- THE HVH ONLINE STORE IS OPEN
- 2020 Hibiscus plants are now available!Order now for spring shipping!
- Welcome to Hidden Valley Hibiscus
- Shop the HVH Online Store
- What Kind of Hibiscus are These?
- Cold Hardy Hibiscus: Tips On Growing Hibiscus In Zone 7
- Hibiscus Plant Varieties
- Hibiscus Plants for Zone 7
Hardy perennial hibiscus are showstoppers in your late-summer garden.
Huge plate-size flowers in shades of pink, red or white burst forth from stout plants in late July/early August.
Although the individual flowers only last a day, the succession of flowers can last for up to eight weeks. These amazing blooms have prompted many strangers to knock on my door to inquire about the bush with flowers the size of dinner plates. These Hibiscus flowers are amazing conversation pieces and many people cannot believe the size of the flowers.
So, WOW your friends and your garden by planting your own Hardy Hibiscus. They’re easy to grow. All they ask is full sun, decent soil (they’re adaptable), and some pruning once in awhile. They leaf out very late in spring, so don’t think they’re dead and chop them down. Be patient, and in a few weeks you’ll have attractive foliage and soon thereafter a summer full of spectacular blooms.
- Hibiscus need sunlight to bloom. Full sun (8+ hours per day) are best. They really won’t flower until the natural daylight is 14 hours long.
- Hibiscus prefer a more moist soil condition but will tolerate dry conditions.
- Fertilize every week or two during the growing season. Just a good, all-purpose fertilizer is fine. Stop fertilizing in the fall.
- Deadheading Hibiscus flowers will keep plants blooming longer. Spent Hibiscus flowers will turn mushy, so removing them will keep your plant looking beautiful.
- Pruning Hibiscus is done primarily in the spring to reduce the plant’s height and will encourage a fuller appearance. I usually cut my plants back by ½ in early June to avoid having to stake them.
- In late fall, cut the foliage back to soil level.
These beauties are currently in stock at our retail store. We have the following varieties available although keep in mind these will sell out fast as they are very popular.
- PW Summerific – Ballet Slippers, Cherry Choco Latte and Holy Grail
- Berry Awesome
- Cranberry Crush
- Midnight Marvel
- Mocha Moon
- Perfect Storm
- Vintage Wine
THE HVH ONLINE STORE IS OPEN
2020 Hibiscus plants are now available!
Order now for spring shipping!
Welcome to Hidden Valley Hibiscus
Exotic Hibiscus ‘Reflection’
Exotic Hibiscus ‘Appassionata’ in Page Border
Welcome to Hidden Valley Hibiscus! We hope you like our exotic, tropical hibiscus! We grow over 500 hibiscus hybrids, or varieties – “cultivars” in hibiscus lingo. Most of our varieties are hybridized right here in our own greenhouses, and are unique to HVH. All these new hybrid hibiscus are descendants of the small hibiscus flowers we all know well, but the new “exotic” or “fancy” hibiscus hybrids are huge, multi-colored, multi-shaped, splashy, and amazing. Browse our website and our Online Store to see what we mean. We ship our potted hibiscus all over the United States and to many other countries too. Plants arrive ready to unwrap and sit in a window, on a patio, or out in a garden. Plants in the 6″ pot size or larger arrive budded up and ready to bloom. The Hibiscus Care section of our website has all the information you need to successfully grow these beautiful flowers. Enjoy!
Shop the HVH Online Store
Belle du Jour in a 6″ Pot
The HVH Online Store is open with many exotic, tropical hibiscus varieties and all the care products your hibiscus need to stay happy and healthy. Happy shopping!
“Just HAD to let you know – the plants arrived today… someone had to wake me up, because I SWOONED… they are so beautiful! Thank you so much for your care, the awesome blooming hibiscus and the amazing customer service on my request and in RECORD time. Please know that I am now a customer and fan forever. Thank you” Diane D
“Thank you so much. I received the plants last week and they are gorgeous. I just placed an order for two more plants. Again, thank you for the beauties.” Sheila J
Diane and Sheila are just a few of the many happy HVH customers. Read more customer comments here! The photo above shows the typical size of plants in 6″ pots (this is cultivar ‘Belle du Jour’) at the time of shipping, although size varies by cultivar and we don’t guarantee the open blooms. See Terms & Conditions for more information on our guarantees and shipping policy.
