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hibiscus-bareroot-size.jpgDoes it take a green thumb to grow a five-foot-tall hibiscus with a 10-inch bloom? Nope, all hibiscus need to flourish is full sun and consistently moist, well-drained soil.

Common Names: Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow, Hardy Hibiscus, Dinner-Plate Hibiscus, Fleming hybrid Hibiscus, or Perennial Hibiscus. Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9; Hardy to -30F degrees.

A hardy perennial that is categorized as a deciduous woody shrub but produces large blooms that are similar to tropical Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. There are two types of flowering habits: ‘determinate’ and ‘indeterminate’. Cultivars with ‘determinate’ flowering develop flower buds near the terminal shoot and ‘indeterminate’ varieties develop flower buds at the nodes along much of the stem as well as near the terminal shoots. Therefore, ‘indeterminate’ cultivars produce more flowers and bloom considerably longer than ‘determinate’ varieties.

Most of the older genetics on the market are ‘determinate’ bloomers with flowers lasting for approximately one month during the summer. All of the new Walters Gardens introductions are ‘indeterminate’ bloomers and flower consistently for 2 to 3 months or even longer.

Hardy hibiscus begins blooming in mid-summer and will often continue producing flowers until frost. One hibiscus plant can produce hundreds of flowers, especially with deadheading to prolong the bloom period. Plant the hibiscus crown at or just below soil level in a moist, well-drained, sunny location. Keeping these plants watered will result in larger flowers and lush foliage. Do not over-water dormant plants, but after dormancy is broken, do not let plants wilt. Provided with organic soil (or a fertilizer application in the spring) and plenty of water. Fertilizer should not be used after June to ensure that the hibiscus flower production is not impeded by excess nitrogen. To encourage branching, pinch plants back when new shoots are 2 inches long. Do not pinch all the way back to the hardwood portion of the stem.

It is best to plant Hibiscus in the garden before the heat of the summer arrives. One of the keys to success is to grow Hibiscus warm.  They do not grow well with cool temperatures.  When the temperatures are below 60 to 65° F, the plants grow slowly and may appear chlorotic.  The best growth and development occur with day temperatures above 70° F and night temperatures above 68° F. Hibiscus require long days for flowering. Hibiscus should be heavily mulched the first winter. In spring, cut back any remaining stems before new growth appears.

Hibiscus can be used in the garden as focal point, as a border or arranged to provide an informal hedge. Some perennial hibiscus plants are compact, and some habits are taller.

Perennial Hibiscus plants have no severe pest or disease problems.