Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Hibiscus By Any Other Name

Lately I have devoted so much time and effort to maintaining the gardens, but it has paid off.  They are beautiful!  Everyone who visits our home always wants to visit the gardens.  My son-in-law has described it as "a beautiful retreat."  He really liked the perennial Hibiscus. He always liked Hibiscus but didn't like the fact that they were annuals in our part of the country. Brandon recently planted the perennial Hibiscus in his gardens and they are thriving.

As I acquired four more Rose of Sharon bushes, also a Hibiscus, the cashier at the garden center saw Hibiscus on the plant tag and said that she thought that these were Rose of Sharon and not Hibiscus.  I started thinking that a lot of people might not know the difference in the plants.  Since my gardens have all three types, I thought that a post might be helpful.

The Rose of Sharon, while technically a Hibiscus, is a flowering shrub.  It blooms continuously from the end of May until the first frost.  It is a perennial and has been quite hardy.  At my house, they have endured hurricane force winds, very cold winters and long hot summers. The White Chiffon is planted close to the house so I placed a trellis behind it to contain its growth.  This plant is growing more upright and has not spread as much as the violet one. Rose of Sharon is one of my favorite plants because it provides a lot of flowers without a lot of maintenance.

Five Year Old Rose of Sharon Bush

Rose of Sharon
White Chiffon Rose of Sharon

The tropical Hibiscus are so beautiful and they come in a variety of colors from the familiar orange to yellow, and a coral pink. The hummingbirds love the nectar.  These plants also like sunny locations and flower all summer long without a lot of maintenance.  However, unless one lives in a tropical location like Florida these plants are annuals.  They cannot tolerate cold temperatures.  I sometimes dig them up before the first frost and plant them in a container and place them indoors over the winter. Then in the spring I transplant them outdoors.

Tropical Hibiscus

Lately the garden centers in my area have been selling perennial Hibiscus.  These plants can withstand the cold winter temperatures.  The plant has larger leaves and larger flowers than the tropical plants.  The hummingbirds also like the nectar of these plants. Unfortunately Japanese Beetles also like the leaves.  I don't spray the plants because the birds like to eat the beetles.

Three year old perennial Hibiscus.

Recently planted perennial Hibiscus.

I hope the pictures and the description of the plants will be helpful.