What Kind of Hibiscus are These?
Exotic, Tropical, Fancy, Hardy, Hybrid, Species, Perennial, or Garden Variety?
At HVH we grow Exotic, Tropical Hybrid Hibiscus.
What does this mean????
At HVH we grow exotic, tropical, hybrid hibiscus. What does that mean? Let’s see if we can answer this question….
Hibiscus are a confusing group of plants! We get a lot of email asking questions about the different types of hibiscus, and unfortunately for all of us, there aren’t really uniform, standardized names for any of the different kinds of hibiscus. Each new type has unofficial names that have cropped up among growers and aficionados, and different groups of people use different names for the same plant, or the same name for different plants. Does this all sound confusing? Well, it should! It confuses everyone in the hibiscus world! We hope this article will help sort out some of the terminology and types of hibiscus that we find in gardens around the world.
Tropical Hibiscus v. Hardy or Perennial Hibiscus
‘Acapulco Gold’ Like all HVH Hibiscus
Is a Tropical Hibiscus
The two main groups of hibiscus that we most commonly grow in our gardens are tropical hibiscus and hardy, winter-hardy or perennial hibiscus. Tropical hibiscus, as the name describes, originated in tropical climates, stay green year-round, and do not tolerate freezing temperatures. These hibiscus are all descendants of the tropical species Hibiscus rosa-sinensis mixed with seven other species of tropical hibiscus. Tropical hibiscus can only live outside year-round in warm climates where it seldom freezes, and when it does freeze, the cold spell is mild and very short. These are the hibiscus that we associate with Hawaii – the kind that are strung into Hawaiian leis, for example. All our hibiscus at HVH are tropical hibiscus, so northerners have to find ways to winter them in warm places. They have a very long blooming season, from spring through late fall, and into winter in places where it doesn’t freeze. They shed a few leaves at a time all year round, so although they do shed all their leaves each year, it’s not noticeable, because they are covered with green leaves all the time.
Hardy hibiscus, also called “winter-hardy” or “perennial” hibiscus, are most often descended from the species Hibiscus moscheutos or “Rose Mallow”, and sometimes from the species Hibiscus mutabilis or Hibiscus coccineus. Some of the ancestors of these hibiscus were native to the Americas, and all were native to colder parts of the world. Hardy hibiscus die back all the way to the ground each winter, and shoot up new growth each spring. These hibiscus grow well in cold climates, but don’t grow as well in warmer climates, especially hot, dry climates. Hardy hibiscus bloom in late summer or early fall and have a shorter blooming season than tropical hibiscus. At HVH we don’t grow any of the hardy hibiscus. We have tried in the past, but they don’t grow well in our hot, dry California climate.
Hybrid Hibiscus v. Species Hibiscus
Hybrid Hibiscus ‘Key Largo’
The name hybrid can be applied to almost all modern hibiscus. When we use the term at HVH, we are applying it to our tropical hibiscus. But growers of hardy hibiscus use the term hybrid too, as do all growers of all types of hybridized flowers – which means most of the flowers growing in our gardens in modern times. Hybridizing is simply crossing different species or different varieties to produce new varieties. Most types of flowers can be hybridized, and almost all the hibiscus we grow today are hybrids.
At HVH we hybridize our own new hibiscus varieties, or cultivars on a continuous basis, and each year we offer the best of our new hybrids for sale. It takes a lot of hybridizing to produce a few good hibiscus varieties. Typically, for each hundred new crosses we grow and test, only about two of the new cultivars are good enough to make it to market.
