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HIBISCUS rosa-sinensis

Image of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Felder Rushing

Family

Malvaceae

Botanical Name

HIBISCUS rosa-sinensis

Plant Common Name

Chinese Hibiscus, Queen-of-the-tropics., Tropical Hibiscus

General Description

Tropical hibiscus has spectacular flowers that give credence to its title of "Queen of the Tropics." This tender evergreen shrub to small tree originates from southern China, though it is now believed to be extinct in the wild. The parent plants were red flowered, large and shrubby.

Everblooming and vigorous, tropical hibiscus has glossy green leaves and produces very large, disc-shaped flowers. In the center of each bold bloom is a bottlebrush of yellow anthers and topped with five-parted, spider-like stigmas, which add an additional flourish of floral drama. There are hundreds of cultivated varieties that may be single or double and come in all colors, but no shades of true blue. Bicolored or multicolored flowers are common. The fruit is a brown capsule.

Tropical hibiscus is heat tolerant and prefers full sun and mildly acid to neutral, well-drained soil. It blooms in new wood, but annual pruning is best done in early spring to allow the shrub to rejuvenate early in the season. Pest and diseases are minimal. This is a garden staple in both tropical and temperate landscapes. The vibrant shrub makes a wonderful container specimen where not hardy. In frost free zones it can be grown in mixed borders or along foundations.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    5'-15' / 1.5m - 4.6m

  • Width

    3'-10' / 0.9m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Orange, Bronze, Brown

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No