Gardening

Hibiscus Moscheutos, Hardy Hibiscus: Bloom Size Can Reach 10 Inches

Hibiscus Moscheutos, Hardy Hibiscus: Bloom Size Can Reach 10 Inches

Hibiscus Moscheutos

Photo Compliments Of Phuong Tran

Hibiscus moscheutos is more commonly called hardy hibiscus, sometimes “rose mallows” as well as “swamp mallows.” My personal preference is “hardy hibiscus”.  This shrub is a favorite because it is quite cold hardy and bears large blooms that remind you of the tropics.  The leaves of most hardy hibiscus plants are heart-shaped and a dull green color.  Some have reddish, dark foliage.  The bloom colors of the most common cultivars are white, bi-colored, or various shades of red or pink, but other colors are now available such as the lavender variety that I have in my garden.

Although hardy hibiscus plants are woody in summer and function as sub-shrubs in the landscape, their stems can die back to the ground in winter, making them technically herbaceous perennials. Bloom size can reach 10 inches for such cultivars such as ‘Galaxy’.   Even cultivars with smaller blooms still produce impressive, saucer-size flowers.  While each bloom lives only a day or two, they are quickly replaced by newcomers.  The species plant is indigenous to eastern North America.   Hibiscus moscheutos cultivars can be grown in hardiness zones 4 to 9.

How To Make Hibiscus Moscheutos (Hardy Hibiscus) Thrive

Plants thrive in full sun and in an average-to-wet soil; make sure plants are adequately watered.  Because the blossoms are so large deadheading is recommended after blooming.  Hardy hibiscuses require a rich, well-drained soil that stays moist. They will survive in a normal soil if you are careful to add additional water when required. Because of their ability to withstand boggy soils, hardy hibiscuses are often used as a necessity in landscapes where the lawn holds additional water, such as low spots or around water features.

The long stems and flowers die in winter, but their roots send up new shoots the following spring. You may cut the tall stalks in late fall or early spring if you don’t enjoy the look of the bare stalks sticking above the grass during winter.

General Hibiscus Moscheutos Information

Pests and Diseases

Hardy hibiscuses are prone to various fungal and bacterial diseases as well as insect pests such as aphids, mealybugs, Japanese beetles, scale and whitefly.

Garden Uses

Hardy hibiscus plants will typically bloom in late July or early August in northern climates (mine here in the Seattle bloom in late July). This feature makes them valuable specimen plant in landscaping plans that strive for spring-to-fall color, since fewer flowering shrubs bloom at this time.  The species plant is a wetland plant, and hardy hibiscus flowers can be treated as plants for wet soils. This makes them useful around water features. Hibiscus moscheutos can also be used to attract butterflies.

Available Cultivar Choices For Hibiscus Moscheutos

Cultivars

The hardy hibiscus has several cultivars from which you may choose. The different cultivars vary in size, color and leaf shape. “Disco Belle” is a dwarf variety growing to 3 feet tall. Most cultivars reach 5 feet tall; they include the pink “Anne Arundel” with 9-inch wide pink flowers, “Lady Baltimore” with pink flowers, “Lord Baltimore” with red flowers, “Moy Grande” with 12-inch wide rose flowers and “Southern Belle” in a variety of colors. The more recent “Turn of the Century” cultivar has pink flowers with a red eye and grows up to 8 feet tall.  Right now is the time to see them in a public garden or look at them in a nursery.

The hardy hibiscus has several cultivars from which you may choose. The different cultivars vary in size, color and leaf shape. “Disco Belle” is a dwarf variety growing to 3 feet tall. Most cultivars reach 5 feet tall; they include the pink “Anne Arundel” with 9-inch wide pink flowers, “Lady Baltimore” with pink flowers, “Lord Baltimore” with red flowers, “Moy Grande” with 12-inch wide rose flowers and “Southern Belle” in a variety of colors. The more recent “Turn of the Century” cultivar has pink flowers with a red eye and grows up to 8 feet tall.  Right now is the time to see them in a public garden or look at them in a nursery.

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Flick – Hibiscus Flowers Photos

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8 Comments

  1. Hibiscus flowers are gorgeous, my favorite. Thanks for the information!

  2. I’d love to find swamp mallows in the wild.

  3. So pretty! I’ll have to try one in my yard!

  4. Charlie, the hibiscus is a darling of many Florida gardens. We’re fortunate that they bloom and prosper almost year round here and provide such amazing color to any landscape. Great article and pictures

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