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Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to Grow Hibiscus in Frost Prone Areas

Growing Deciduous Hibiscus

Jan 11, 2010 Beverley Boorer
Most gardeners know that the beautiful hibiscus is a tropical or sub tropical plant. That is the flower seen tucked behind the ears of gorgeous girls on tropical islands.

The huge petals and prominent stamens of the hibiscus have been a favorite flower for artists to paint for years.
And most gardeners know that it only grows in areas where there are no frosts, let alone snow. So how can gardeners grow the hibiscus if they live in a frosty climate? They can do this by growing the deciduous hibiscus variety, hibiscus syriacus, otherwise known as Rose of Sharon or Althea. The deciduous variety will lose all its leaves in the fall and be safely bare when those first frosts hit. Then in spring or early summer it will come back to life with those lovely light green shoots followed soon afterward by tight buds of white, pale pink or darker rose and purple.

The Flowers of the Deciduous Hibiscus are Beautiful

The flowers of the deciduous hibiscus can be single, double or semi-double. Some look for all the world like a ball of firmly scrunched up colored tissue paper stuck to the branches. They are not quite as big and showy as the tropical hibiscus, but still well worth a place in the garden. The deciduous hibiscus will grow in zones 5-9 and prefers full sun. Where the climate is extremely hot, plant it where it will get a little shelter from the afternoon sun.
The plant is a tall shrub or small tree to about 10 feet high and may spread or be more upright. It is covered with beautiful flowers for much of the growing season. It is adaptable to many soil types though if rich and friable loan can be provided, so much the better. It is happy with watering and fertilizing that is about the same as is done for the rest of the garden.

The Deciduous Hibiscus is Easy to Grow From Cutting

Simply take a piece no bigger than a make-up pencil just as the buds are beginning to swell and keep it in damp potting mixture in dappled shade until it takes root. It may also sprout up from seeds that have fallen at the base of the shrub.

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