Summer-Blooming Hibiscus Has Enormous, Vibrant Blossoms
When it comes to big, striking blooms, no plant packs quite the punch that hibiscus does. When they bloom, they produce enormous, vibrant blossoms that catch your eye and make you want to look closer. They're some of the showiest flowers in the garden and look positively gorgeous when they begin to bloom, which is why they're such popular summer flowers.
Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) come in a rainbow of colors, from bright red to orange, pink, yellow, and white. Many have deep red centers. Their blooms appear in mid-to-late summer, beginning in June and continuing into fall. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, hibiscus are "among the showiest flowering plants in Southern gardens. They typically bear funnel-shaped blossoms sometimes as big as dinner plates and often with prominent stamens. The many species offer an astonishing range of flower colors, and most bloom over a long season." They're native to the southern United States, and the biggest hibiscus flowers can reach to 1 foot across. In addition to the pops of color they add to the garden, the flowers also attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
When choosing which hibiscus selections to plant, take into account space and maintenance needs. Many species of hibiscus can thrive in wet soil. Some are smaller—the Southern Belle strain grows to 4 feet tall and the Cordials series are 3 feet tall—and others are much taller—the Vintage series can reach to 23 feet tall. Popular selections include 'Anne Arundel', 'Lady Baltimore', and 'Summer Storm', all of which have pink and red blooms; 'Cranberry Crush', which has scarlet or cranberry-hued flowers; 'Fireball', which has bright red blossoms; and 'Raspberry Rose', which grows to 7 feet tall and has raspberry red flowers.
When caring for hibiscus, ensure that it gets plenty of water during its blooming season. It requires less water during the rest of the year, particularly in winter. They thrive in full sun and don't like the cold. Because of their water needs, they can withstand soil that isn't well drained. Hibiscus can be grown outdoors, but they are also popularly grown as container plants.
When you want drama in the garden, look to hibiscus. If you're more interested in the foliage than the flowers, try out 'Panama Red' hibiscus from the Southern Living Plant Collection, which has deep red leaves and red flowers that appear infrequently. Redleaf hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) is also grown for its foliage.
Have you ever planted hibiscus in your garden? What colors of hibiscus would you like to plant this year?