Hibiscus rosa-sinensisAlso called tropical hibiscus, this evergreen perennial is a popular landscape plant in warm climates but also makes a good container plant in cool areas. The large shiny dark green leaves create a fitting background to show off the large colorful flowers in shades of white, pink, red, yellow, and orange. In cool climates the plants bloom in summer but in warm climates they bloom for most of the year. Each bell-shaped flower is four to eight inches wide and may have a single or double row of petals. Although a flower only lasts for a couple of days the plant blooms continuousy in warm weather if adequately fertilized and watered during the growing season. Where hibiscus are hardy they can be used as hedges, foundation plantings, or specimens, attractting butterflies and hummingbirds as well as adding a tropical note to any place they are planted. There are hundreds of cultivars varying in size, color, and number of petals.

Type: Evergreen perennial

Bloom: All season in warm climates

Size: 4-15′ H x 5-12′ W

Light: Full sun; tolerates some shade

Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic

Care: Pinch developing ends of branches in spring and summer to encourage bushiness; prune out about 1/3 of the old stems each year in spring.

Hardiness: Zones 9-10

Pests and Diseases: Aphids, mites, thrips, scale,mealybugs, whiteflies, Japanese beetles, caterpillars, rust, powdery mildew, downy mildew, Verticillium wilt,stem and root rot, and a variety of leaf disorders related to stress

Propagation: Division in late spring; semi-ripe cuttings in summer

Companion Plants: Pigmy date palm, canna, bouganvilla.

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By Karen