Sunday, July 17, 2005

Wild Hibiscus

When these plants first started popping up in my garden 8 years ago I found the foliage interesting so I left them alone to see what they had to offer. Boy was I glad that I did! They were just beautiful. I didn't know what they were, so I looked them up to find out their habit and needs. At the time I found them in a very good source which identified them as wild hibiscus. Hibiscus and mallows are closely related. In fact, in many sources they are considered to be one family. They are still doing classification research to further sort out this group of plants, but until then, lets just enjoy our hibiscus-mallows!

These hibiscus are a true annual. They self-sow quite well, which is nice because the more plants you can have in a given area the better. The flowers bloom when it is sunny and only last one day, so if you only have a couple plants, you will not get a good showing. They get about 18"-2' tall and have an airy feel to them (not bushy). They are pretty sturdy and don't need staking. They will grow in some pretty awful soil, and have yet to seed out in some of the richer soils in my garden. The soils that they show up in most are just average soils with some clay. The seeds are easily collectible and they are easy to start. The plants transplant pretty well, so it is easy to just move plants that are too close together rather than wasting them by thinning. I usually space them about 6-12" apart. The foliage is better seen when they aren't crowded, but you get a better flower show when they are bunched closer together, because you can get more plants in an area. They like full sun to mostly sunny spots. They have no extra water requirements and take the heat really well. In fact right now many of my plants are suffering due to the heat wave that we have been experiencing and these little guys are simply thriving in it!


Blogger Zoey said...

Beautiful flower!

7/17/2005 2:42 PM  
Blogger crazygramma said...

Those great and sure sound like they would thrive in my garden

7/17/2005 4:11 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Where did you find your information on this flower? I saw this growing as a wildflower here in town but when I researched it, the closest I could find was an invasive from Africa that is on the invasive species/noxious weeds lists of almost every state and Canada.

7/17/2005 11:23 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Zoey- It's too bad that the flowers only last one day.

Crazygramma- they are easy to grow and do take some punishment. Great plants.

Oldroses- I can not for the life of me remeber where I had found the info on these flowers, but I know when I saw it, it was an exact match. I'm still looking. These really couldn't be an invasive. They don't tolerate being crowded by other plants and they are really easy to get rid of if you don't want them. Now, as far as noxious- I don't know, but they've never bothered me! :)

7/18/2005 8:13 AM  

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