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The Plant Guide

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Hibiscus trionum

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A seldom-seen annual or short-lived perennial, this easy-to-grow plant performs as the perfect filler in beds and containers. It forms a well-branched compact mound of deeply lobed, dark green leaves, which provide an interesting textural backdrop to its charming, hibiscus-type flowers. The flowers are truly stunning with their cream petals, purple-hued undersides, and deep burgundy centers. While each flower lasts only a single day, the plant blooms profusely all season and produces inflated seedpods. The flowers will not normally open on a cloudy day, but this is a small price to pay for such a gem of a plant.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsFlowers last only one day each. Interesting seedpods. Fast grower.

CarePut plants in a sunny spot with moist, well-drained, fertile soil.

PropagationSow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost or outdoors after danger of frost has passed.

ProblemsRust, fungal leaf spots, bacterial blight, Verticillium wilt, viruses, stem rots, root rots. Whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, mites, Japanese beetles, and caterpillars can also cause problems.

  • Genus : Hibiscus
  • Plant Height : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 10, 11
  • Plant Type : Annuals
  • Uses : Containers
  • Bloom Time : Early Fall, Early Summer, Fall, Late Summer, Summer
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Flower Color : Pink, Red, White
  • Characteristics : Showy Seed Heads
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
View Comments


  1. user-7008667 06/16/2017

    I've come across this plant on only two occasions, on island beaches in the Mississippi River. I collected seeds when I found it the second time, and grow it myself every Summer.

    1. TheoneandonlyRoget 07/27/2017

      My wife found one in our yard this summer.
      We had never seen one before & didn't know what it was.

      1. user-7008667 07/27/2017

        I don't know about you, but to me it's always a thrill to walk up on a new plant you've never seen before---maybe heard about but never yet seen. Some islands and beaches on the Mississippi River are good places for such, due to seeds or plant fragments dropped off from ANY place between the Rocky Mtns and the Appalachians.

        1. TheoneandonlyRoget 07/28/2017

          I agree.
          Sometimes a small thing like that can brighten a dull day.
          Same thing seeing a bird I have never seen before.

          1. user-7008667 07/28/2017

            Wow, that brought back memories. There's a waterfowl refuge right beside the island where I found the first Hibiscus trionum, where I happened up on an Ibis once, and on the island itself, one Summer, a big flock of Wood Storks appeared and hung out on the beach and lagoon for most of the Summer. I've never seen them since, but there's usually hordes of Pelicans cruising up and down the river and stopping over on some of the more secluded beaches.

      2. user-7008667 07/27/2017

        Save the seeds and introduce the plant to new territory.

  2. user-7008771 07/20/2017

    I'm from South Dakota and have never seen one of these before. This year I have one growing among my cactus, no idea how it got there.

  3. aharvester 08/18/2017

    I'm from central Maryland. I have many of Hibiscus trionum, white, white and pink and red blossoms. I have cut off the seed pods on the white and white & pink blossomed plants to harvest the seeds, but none of the red plants have seed pods. This is my first year in this house and I particularly like the huge red ones, but, alas, no seed pods at all. It looks like the red blossoms fall off leaving no see pods. What gives? Can anyone explain this mystery?

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