Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hibiscus cooccineus and H. rosa-sinensis: as an unabashed fan of the gaudy if not the vulgar, of course I have a good selection of Hibiscus in my gardens

A  few were flowering today; all seemed to be enjoying the heat wave. I especially like Hibiscus coccineus, the Swamp Hibiscus or scarlet rosemallow. I don't think it's native any farther north than South Carolina but it seems perfectly hardy here in Zone 7. Cool flower, a better red than most, it lives naturally in swamps and low moist spots. This one is growing in my "bog" (an old fiberglass pool filled with a peat/sand mix whose bottom was irredeemably punctured) It's been happy there for three years now. The first flowers of the season just opened this weekend on two stems about 7' high; I had to stand on the two foot terraced wall behind the pool to photograph them. The height makes siting a bit awkward, but in my case works because the flowers are high enough to see from both decks despite being 50 feet away. The Chinese Hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis) is, of course a container plant. I was disappointed to learn that this is not really a Zone 9a plant, and so is unreliable at best in the Florida Garden. (where we're going this Thursday)

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