Plant Profile: Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) is also known as the Swamp Rose Mallow and it loves our hot, humid summer. This perennial hibiscus is winter-hardy to zone 4, while the tropical hibiscus is an annual for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic.
This dramatic flower of mid-summer into early fall is a real stunner in the back of flower borders or as a container plant. The individual flowers can reach 12-inches in diameter and are often referred to as “the size of a dinner plate.” Hardy hibiscus cultivars come in white, red, pink, and bicolor combinations.
For best flowering, plant hardy hibiscus in full sun (at least 6 hours). Give it some room, as the plant can grow up to five feet wide and high in one season.
It likes moist soil, so keep it well-watered and mulch it with bark chips.
Dig in a bit of compost each spring and that is all the fertilizer they require.
The hardy hibiscus is susceptible to insect problems such as aphids and Japanese beetles. The best way to prevent this is to keep the plants healthy and never let them get drought-stressed.
To prevent it from self-seeding everywhere in your garden, regularly deadhead the spent flowers and cut the whole plant back after a hard frost.
Note that any of their seedlings may not bloom the same color as their parents. If you want more of the same plant, you can propagate them easily from stem cuttings in spring before they start flowering.
A few popular hardy hibiscus selections to try are ‘Lord Baltimore’, ‘Peppermint Flare’, and ‘Kopper King’.
Hardy Hibiscus: You Can Grow That!
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