Species Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
The only hibiscus that aren’t hybrids are the original wild species hibiscus that originally grew in the tropics of Asia and islands off of Africa. Species plants, by definition, can self-pollinate and make seeds that will reproduce the same exact plant and flower. If a hybrid hibiscus produces seeds, each seed will produce a completely different hibiscus with an unknown flower, so hybrid hibiscus varieties can’t be reproduced from seed. Only species hibiscus can.
For more information about the different hibiscus species that combined to create the modern hibiscus hybrids, see the Hibiscus History article on our website. We do grow and sell some of the species hibiscus at HVH. You can find them on the Ancestors Page of our Online Store.
Garden Variety Hibiscus v. Exotic Hibiscus
Garden Variety Hibiscus
Many small simple flowers with lots of foliage on a large bush
The terms garden variety and exotic hibiscus are relatively new names in the hibiscus world. Garden variety hibiscus are the ones we are all familiar with from our childhood – the simple hibiscus flowers on large bushes that grew as high as our houses. These are the hibiscus that leis are made from in Hawaii, for example. Garden variety hibiscus are all hybrids, like almost all the hibiscus we are familiar with. But garden variety hybrids are simpler, older hybrids. They usually come in only a single solid color, or possibly a mix of two colors. The flowers are small – mostly the size we now call “mini.”
Exotic Hibiscus Plants
Fewer bigger, more complex flowers, less foliage, smaller bushes
The new, large, wildly colored, crazily different hibiscus that we grow at HVH are what we call exotic hibiscus. In some areas they are also called fancy hibiscus. Their bushes usually don’t grow as big or as vigorously as garden variety hibiscus, but the flowers are much more spectacular. Exotic hibiscus are all tropical hybrids that must be protected from freezes in the winter. Producing such large multi-colored flowers requires good nutrition and some tender loving care, but there is nothing more rewarding than the beautiful blooms these exotic hibiscus produce.
Grafted v. Grown on their Own Roots
Hibiscus ‘Creme de la Creme’
Must be Grafted
In the early days of hybridizing exotic hibiscus, few cultivars, or varieties, could be grown on their own roots. So almost all exotic hibiscus were grafted onto a tougher garden variety type of rootstock. With the newest modern cultivars this is changing. Cultivars are being hybridized for their ability to grow their own sturdy root system, so grafting is often not required with today’s exotic hibiscus. At HVH we grow many of our hibiscus on their own roots, but we do also graft some special varieties that can’t be grown any other way. We choose the growing method that creates the strongest, most vigorous plant for each cultivar we grow.
Hibiscus ‘Valentine’s Day’
Grows on its Own Roots
We hope this helps explain all these confusing terms! But whatever name you give the flowers, it’s impossible not to love them!
Cold Hardy Hibiscus: Tips On Growing Hibiscus In Zone 7
Growing hibiscus in zone 7 means finding cold hardy hibiscus varieties that can withstand some of the colder temperatures in this growing region. The beautiful blooms of the hibiscus are often associated with warm and tropical areas, especially Hawaii, but there are plenty of varieties that those of us in colder regions can enjoy.
Hibiscus Plant Varieties
The name hibiscus actually covers a wide range of plant types, including both perennials and annuals, shrubs, and tropical flowering plants. Hibiscus is most often chosen by gardeners for the pretty blossoms they produce, but they are also used because certain varieties grow quickly and provide hardy greenery.
Zone 7 hibiscus options generally include the hardy outdoor perennial varieties, not the annuals.
Hibiscus Plants for Zone 7
If you live in zone 7, which covers parts of the Pacific Northwest and California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, northern Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and upper portion of North Carolina, you can grow hardy perennial varieties of hibiscus in the garden. These varieties grow quickly, will tolerate the colder temperatures, and produce abundant flowers:
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) – This is a popular shrub in many colder regions, not just zone 7. Rose-of-Sharon is hardy, grows fast, leafs late in spring, and produces white, pink, or pale lavender blooms in mid-summer.
