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Genus Hibiscus

Hibiscus Hibiscus trionum Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner
hy-BIS-kus
Hibiscus is a large genus of more than 200 species of shrubs, trees, annuals, and perennials from warm-temperate, subtropical, and tropical areas around the world. From spring to autumn, they bear showy, often large, brightly colored or white flowers, often with contrasting marks or prominent, colorful stamens. Flowers are generally funnel-shaped with 5 or more large petals. Grow these beauties in a sunny border, in a container, or in a greenhouse.
Noteworthy characteristics: Large, funnel-shaped flowers in shades of red, pink, purple, blue, yellow, or white.
Care: In the garden, grow in full sun and rich, moist but well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Under glass, grow in bright filtered light in a site with moderate humidity and good ventiliation. Water sparingly in winter.
Propagation: In spring, sow seed at 55-64°F. Perennials may be divided in spring. Shrubs may be propagated from greenwood cuttings in late spring, or semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Plants may also be layered in spring or summer.
Problems: Hibiscus are prone to rust, fungal leaf spots, bacterial blight, Verticillium wilt, viruses, and stem and root rots. Whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, mites, Japanese beetles, and caterpillars can also be troublesome.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Hibiscus

Hibiscus 'Kopper King' Hibiscus 'Kopper King'
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

A hardy hibiscus, 'Kopper King' has leaves that are a coppery red on top and orange-red underneath. Large (10 to 12 inches across) ruffly white to pale pink flowers bloom from midsummer to mid-fall if you deadhead. 'Kopper King' dies back to the ground in autumn and is late to break dormancy in the spring. It should be interplanted with spring bulbs and overplanted with winter annuals; that way you'll get color year round without disturbing the hibiscus. -Pat McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120

Hibiscus moscheutos and cvs. Hibiscus moscheutos and cvs.
(Common rose mallow, Swamp rose mallow)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This bold, strong-growing, woody-based perennial hibiscus has erect stems reaching up to 8 feet tall with 8-inch-wide, funnel-shaped flowers with spreading petals in shades of pink, white, or crimson.

no image available Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
(Chinese hibiscus, Hawaiian hibisicus, Rose of China)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This rounded, woody, evergreen shrub or small tree has lance-shaped, glossy dark green leaves with toothed margins. It bears 4- to 6-inch blossoms all summer. Solitary, five-petaled flowers 4 inches across range from single to ruffled and double. Colors include yellow, orange, pink, red, and combinations.

Hibiscus syriacus and cvs. Hibiscus syriacus and cvs.
(Rose of Sharon)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This hardy, deciduous, vase-shaped, woody shrub blooms for several weeks beginning in midsummer. Cultivars include ‘Aphrodite’ (deep rose-pink flowers with  a dark red eye), ‘Diana’ (large white flowers with wavy-margined petals), ‘Helene’ (white flowers with bases flushed reddish purple), and ‘Minerva' (low-branched with  lavender flowers tinged with pink and dark red centers).

Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana' Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'
('Diana' Rose of Sharon)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Diana' has deep green foliage and large, pure white flowers that bloom from mid- to late summer. Unlike some other roses of Sharon, its flowers remain open at night. It requires little maintenance and, once established, will tolerate extreme heat, drought, and poor soil. -Judith Ireland, Regional Reports: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #122

Hibiscus trionum Hibiscus trionum
(Flower-of-an-hour)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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.