Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Plant of the Week - Hibiscus

When someone asks a question about their hibiscus, I have to first ask what type of hibiscus is it?There’s always a slight pause, and then I will say, tropical (not hardy here), woody hibiscus (shrub / small tree commonly called Rose of Sharon), or perennial hibiscus, which dies back to the ground over the winter and regrows form the roots each spring.  After another slight pause, I’ll usually say that it has dinner plate sized flowers and that always rings the bell!  So todays plant of the week, would be the perennial hibiscus, sometimes known as Rose Mallow.

Now there are a wonderful selection of perennial hibiscus available today; nice bold plants that add great summer colors (some with great foliage colors) and a little tropical feel to the garden or container, and yes, many are the size of dinner plates! Love the sun, and although they are very comfortable in moist soils (sometimes see them growing naturally in low areas or along creek beds), they will grow nicely in regular garden soil (or containers).

Tough, durable perennial, with many being hardy to zone 4. Sun to part sun and remember, these woody perennials (cut the stems back close to the ground late fall or early spring) will be one of the last to respond with new growth in the spring. They need warm soils and warmer temperatures.Check out your local garden stores for their selections of Perennial Hibiscus!

Our plant pick of the week is Hibiscus. “Hibiscus” Hopefully when you read this you asked the same question I do; “What type of hibiscus?”  You see, there are 3 types of hibiscuses we plant here, all of which have great flowers: all of which very distinct growing differences! We have your tropical hibiscus, which is not hardy for our winters (Hawaii state flower) but great in containers for great summer colors, then we have your hardy hibiscus, a hardy perennial hibiscus with huge flowers (last only a day – but produces many, many flowers) that start mid-summer thru first frost, and then we have your woody hibiscus, or commonly known as ‘Rose of Sharon’; hardy woody shrub that flowers mid-summer thru the fall.  So which hibiscus is our pick of the week? They all are showing great colors right now but let us go with ‘Rose of Sharon’. So many great selections available today, ranging in heights from 3-4 feet to 10-12 feet tall, a multitude of shades of reds, pinks and whites, single and double flowers, and yes, is one of few woody shrubs that produce flowers all summer long.Love the sun / Good even moisture / flowers on new growth so if pruning is needed, do it in the spring (less pruning helps produce larger flowers).    But do check out all 3 hibiscus types…then you will have great summer colors in the perennial gardens, containers, and in the landscape. 


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