Rose Mallow (H. moscheutos) – Many of the perennial varieties of cold hardy hibiscus are named as some variation of mallow. This one is popular for the enormous flowers it produces, up to 12 inches (30 cm.) across, which is why the plant is sometimes called dinner plate hibiscus. Rose mallow has been bred extensively to produce a number of cultivars in a variety of leaf and flower colors.
Scarlet Swamp Rose Mallow (H. coccineus) – Sometimes called scarlet swamp hibiscus, this variety produces beautiful deep red flowers up to eight inches (20 cm.) across. It grows naturally in swamps and prefers full sun and moist soil.
Confederate Rose (H. mutabilis) – Confederate rose grows very tall in southern regions, but where there are winter freezes, it is limited to about eight feet (2.5 m.) tall. One color form produces white flowers that change into dark pink over the course of a day. Most confederate rose plants produce double flowers.
Hibiscus plant varieties that are cold hardy enough for zone 7 are easy to grow. They can be started from seed and start producing flowers in the first year. They grow quickly and without much intervention needed. Pruning and removing dead flowers can encourage even more growth and blooms.
Tip #3 Temperature
Hibiscus ‘Summer Storm’ PP 20,443
Most Hibiscus plants are cold hardy down to zone 4, 5 or 6 depending on the parentage of the cultivar. at Plant Delights to see the hardiness zone range for each.
Tip #4 Soil
Hibiscus mutabilis ‘Flora Plena’
Rose Mallow and Swamp Mallow tolerate a wide range of soil types, sand or clay, acid or sweet. Perennial Hibiscus plants are mostly native to swampy areas and can be grown in wet soil along the edge of a pond, but they are also very adaptable and grow well in standard garden conditions.
Tip #5 Pruning
Hibiscus ‘Fireball’ PP 13,631
Rose Mallows and Swamp Mallows need little pruning. Leave the dead stems and seed pods until late winter (unless re-seeding is a problem in your garden) as the stems look nice during the winter when covered in frost and snow and the seeds are a winter food source for birds. In spring prune the old stems to the ground as the new shoots emerge. Some folks like to tip prune the new stems in early summer to promote a bushier habit, but Hibiscus will grow just fine without this treatment.
Tip #6 Fertilizer
Hibiscus coccineus ‘Swamp Angel’
Rose Mallows and Swamp Mallows respond well to organic fertilizer. A fresh topping of compost once a year will suffice.
Tip #7 Watering
Hibiscus ‘Angelique’ PP 13,734
Keep perennial Hibiscus plants well-watered as they do not tolerate drought. They may drop their flower buds or become susceptible to insects and disease if they are water stressed.
Tip #8 Propagation
Hibiscus ‘Copper Queen’ PP 23,941
Hardy Hibiscus plants can be divided in spring. Or you can collect and plant the seed…just note that the seedlings may not resemble the parents. Stem cuttings will root easily if taken prior to flowering.
Tip #9 Dealing with problems
Rose Mallow and Swamp rose hibiscus may be dined upon by aphids, whiteflies and Japanese beetles. Pest problems are worse if the plant is stressed but pests are easy to control with common organic insect controls. Just be careful not to kill off butterflies or other good insects that may be nearby. Fungus problems can be controlled by maintaining good air circulation around the plant, by keeping mulch from touching the stems, and by removing diseased leaves and discarding them in the trash.
Tip #10 Cut flowers
The giant crepe-papery flowers of the Rose Mallow and Swamp Mallow hibiscus look great but last only a short time in a vase so they aren’t a good cut flower plant. But the dried seed pods are exotic-looking and will last a long time in an arrangement.
Tip #11 Culinary uses
Hibiscus ‘Turn of the Century’
As a general rule, all perennial hibiscus species are edible…young leaves and flowers have a mild flavor. The leaves, roots, and shoots are filled with a gooey substance (they are mallows – okra relatives) that is used to thicken soups and can even be whipped into a merengue. As the leaves, roots, and stems mature, they become fibrous and unpleasant. Seeds can be pressed to release oil useful in cooking. Try the leaves raw in a salad or boiled like greens, or chopped up and added to soups.
