Perennial hardy hibiscus has big flowers, big impact

Published 7:39 am Tuesday, November 28, 2023

By Eddie Smith
MSU Extension Service

Reflecting back on Thanksgiving, I feel thankful for the opportunity to grow plants that share their large, beautiful flowers with me.

I believe plants with big flowers have a bold presence that adds interest and value to any landscape. While they may have a shorter flowering period compared to those with small flowers, do not underestimate the impact they can have.

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One of my favorite plants with large flowers is the perennial hardy hibiscus.

With its enormous blooms, the perennial hardy hibiscus adds a pop of color and value wherever you grow it. Some of the blooms can be as large as 12 inches across, which is why it is often referred to as the dinnerplate hibiscus.

This bushy plant can grow from 2 to 5 feet tall, depending on the selection. It has foliage that ranges from light to medium green, while some varieties feature burgundy and dark-purple leaves.

During the winter, the plant growth usually dies back to ground level. I prune off all the dead branches in early spring, then I wait with anticipation for my perennial hardy hibiscus to start showing some new growth.

Traditionally, mine sprouts in mid to late April, well after many of my other perennial plants. However, this year, the late cold snap delayed its sprouting until mid-May.

There are many varieties of perennial hardy hibiscus to choose from, but I particularly love the Summerific series. Some of the most beautiful include Valentine’s Crush, French Vanilla and Spinderella. Each has its own unique look, from deep red blooms to frilly petals to bright pink and white coloration.

I really love Summerific Valentine’s Crush, which features large blooms from mid-summer all the way through to the fall. Its dark green and burgundy-tinted leaves provide the perfect backdrop for its deep red blooms.

If you’re looking for a way to add some elegance and sophistication to your garden, the Summerific French Vanilla hibiscus is an excellent option. This variety features creamy white flowers with red centers and soft, green foliage.

On the other hand, if you want to make a statement and turn heads, the Summerific Spinderella hibiscus is a must-have. With its unique, frilly petals and bright pink and white coloration, this hibiscus is sure to be the talk of the town.

There are many other varieties of perennial hardy hibiscus available. Two others that I like a lot are Head Over Heels Adore and Marshmallow Moon.

Marshmallow Moon produces large, pure white, 6-inch flowers that really stand out against the backdrop of green foliage.

In contrast, Head Over Heels Adore has bright pink blooms with dark red centers. These beautiful blooms and stunning, dark burgundy-green foliage make a statement in any landscape.

I love the perennial hardy hibiscus I have growing in my landscape. Regardless of which variety you choose, it will be versatile, easy to grow, and will add color to your landscape for many years to come.