What type of Hibiscus grows well in Zone 9? - Knowledgebase Question

Houston, Te
Question by marigoldwhit
March 26, 2010
Hi. I would like to plant some Hibiscus that will grow to at between 6 and 10 feet in a sun/part sun part of my garden. Can you please advise what varieties I should be looking at?

Answer from NGA
March 26, 2010


Decisions, decisions! Here's the rundown on the best hibiscus for your growing region:
The perennial Hibiscus moscheutos ? our common rose mallow or marsh mallow can be found statewide. Large white flowers are the norm, on this tall growing plant. Numerous cultivars have been released as ornamental perennials, giving us the ?Disco Belle? series of two to three foot tall plants, to the larger ?Southern Belle? with six foot plus stalks. These plants bloom from June through early fall, with flowers as large as dinner plates. Colors range from white, to pink to maroon, with some bi-colors thrown in. While the plants do form large woody stalks, they die completely to the ground during the winter. They don?t begin to grow in the spring, until the soil temperature has warmed up. Give them room to grow, since they can be quite large, over time. The more sunlight the better, and they do much better in a moist environment with high organic matter. The large, coarse leaves often are chewed on by various leaf eating insects. Unless it really takes away from the beauty of the plant, it doesn?t hurt the flowering ability at all. Woody seed capsules appear after bloom. They can be planted in the spring, but often benefit from soaking overnight before being sown. You can also scatter seeds out in the fall, and allow them to come up in the spring.

Texas Star is another perennial hibiscus, called the red blooming Texas Star or Hibiscus coccineus. Deep red, funnel shaped flowers are borne on this tall growing plant. Growing six to eight feet tall or higher, this plant can be identified by its lobed leaves. It also performs best in full sun, and in moist conditions, but can tolerate drier sites in partial shade. Crosses between this species and other perennial species have resulted in the ?Lady Baltimore? and ?Lord Baltimore? species which have pink flowers with red centers and vibrant red flowers respectively on four to five foot tall plants.

The last perennial hibiscus to consider is the Confederate Rose or Hibiscus mutabilis. It has the potential for being the largest of the perennial hibiscus, growing 15 feet or more in one season. While not 100% winter hardy except for in the southern part of the state, this hibiscus has powderpuff-like blossoms, which open either white or pale pink and turn a darker shade late in the day. It blooms in the fall only, but is a show-stopper when in bloom. It too dies back to the ground, but in moderately hardy areas, you may want to take cuttings before frost hits.

Rose-of-Sharon is another member of the hibiscus genus and is also known as the old-fashioned Rose-of-Sharon or althea, Hibiscus syriacus. This deciduous shrub can be grown statewide in full sun to partial shade. Single flowers or doubles are available. It blooms from summer through frost, in good soil or bad. While the old fashioned plants were limited to lavender, white or pink flowers, many new selections are available today, with salmon flowers and bi-colors. It blooms on the current season growth, so pruning should be done in late February, prior to new growth beginning. It can be kept in shrub form, or pruned into a small tree.

Regardless of which hibiscus you choose, they all have something to offer, and for the most part, are easy to care for.

Hope this information helps you decide!

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