Add a hint of the exotic with hibiscus

Move over Hawaii, we have our own beautiful hibiscus to light up our summer gardens. Perhaps one of the most under-used summer flowering shrub is the hardy Hibiscus syriacus althaea or Rose of Sharon.

Hibiscus

Move over Hawaii, we have our own beautiful hibiscus to light up our summer gardens.  Perhaps one of the most under-used summer flowering shrub is the hardy Hibiscus syriacus althaea or Rose of Sharon.  It has been cultivated in England since the 16th century, but it is only over the past few years that, because of today’s many new varieties, it has become a more mainstream plant.

Hardy to zone six, and possibly some high zone fives, it is one of the few flowering shrubs that opens in succession from July through to October.  Once the mophead hydrangeas finish, there is a distinct lack of garden colour from flowering shrubs, and that’s why these plants are so important.  Hibiscus are generally the last flowering shrub to show leaves in spring but they more than make up for it by being the last hurrah in the fall garden.

Hibiscus can be somewhat difficult to get established.  They need full sun or just a touch of shade and a little tender loving care to get going and to perform their best.  Hibiscus grow just fine in a wide variety of well drained soils, but they need plenty of organic matter to hold moisture.  They wilt easily in hot weather and need a deep watering during periods of long drought.  Don’t move them around the garden as they are not happy  being transplanted.  It’s also a good idea to mulch their roots over the first couple of winters to protect them from deep frost.

Hibiscus are usually sold as small to medium sized plants in bush form, but they can also be purchased or trained into a handsome tree form.  Growing to about 3.5 meters (12 feet), they can easily be pruned in late winter to conform their size to your garden needs.  There are three flower forms:  large singles, semi-double and smaller doubles.  My favourite is ‘Red Heart’, a large white single with a red eye that really shows up in the garden.  ‘Diana’ is a huge pure white triploid that remains open at night.   ‘Woodbridge’ is a single magenta rose with a red eye.  ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Marina’ are improved forms of a single blue with a red eye.  In the double forms, ‘Ardens’ is a purple and ‘Collie Mullens’ is a magenta rose with a crimson eye.

The newest series from Proven Winners is the ‘Chiffon Series’ featuring beautiful large, full semi-doubles.  The blue, lavender, white and pink ‘Chiffons’ are quite spectacular.  Some very innovative growers are planting two colours together in one container, providing a beautiful two tone effect for a novel addition to any garden.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld says he’s the victim of workplace discrimination

Left out of liaison duties in the district, Barry Neufeld says he’ll be bringing legal action against the school board

More trouble for Chilliwack man infamous for Stanley Cup riot assault on Good Samaritan

Sentenced this week for twice refusing to provide breath samples after alleged drunk driving

Ceremony to honour matriarchs at Matsqui Sunday

Gathering part of the effort to reclaim jurisdiction over child welfare services from government

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

Prices still rising, Chilliwack real estate back in balanced territory

Local market is steadier compared to points west with higher increase in average sale price

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Dog shot in foot with BB gun during cellphone sale at SkyTrain station

William Ayers, 28, is facing a number of charges after incident in Burnaby

Man, two children sent to hospital after Vancouver carbon monoxide leak

Nine people were evacuated from the home in south Vancouver

Most Read