Growing Hibiscus Varieties

There are over 200 hibiscus varieties covering the entire spectrum of landscaping from annuals to shrubs to full grown trees. Hibiscus plants are members of the mallow family and have native forms that grow in Asia and North America.

Hibiscus plants generally take two to three years to mature, with some species reaching heights of up to eight feet. The hibiscus is best known, however, for its blooms. The flat, colorful flowers of a hibiscus plant can reach up to 6 inches across.

Hibiscus plants like sunny, well-drained locations. Taller species should not be planted in windy sites. Water your hibiscus deeply, allowing the soil to just become dry between watering. As a hardy perennial, hibiscus plants should be cut down to the ground after the first freeze. By mid-spring, vigorous new growth will appear and your hibiscus should begin blooming by mid summer.

Scarlet Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) zones 6 to 11
Also known as Texas Star hibiscus, this plant is native to swamps and riverbanks in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Growing three to six feet tall, the scarlet swamp hibiscus has deep red flowers that have five divided petals. The large blooms of the scarlet swamp hibiscus are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) zones 5 to 9
The rose mallow is a medium-sized hibiscus that is sometimes called the Dinner Plate hibiscus because of its flowers that can reach 10 to 12 inches wide. Although the flowers last only a day, a mature rose mallow will sport several blooms at a time from late summer to early fall.

Confederate Roses (Hibiscus mutabilis) zones 7 to 10
A native of China, the confederate rose can grow from 8 to 15 feet. Considered a large shrub, the confederate rose will drop its leaves in winter. The blooms of this hibiscus open white but then turn pink to dark pink over their lifespan.

Great Rose Mallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus) zones 7 to 11
The great rose mallow features large gray-green leaves on eight-foot tall stalks. Light pink blooms appear in late summer. The flowers of the great rose mallow feature five six-inch long petals that are crimson at the base and fade to pale pink at the tips.

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