How to Plant, Grow and Care for Hardy Hibiscus
Alphabetical Plant Listing

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Hardy Hibiscus

Hibiscus moscheutos, Rose Mallow, Hibiscus coccineus, Swamp Hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, Rose of Sharon


Prized for their huge, flamboyant flowers, hardy perennial hibiscus add exotic, tropical punch in the garden. Though they conjure up images of the tropics, they can withstand cold winter temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C).

All you need to know about Hardy Hibiscus

  • Hibiscus is a member of the mallow family of flowering plants, Malvaceae. It includes several hundred species that are native to warm, temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.
     
  • There are 2 main types of commonly cultivated Hibiscus: Tropical Hibiscus and Hardy Hibiscus. Tropical Hibiscus are native to warm regions of Asia and the Pacific Islands and are hardy in Zones 10-12 where temperatures do not dip below 30°F or -1°C. Hardy Hibiscus, also called winter-hardy Hibiscus or perennial Hibiscus, can withstand cold winter temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C). In areas subjected to harsh winters and snow, they will die back to the ground in winter, coming back in the spring.
     
  • The most popular and widely recognized species of Hardy Hibiscus include Hibiscus moscheutos (Hardy Hibiscus or Rose Mallow), Hibiscus coccineus (Scarlet Rose Mallow or Swamp Hibiscus), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), and their hybrids. 
     
  • Hardy hibiscus have big, hollyhock-like flowers, sometimes as giant as dinner plates, in shades of pink, red or white. These Hibiscus flowers are amazing conversation pieces!
     
  • Most Hardy Hibiscus bloom in mid-late summer to fall. They have a shorter blooming season than tropical Hibiscus, as they bloom from spring through late fall and into winter in locations without any frost. Flowers last just one day, but so many buds form that the plant appears perpetually in flower from mid-late summer until frost.
     
  • Some Hardy Hibiscus are perennials (Hibiscus moscheutos, Hibiscus coccineus) while others are shrubs (Hibiscus syriacus).
     
  • Hardy Hibiscus can grow from under 3 ft. (90 cm) to 12 ft. tall (360 cm), depending on the species and varieties.
     
  • Hardy Hibiscus can be incredibly winter hardy (hardiness zones 4-9), depending on the species and varieties.
     
  • Hardy Hibiscus perform best in full sun to light shade in moist soil that never completely dries out.
     
  • Hardy Hibiscus add an exotic touch to perennial borders, city gardens, coastal gardens or cottage gardens. Quick to grow and fill a space, they are great for foundation plantings, at the back of the border, or as a flowering hedge. Dwarf Hibiscus varieties are well-suited for patio containers.
     
  • Hibiscus syriacus is a prolific seeder and is listed in the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. It is currently reported invasive in KY, PA, TN, and VA. Avoid unwanted volunteer seedlings by planting sterile cultivars such as ‘Diana’, ‘Helene’ or ‘Minerva’.
     
  • The large, bright, trumpet-shaped blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Hibiscus is not generally a plant that deer or other animals seek out to eat, but if other food sources are scarce, your Hibiscus may be turned to for dinner.
     
  • Hardy Hibiscus are not bothered by many pests or diseases. Aphids or Japanese beetles may feed on the foliage. Various fungal diseases such as leaf spot, blight, and rust, may develop when the plant is subject to excessively moist conditions.
     

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Hibiscus
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Fall
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage
Compare All Hibiscus Great Plant Combination Ideas with Hibiscus Guides with Hibiscus

Peter Stenzel, Flickr, Nadezhda Kharitonova, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Hibiscus
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Fall
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage
Compare All Hibiscus Great Plant Combination Ideas with Hibiscus Guides with Hibiscus

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