The Q&A Archives: Hardy Hibiscus Location

Question: I would like to plant a perennial (6 ft. tall or less) in a border along the back wall of my house. The location receives full sun from March until late October, and complete shade from November until February. Summer temperatures are in the upper 90's. I was interested in a hardy hibiscus. Is this advisable? If not, do you have any other suggestions?

Answer: Hardy hibiscus would do fine in that location as would cannas and hollyhocks. There are numerous selections of all of these to choose from. I'll focus on the hibiscus for now.

Hibiscus moscheutos, Giant Rose Mallow, is a wonderful plant. Burpee sells a selection 'Anne Arundel' with huge, pink blossoms. Other proven varieties in this species are 'Southern Belle' and 'Frisbee'. Texas Star Hibiscus, H. coccineus, is another perennial option. Its red, 5-petaled blooms resemble a star. Two other hibiscus varieties I've had good luck with are 'Lord Baltimore' and 'Lady Baltimore'.

For best results, mix several inches of compost into the top 6-8" of soil prior to planting. Keep plants well watered until established and then cut back watering to once a week or so.

Here's a hint for showing off your hibiscus. Pick a flower and cut off the stem at the flower's base. Fill an attractive clear glass bowl (or a big fishbowl) halfway with water and float the flower in the water. Use it as a coffee table or luncheon table decoration. Enjoy your hibiscus!

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