Monday, October 3, 2016 Fall, Hibiscus, Winter
Winter Hibiscus Care Tips
So you bought a Tropic Escape hibiscus this spring or summer and now that fall is here, you’re wondering what to do with it with winter coming. Don’t worry — I’ve been there! Every year when I lived in Iowa, I’d bring my favorite Tropic Escape hibiscus in and out. If I can do it, you can, too. Here’s how!
Keeping Hibiscus Inside Over Winter
First off, if you live in an area where temperatures stay below 50F (10C) for more than brief periods, you’ll need to bring your Tropic Escape hibiscus indoors to save it over winter. These are tropical plants and don’t survive exposure to freezing temperatures. (That said, if you have a hardy hibiscus, which is sold in the perennials section of your local garden center, that plant can stay outdoors over winter. It will go dormant this fall, rest over winter, and produce new growth in late spring with flowers following in summer).
How to Bring Hibiscus Indoors Before Winter
Good news: It’s pretty easy moving your tropical hibiscus inside before winter. Just follow these simple steps.
First: Give your tropical hibiscus a haircut. Remove up to a quarter of the new growth. This quick step will save you from having to clean up a ton of yellow, fallen leaves (this naturally happens as a result of shock when the plant goes from indoors to out). You’ll still see some fallen leaves, but it’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s totally natural.
Next: If your hibiscus is potted, you can move the whole pot inside after you cut it back. If your plant has been growing in the ground, you’ll want to dig it up, then pot it in a container. Be sure to use a potting mix made for container plants. And whatever you do, don’t use garden soil. Soil from your garden is great for growing plants outdoors, but inside it doesn’t drain well. And it can encourage pests to hitchhike in.
Optional: Speaking of pests, if you’d like, give your hibiscus a preventative treatment or two to keep pests from coming inside. Popular sprays that are okay to use on a plant you’re bringing indoors include insecticidal soap and neem oil.
Get more tips for saving tropical plants before winter.
Winter Hibiscus Care Indoors
The biggest thing to know in terms of plant care for your hibiscus indoors is that it likes light. Actually, it doesn’t just like lots of light, it loves light. And as such, your plant will do best in a high-light spot in your home. Have a big, sunny window? Bingo! A large patio door can also do the trick. Not much natural light? You’re in luck: hibiscus will happily grow in winter under a shop light or plant light. (Tip: It’s not necessary to splurge on a fancy, expensive plant light; a good, old-fashioned shop light works. That’s what I always used.) The more light you give your hibiscus over winter, the happier it will be.
Water your hibiscus when the top inch or two of the potting mix dries to the touch (just like you would any other houseplant). I always found — and I bet you will, too — hibiscus require substantially less water indoors during winter than it did when you grew your plant outdoors. Happily, that makes it easier to care for! When I would bring my Tropic Escape hibiscus in for winter, I ended up watering it about once a week or so. The exact frequency you’ll be watering is influenced by many factors, though, including how warm or cool your home is, the humidity levels, how big your hibiscus is, how big its pot is, type of potting mix, etc.
Note: Protect your hibiscus from both warm and cold drafts over winter. This includes heating vents. Bursts of hot (or cool) air causes yellowing or brown foliage.
Fertilizing Hibiscus Over Winter
More good news! You don’t need to worry about it. Give your hibiscus a nice winter’s rest. You can hold off until the days (finally!) grow longer come spring: March or so.
I hate to say it, but don’t count on flowers over winter. You probably won’t see many because your plant is resting and unless it’s in a super-bright spot, It may not have enough light to flower. Back in Iowa, I kept mine in my dining room, a couple of feet from a north-facing bay window and the plant only managed to put out three or four flowers each winter.
By the way: If your plant does make buds and you see them fall off, don’t worry. This is also natural. Hibiscus are notorious for dropping their flower buds in response to stress (such as being grown inside).
So all it takes to bring your tropical hibiscus in for winter is a little planning, a bright spot, and regular watering.
Bonus: Get our tips for mandevilla care in winter.
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