Hibiscus 'Red Shield', have you seen it?

FlowrPowrAugust 16, 2005

Hello annual forum. I'm a newbie to this forum, so I hope you don't mind me popping in for a post. I just had to share this plant with someone, and this would be the most appropriate place.

If you have never grown this plant, you should give it a try. It has to be one of the boldest plants in the border. The color might not be for everyone, but I love it. I don't have a picture of a flower yet, it seems kind of shy to bloom, but it has set buds, so I'm hopeful. I'm curious if any of you grow this one?

This is a shot of the back of the border. The 'Red Shield' is the plant on the right.

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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Yes I have them in my garden too, although mine is no way near the size of yours, you must be getting the heat!

What is the plant in the center? I just love how all your colours & textures combine so well with the Red Shield.

And your trees in the background...gorgeous garden FlowrPowr, thanks for sharing !


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 4:28AM
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Hi FlowrPowr --

So glad you wrote about this! I am growing them for the first time this year as well -- They have gotten huge just like yours, but I don't think mine are even setting buds yet! I am dying to see what the flowers look like, so please please post as soon as they bloom!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 12:44PM
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Sharon, thanks for the compliment, I like the way this section has turned out too. And yes, we have had a very hot summer. That might be why this plant is going to flower. I had it last year, in more fertile soil, and I had to cut it back 3 times, it got so large. I had it towards the front of the border, silly me. :) I always figured it didn't bloom because of the pruning. You bring up a good point about the heat though, I had never thought of that. The plant in the middle is a variegated form of Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate (Persicaria orientalis). It is a lot bigger than I expected. I'm glad I planted the two together since they both get so large. The worst part is they are threatening to swallow the newly planted Baptisia in the front!
Emily, it is a stunning plant, isn't it? I'm not too sure you'll be impressed with the flower though. I have seen it in bloom at the Zoo, and from what I recall, it isn't much to look at. Kind of a light red/purple color. There isn't really enough of a contrast between the foliage and the leaf. I don't think the flowers get very large either. I promise if it flowers, I will post a picture for you.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 1:52PM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

I grew Hibiscus 'Red Shield' from seed this spring. They germinate very easily and grow fast. Mine are much smaller than your plant - I suppose we just don't get enough light in the UK. I'm going to overwinter some potted ones in the hope of getting them to flowering size next year. The foliage is gorgeous, especially when the sun shines through the leaves. Talking of stunning foliage, have you tried Ricinus communis 'New Zealand Purple' or 'Carmencita'? Every part of them is beautiful (if a tad poisonous).

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 4:57AM
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Flowrpower, that is a stunning plant. I will have to try that next year. My question is, did you buy a Baptisia plant or is that a plant from seed. I have been trying to grow one from seed but apparently the seed did not germinate so I guess next year I will buy one. How large was yours when you bought it, if you did? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 8:07AM
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Ornata, the plant in the picture is grown from seed. We sell them at the nursery I work at. This is actually three plants together, and they were about 10" tall when I planted them. It's amazing how much growth they put on in one year. I should take another picture of it, because it has grown quite a bit taller than in the photo.
I also grow Castor Bean's and love them. I have one called 'Zanzibar Yellow' that got to over 15' tall last year. What amazing plants, they have trunks like trees, all in one season. As a matter of fact, it took a saw to cut them down this spring. I have never heard of 'New Zealand Purple', do you have a picture of it?
Hammerhugger, the Baptisia is about the same size as it was when I planted it this spring. They are very slow to take off. I don't look for much to happen for a couple of years. Baptisia is one of my favorite plants. When they get established, they put on a great show in the spring. The best part is they keep a nice rounded shape all summer.
I have germinated them from seed, but since they are so slow to grow, It's probably best to get a larger plant.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 12:23AM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I hunt for and end up buying at least one Hibiscus acetosella variety (this year it was 'Maple Sugar' because that's what was available locally). I'm not too picky--they are all lovely.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 1:19AM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

FlowrPowr: Sorry - I can't post a picture. Ricinus 'New Zealand Purple' has really deep, maroon, metallic foliage and crimson flowers. It seems to be smaller growing than other varieties but it's still a stunner. I got seed from JL Hudson.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 4:18AM
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I have this plant to.I received it in a trade in the spring.It was about 1ft.tall.Mine looks just like the photo above except one is about 12ft tall and the other about 15ft tall.They grew straight up and are now finally starting to branch out from the bottom and going up with some branching.No blooms yet,though I have taken cuttings and they are showing roots through the bottom of the pot.I wonder if I should have cut the tops out to make it bushy..

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 2:34PM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

Yes, in my experience they do need pinching out to make them bushy. And the "pinchings" can be used as cuttings!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 5:14AM
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Debbie, I about fell off my chair when I saw that you plants grow to 15' tall! Then I noticed your zone 8, that makes a little more sense. :) Are they hardy for you? Does it seem like they are setting buds yet? Mine started getting these clustered leaves at the tips, but so far, I haven't seen a flower. I did get a flower last year on a cutting I took in the fall. It's strange, we have these huge plants growing, and they have not flowered, and my 6" cuttings had flowers. I guess they are on their own time schedule, regardless of what we want.
Ornata, do you think if I pinch them I will still get flowers? I only have about 6-8 more weeks before I have to worry about frost. (That's a scary thought, I can't believe how fast this summer went).
I think one tip to make the plant look bushy, is to plant multiples. I went out the other day and checked. Actually, there are 6 plants in the grouping instead of 3.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 9:16AM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

Sorry - I can't help on whether they'll flower or not. I know they're are very late season bloomers, which means they certainly won't flower for me, here in the UK. But that's a good tip about planting them in groups for a bushy effect - they're certainly easy enough to raise from seed, so there's no problem in having lots of plants.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 12:06PM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

Lovely plant, gorgeous border, and look at your location!! Or do you just happen to live in the middle of a golf course? Can we see a pic of the front of that border, fp?

