Chinese hibiscus is a large shrub or small tree that gets up to 15 ft (4.5 m) tall in
frost free climates. The toothed leaves are arranged
alternately and are quite variable, but tend to be large, dark
green, and shiny. Chinese hibiscus has a coarse texture and normally grows
upright and broad spreading. It usually grows as a bush with
many stems. Flowers are glorious and huge at their best
-- up to 6 in (15 cm) in diameter -- and occur in many colors.
Most are flared and have a bell shape; they may be single
or double, smooth or scalloped. The flowers have a long central
tube with stamens and pistils at the tip. Hundreds of selections are available, with flower colors from scarlet to orange to yellow to white.
The experts aren't sure, but Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is thought to have originated in tropical Asia.
Deep, moderately fertile, well drained, and slightly
acidic soil is ideal for Chinese hibiscus. Regular pruning is necessary in
most cases to shape and control the size of the bush, and to remove
unwanted stems. Light: Hibiscus likes full sun or partial shade from very high trees. Moisture: A fairly moist soil is best. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9-10. Propagation: Propagate the cultivars of Chinese hibiscus from fast growing tip cuttings.
Use Chinese hibiscus as a foundation plant around houses and buildings in
frost free areas. It makes a spectacular specimen shrub. Put a pair on either side of the driveway. The Chinese hibiscus is underused as a standard or tree
form. For a spectacular flowering tree, removes the lower branches
and allow to grow as it will! In colder areas, the
hibiscus makes a wonderful summer plant that can be grown
as an annual or containerized and greenhoused in
Chinese hibiscus produces large, extremely showy flowers almost all year! This writer's
grandfather specialized in grafting various colors of
hibiscus onto the same shrub. Traffic would stop to check
out the red, white and blue flowers all on the same bush
in the front yard. Anyone interested in attracting
hummingbirds should have a hibiscus. Many types of
butterflies are attracted as well, including Cloudless
Sulfurs, blues, and Gulf Fritillaries.