Garden Tip 99:

CARING FOR PERENNIAL HIBISCUS

Many summer flowering perennials are well past their peak performance in the late summer garden. The vibrant colors of summer are waning. A great plant to have in the landscape this time of year to add a bit of razzle dazzle is the hardy, perennial hibiscus.

Depending upon the variety chosen, plants grow from two to three foot tall to larger growing ones growing to a height five to six feet. The flowers of this plant are tropical-looking, growing up to ten inches wide and come in colors of pink, red, white and magenta. The attractive foliage can be heart-shaped or lobed and green to maroon in color.

Flowers last only one day, but flowering is prolific when these plants receive six hours or more of sunlight a day. The stalks of the larger growing varieties become quite woody in just one season, but like other perennials they should be cut back to the ground in the fall or early spring. I cut the stalks three to four inches above the ground because their spring growth is late to emerge and these stumps remind me that these beauties are there.

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