Echinacea 'Coral Reef'A beautiful coneflower in the summer garden of reader lvs2grdn!

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Perennial hibiscus 'Luna Pink Swirl' from reader luvs2grdn

Perennial hibiscus 'Luna Pink Swirl' from reader luvs2grdn

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Stunning 'Belinda's Dream' rose from reader stefanie2629061

Stunning 'Belinda's Dream' rose from reader stefanie2629061

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Denny Schrock

whack ‘em back!

Written on March 18, 2011 at 10:54 am , by

bloomingbuddlejaEarly spring is a great time to prune summer blooming shrubs. Butterfly bush often becomes lank and rangy unless pruned severely, and in Zone 5, it often suffers winter dieback. Solve both problems at once by whacking the entire shrub back to 6 inches above ground line. The photo below shows what a properly pruned butterfly bush will look like after pruning. Don’t worry. It will grow back and bloom beautifully by mid-summer. In fact, it will be more compact and tidy than an unpruned shrub.

Butterfly bush pruned back to ground level

Butterfly bush pruned back to ground level

You can treat most other summer or fall blooming shrubs the same way. They form flower buds on new growth, so you won’t be sacrificing any blooms. (However, DON’T prune early spring bloomers such as forsythia or lilac now. Wait until they finish flowering to cut them back.) Other examples of shrubs that take well to severe early spring pruning are pink flowered spireas (not the spring-blooming white forms), potentilla, hardy hibiscus, beautyberry, and crape myrtle (in Zones where they suffer winter dieback, and never develop into trees.)

Shrubs grown primarily for attractive stems, such as red-twig dogwood, or colorful foliage, such as purple smoke bush also respond well to severe pruning. Note that pruning the smoke bush will remove it’s smoky plumes, so don’t prune your smoke bush if you want the smoky effect that they provide. The severely pruned shrubs will regrow with renewed vigor and more brilliant color.

So pull out the pruning saw, and start whacking!