Chris Baker is one of the owners of Baker’s Acres Greenhouse in Alexandria and has been growing, designing and breeding plants for 35 years.
 

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Hardy Hibiscus
by Chris Baker - posted 10/14/11


Hibiscus ‘Plum Crazy’


Hibiscus ‘Lord Baltimore’

Bred from native wetland plants, hardy hibiscus have come a long way from their swampy beginnings. Hybridizers, most notably the Fleming brothers from Nebraska, have greatly improved the species. Huge plate-size flowers in shades of pink, red, purple and white burst forth from stout plants in early August. As with all mallows, the individual flowers only last a day, but the succession of flowers lasts up to eight weeks.

It’s not uncommon for first-time growers to think their hibiscus has died from winterkill. The stems are not true wood and die to the ground every winter, and they are also one of the last plants to sprout in the spring. They are quite hardy, however, and grow quickly into 3- to 6-foot bushes.

Common Name: Hibiscus, rose mallow

Botanical Name: Hibiscus moscheutos cultivars

Varieties/Cultivars to Look For: ‘Kopper King’, ‘Plum Crazy’, ‘Lord Baltimore’, ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Turn of the Century’

Color: White, shades of pink, red and purple

Blooming Period: August and September

Type: Perennial

Size: 36 to 60 inches

Exposure: Full sun to part sun

How to Plant: 36 inches apart

Soil: Soil amended with organic matter. A slightly acid pH is best.

Watering: Keep moist when first planted. Mature plants tolerate wet or dry.

When to Prune: Cut off stems after dieback in fall

When to Fertilize: Spring and occasionally through the summer

In Your Landscape: Grow in beds in groups or as specimens

 

(From Ohio Gardener  Volume I Issue IV. Photography By Chris Baker)

 

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