hybiscus confusion - Knowledgebase Question

Del City, Ok
Question by pattyharrold
July 18, 2008
I know little of gardening and am quite confused by the care tag on the hybiscus. It says it is an annual, and will need replaced every year. However that it reaches 10-15 ft tall and could become a shrub over time. I live in Oklahoma. So can it be left in the ground over winter or not. It seems it would take more than a season to become tall and shrublike.

Answer from NGA
July 18, 2008


I wish there were an easy answer for you! Hibiscus has evolved into several different species; some are hardy in your zone (zone 7) and some are not. Let's see if we can figure out which one you have. Tropical hibiscus (hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is frost tender and should be treated as an annual in your gardening zone. It has glossy leaves. If you have a tropical hibiscus you can enjoy it in a container outdoors in the summer but need to take it indoors to grow as a houseplant during the winter months. Hibiscus moscheutos, called swamp hibiscus, is hardy to zone 5, and Hibiscus mutabilis, called Confederate Rose Mallow, is also hardy in your region. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is also hardy outdoors in your region. So check the plant label again and look for the full Latin name. That will give you a clue as to whether your plant can winter over outdoors.

Best wishes with your hibiscus!

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