The Q&A Archives: identifying hibiscus

Question: My hibiscus has oval, saw-toothed leaves. Please tell me what kind of hibiscus I have. It is also in a container. I am in zone 7b.
Thank you.

Answer: Unfortunately, based on your description, I am not certain what kind of hibiscus you have. But, if the leaves are glossy and the plant's branches are a bit woody and shrub-like, it is most probably the tropical hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa sinensis. This is also most commonly sold as a container plant for patios.

There are several other types of hibiscus, however. One is H. moscheutos which is a hardy perennial; the foliage is a paler green and is not strongly toothed along the edge. There is also H. syriacus, a large growing, woody, deciduous shrub. This plant would turn yellow and defoliate in the fall, the leaves are not glossy.

You might try looking at a photo or two in the Monrovia online catalog, there are some lovely photos showing flower and foliage on H. rosa-sinensis as well as the others. You can bring up a good close-up photo of a tropical type by typing just its cultivar name, Caleb, into the search box.

If you are still not sure, you might take a sample or photo or two to your local garden center and ask the professional staff to help you.

I hope this helps!

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