Grown for their large and showy blooms, hibiscus plants add a ton of color to a garden. Whether you are growing the hardy rose of Sharon types or the tropical varieties, either will give plenty of blooms throughout the season. The tropical types in particular can easily bloom most of the year, and come in dozens colors to choose from.
With so many colors to choose from, you are bound to find a hibiscus that will work with your garden palette. The only color these versatile plants don't come in is true blue. In tropical varieties, the large flowers typically last for just one day. Luckily, these plants can put on blooms almost the whole season, as long as they have plenty of sunshine. Many types even have bi-color blooms or other fun special effects.
Hibiscus Care Must-Knows
Hibiscus are easy-to-grow plants that require very little maintenance, and they like well-drained soils. During hot summers, be sure to water hibiscus daily to prevent them from dropping any flower buds due to heat stress. All types of hibiscus like full sun and will develop the most amount of flowers possible when in full sun. Full sun will also help these plants have strong branches, as tropical types of hibiscus especially tend to have poor branching. The branches may need some supplemental pruning to help shape the plants and prevent them from being too sparse. Do this in the spring, right before the heat of the summer encourages a new flush of growth.
Tropical types of hibiscus make wonderful container plants. Make sure to plant tropical hibiscus in a general-purpose potting mix and to use a slow release fertilizer, as they are heavy feeders. You can also water the plants with a general-purpose fertilizer every other week, or even just once a month, to help promote blooms. Is your hibiscus not blooming? See why.
If you have these tropical plants in a container outside for the season and plan to bring them back inside for the winter, make sure to give them as much sun as you can. Cooler temperatures and lower light inside slow these plants down, so don't plan on blooms all winter long. If they do try to bloom, you may find it beneficial to pinch the buds off so that the plants focus their energy on surviving and not blooming.
Lately, there has been a fair amount of research going on in the world of tropical hibiscus. Whether in the novelty domain, where people are breeding specifically for interesting colors and patterns, or in the wholesale plant trade to make overall improvements, there have been many developments. A new series called the Hollywood Series features great new color options on dwarf plants perfect for containers. These varieties also feature blooms that stay open for several days longer than original hibiscus breeds.
More Varieties for Hibiscus
'Amazon Queen' hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Amazon Queen' shows off extra-large beige flowers with ruffled edges. It can grow 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 10-11
'Bonnie B' hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Bonnie B' offers large red and lavender blooms that fade to orange and yellow at the edges. It can reach 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 10-11
'Gator Pride' hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Gator Pride' is a stunning selection with 6-inch-wide, lavender-blue flowers that blend to apricot-pink at the edges. It grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 10-11
'Goin Steady' hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Goin Steady' offers huge white semidouble flowers with bright pink centers. It can grow 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 10-11
'Blue Chiffon' Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Chiffon' offers semidouble blooms in a soft lavender-blue. It grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 4-9
'Amber Suzanne' hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Amber Suzanne' is a subtropical variety that flaunts huge semidouble blooms that are deep pink toward the center and pale pink at the petal edges. It can reach 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 10-11
'Sugar Tip' hibiscus
Hibiscus syriacus 'Sugar Tip' is a stunning selection with double pink flowers and white-edge foliage. It grows 12 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Zones 5-8
'White Wings' hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings' is an old but classic variety with white flowers that have bold red centers. It grows 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 10-11
'White Chiffon' Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus 'White Chiffon' delights with semidouble white flowers. The shrub grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 4-9
'Red Heart' Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart' bears huge white flowers with eye-catching red centers on a shrub that grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 5-9
'Lavender Chiffon' Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus 'Lavender Chiffon' offers semidouble blooms in a delightful shade of lavender. The shrub grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 4-9