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Mississippi gardens excel with hibiscus
Hibiscus has to be one of the best groups of plants you can have in your garden and landscape. Here’s several reasons why.
Cajun tropical hibiscuses have exciting colors that are a Technicolor dream with fantastic selections ranging from bright yellows to pink, red and white. Some of the more spectacular selections are blends and those with bright, red eyes.
The size of these flowers can be unbelievable, with the diameter of some blooms exceeding 9 inches. The foliage is dark green and glossy, providing a nice background to display the colorful blooms.
Cajun hibiscuses are perfect for adding a tropical flair to a porch or patio. Plant them in combination with other tropicals, such as bananas and/or cannas, which require similar care and management.
Cajun hibiscus plants need winter protection. Those planted in the ground will have to be dug up for winter. Prune the branches and roots back a bit and repot using a good potting mix. In the spring, transplant back into the landscape. Or make this an easy task by growing them in containers that can be moved ahead of freezing temperatures.
Hardy hibiscus is very different from tropical hibiscus. These plants are winter hardy, and the foliage is not as glossy. But a trait both varieties share is their production of bright, beautiful and even gaudy flowers. Hardy hibiscuses add value to late summer landscapes with their displays of enormous flowers.
When I say the flowers of hardy hibiscuses are huge, I mean they are sometimes up to 12 inches across. In fact, they are often called dinner-plate hibiscuses. I love the gaudy colors available with the different varieties of hardy hibiscus.
Hardy hibiscuses are bushy plants, ranging from 2 to 5 feet tall. Foliage colors can be light to medium green, with some selections even offering burgundy and dark-purple leaves.
The dinner-plate-sized flowers of the hardy hibiscus hybrids always get the most attention. But the home gardener should not forget about the native species of hibiscus that are found in the swamps and ditches along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida.