Perennial Hibiscus, Rose-Mallow
Big, brilliant flowers on plump shrubs rank this among the showiest flowering shrubs in Western gardens. Some are very tender tropical species grown in Hawaii, others very hardy. Plants typically bear funnel-shaped blossoms, often with prominent stamens.
Giant whitefly is the most important pest of hibiscus in central and Southern California, coating the undersides of leaves with wax and eventually defoliating the plant. A parasitoid wasp has been released to control it, and research continues on its control.
Native to the eastern U.S. This perennial species produces the largest flowers of all hibiscus, some reaching 1 ft. across, on an upright, shrubby plant 6–8 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide. Bloom starts in late spring or early summer and continues until frost, with most flowers in the red, pink, rose, and white range, many with a red eye. Oval, toothed leaves are deep green above, whitish beneath. Plants die to the ground in winter, even in mild climates. For the most spectacular bloom, feed at 6–8-week intervals during the growing season. Protect from wind. Seed-grown strains often flower the first year if sown indoors and planted outdoors early.
‘Crimson Wonder’: Can reach 5 ft. tall and wide, with slightly ruffled, rose-red flowers 9–11 in. across.
‘Dave Fleming’: Quick growth to 3–4 ft. tall and wide, with large, textured ruby-red flowers and maroon-tinted foliage.
‘James Fleming’: Hot pink flowers contrast nicely with maroon-tinted foliage on this fast-grower to 3–4 ft. tall and wide.
‘Lady Baltimore’: Reaches 4–7 ft. tall and wide, with 6–8-in. glowing pink flowers with a large red center.
‘Lord Baltimore’: Grows to 4–7 ft. tall and wide, with pleated, brilliant red flowers up to 10 in. across.
‘The Clown’: Light pink blooms with a slightly deeper pink blush and deep red center reach 6–8 in. across. Plant grows to 4–7 ft. tall and wide.
‘Blue River II’: Grows to about 4 ft. tall and wide. Flowers to 10 in. across are pure white.
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