Hibiscus

Hibiscus is perhaps the best known tropical shrub and flower in the world. The form of the flower is known everywhere and there are hundreds of hybrids to enjoy in every color imaginable

Hibiscus is a robust shrub of variable height to 15 feet, although most are seen much smaller due to pruning. Others like Hibiscus 'LaFrance' are correctly grown as a small trees

Be sure your soil is on the acid side. Like Ixora, keep away from concrete. Full sun is essential for high flower production. Feed well from spring through October and mulch is appreciated. Bud drop can be caused by hot weather and also from insects, such as thrips

Many fancy hybrid Hibiscus plants grown for shows are small to tiny, perhaps 2 feet tall, and with minimal foliage. Of course, their fancy flowers are spectacular. These are not landscape plants as they require knowledge and attention

Flowers are produced all year around in South Florida, but the best production is during the fall and spring when temperatures are moderate to cool. Hot weather bud drop is universal

Some call hibiscus "Queen of Shrubs" as different types can be used in so many ways to provide color, beauty of bloom and ease of ownership. Hibiscus is likely the best shrub in the tropics

USA native Hibiscus grandiflora always has 5 pedals and grows in a triangle from Georgia to Louisiana to Florida

This variety is prized for it's super huge blooms, often 10-12 inches across. Hibiscus grandiflora is a bog plant in both fresh and brackish water. Due to size, one common name is "Dinner Plate" hibiscus

For Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, plant in fertile soil that is moist but well drained. Water to supplement rain in dry periods. Fertilize with a complete fertilizer, lightly but often. Plant in full sun to partial shade for best flowering. Do not use hibiscus as a hedge as all flowers come from tips which are exterminated in hedge pruning

Aphids, scales, mites, nematodes and thrips all enjoy hibiscus as well, especially aphids. New emerging blooms can be covered in aphids and bloom drop is the likely result. Chemical sprays are awful for hibiscus (kills the blooms) so alternate means of insect control are suggested. Also, a plain water spray wash works well for most of these pests.