Thanks so much for posting that pic.. more more more!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 12:39PM
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Pam, thanks for the kind compliments. I like how the photo turned out. It shows a nice view of the back of the property. I think I am enjoying the back of the border more this year than the front. The pictures from the front of the border have the above ground pool in the background, which is something that's really starting to bug me. The pool's days are numbered though, (the kids hardly use it), and I'm starting to think, oh I don't know, rock garden maybe?! All that sand under the pool has to be useful for something. I thought maybe, mixed with soil, it would make a well drained rock garden. I'll have to do more research on that though.
As far as pictures of the front, I have a few, mainly from spring. My camera was getting repaired this summer, so I didn't get as many pictures as I usually do. I did put a few shots of the front in this album, if you would like to take a peek.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lori's Album

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 12:22PM
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wolflover(z7 OK)

Your garden bed looks just gorgeous. I really like the way you arranged the different textures and colors! :-)

I grow 'Red Shield' hibiscus, and also another Acetosella hibiscus called 'Jungle Red'. You should try it too. They look very similar except the Jungle Red has more finely cut leaves, looking like a red Japanese maple, while the Red Shield leaves remind me more of oak leaves. Jungle Red is my favorite of the two plants, but I love them both! I take cuttings of the plants every fall and overwinter them in both soil and containers of water. They are soooo easy.

Both the above hibiscus are very slow bloomers. Mine never bloom until late fall, right before we get our first freeze in late November. Last winter they did bloom all winter in my greenhouse, even the cuttings that were standing in water. I was able to obtain a few seeds from them at that time. The blooms are small, and not very impressive. They're about the same color as the leaves.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 12:02PM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

Lori, thanks so much for the photo link... your album has some really nice pics and your garden beds are inspirational! Love the bird bath. And especially love the spring picture!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 1:04AM
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njoynit(Z8b Coastal ~secluded)

I'm growing Red sheild for the 1st time this year.Its about 10 ft tall right now.I was told by my trader it would bloom about Nov for me& the picture she included shows pink flowers red centers.I also grow a roselle.same leaves,but are held different and it is setting buds now& will bloom in october.I useually top it at 2 ft and keep topped till july so it grows more like a round shrub.I didn't this year and have plans with bread ties on my belt loop to secure to fence.its starting to grow "wavey".when topping it it does seem to have alot more branches and a fuller plant.
I grow castor beans.My reds i traded for didn't sprout,but was told they are the only short ones.I grew my greens this year,but have some pink veined& some carmine that have purpleish leaves and the stalk is deep purple.I'm in zone 8b TX and mine actually return& so do the seeds that fall off that I miss.I had a 21 ft plant last yr. grew in old compost pile that I moved and the bed was actually raised.The trunk was 9 in diameter& when I chopped it down.....it grew back to about 4 ft before frost got it.I couldn't even reach the seeds,but the seed was big like a red runner bean.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 2:40PM
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njoynit, I wonder if the 'Red Shield' will be hardy for you? I know that here in zone 5, it's definitely not hardy.
And I've often thought to myself what a nuisance the Castor Bean would be in a tropical climate. I can just imagine jungles of them! I think if mine got to 21' tall, I might be a little afraid of them!:) I get a real kick out of standing uderneath them and looking up. It's an interesting perspective. (and I guess I'm just easily amused)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 11:22PM
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H. acetosella (species) is approaching 12 feet here. Hasn't needed staking.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 8:30AM
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This is BEAUTIFUL!!! I am new to gardening and have broken my leg so I am doing a lot researching on plants I see and like, I saw this and was wondering if anyone had seeds to trade, or send. PLS let me know.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 6:33PM
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I purchased a small red shield hibiscus in June and the thing has grown 4-5 feet since, however no blooms!! Does anyone have photos of a blooming plant? I am very anxious to see what the blooms look like. I love the dark maroon foilage, but would really like to see some blooms. Mine is till in the pot I purchased it in, what do you think about planting in the ground? Please share, any and all information will be appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Try doing a Google image search for pictures of flowers.

You may not see flowers unless you have a very long growing season. They're a dull red-pink, about two inches in diameter and not all that showy. The real attraction with this plant is the foliage.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:37AM
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I THINK this is your plant. I found it out in the woods, growing in a bunch, the tallest about 10' to 12' tall.

The flowers are pretty, but don't stand out real well from the leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 10:39AM
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And here are the flowers.

BTW, how do you post a picture inside the note?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 10:41AM
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I'm a master gardener and do volunteer hours for our greenhouse. One of our members got some cuttings for us and they all took.Another member said said she has hers outside in the sun and the leaf are bronze color.We're keeping one behind to see how tall they get and see it bloom. It is also known as the Red Maple Hibiscus, the leaves are similar to the sugar maple.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 7:36PM
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I know this is an older post, and the originator might not be checking anymore BUT...
The link I entered shows the flower I got indoors Mid to Late Winter here in Canada.
I was told this was a Red Shield, but has much darker flowers and if far nicer then the pictures I have seen from others, so might be a differnt Var.
The leaves did change to a a more Bronze/Green/Purple combo while they are indoors for the winter and they produced leaves with less lobes in the winter, but return to the normal Purple/Red deeply lobed leaves in the summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hibiscus Acetosella (Red Shield?)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 2:39AM
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