Dwarf Hardy Hibiscus

narcnh(z5nh)August 23, 2006

This spring I ordered a foursome of dwarf hardy hibiscus from QVC. These were intended to go in front of the new addition I was adding to the house. The construction took longer than anticipated as we tweaked things, eventually adding a two-level deck in front of the addition. During that time the hibiscus (along with three Endless Summer hydrangeas) stayed in small pots in the yard, baking in the sun, and generally being abused. I finally planted them in mid-July.

They are all starting to flower. Essentially each plant has a new flower every couple of days. HereÂs a pic of one.

To give you the scale of the size of the flower to the size of the plant, hereÂs a shot of the little garden that it is in. This garden still needs to be finished off with mulch and some spreaders and looks pretty raw, but you can see the size of the plant relative to everything else.

IÂm really hoping that they make it through the winter, since the color to size ratio canÂt be beat.


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Wow! That is some flower. Congratulations on growing it and, while I don't, I see them in my zone 5 neighborhood so hopefully yours will come back well. A house near me has a hedge of pink ones--quite a sight to see.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 3:01PM
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What 'dwarf' means for hardy hybiscus moscheutos?
2-3' or less?

If it will grow taller than you wish it to be, simply pinch new growth in June and it will be bushier and smaller, though it may bloom by couple of weeks later than normal.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 4:34PM
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Exactly, ego45. They are the Luna series developed by Ball. The one in the pic is Luna Blush. Supposed to grow 2-3 feet and about as wide. I haven't pinched them at all, and the plants are becoming very branched on their own (the one in the pic is the least branched, but bloomed first). All I wanted this year was for them to become established. The blooms are a bonus.

Bluestone has a couple in their on-line catalog.


Here is a link that might be useful: Luna Blush at Bluestone

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 5:38PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

The garden center where I work, part-time, just got a big shipment of them this week. They are cute l'il fellas, and look just like the photos narch posted.

The hardy hibiscus are supposed to be completely hardy to zone 5, but slow to break dormancy in the spring. Once up, they grow fast and put out that glorious explosion of bloom in late summer when not much is going on.

They do suck up a lot of water, though. My boss waved me over and told me the new Lunas were wilting and needed water. They perked up immediately once I drenched them, however. If you can plant them in moist soil and full sun, and keep them hydrated, they are happy.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 7:25PM
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Small tip, if you grow fernleaf peony in full sun it will go dormant about this time of the year, but if you plant hibiscus behind it, hibiscus will cover peonie's bare spot. It will work the other way around, in a spring peony will somewhat cover a bare spot where hibiscus will be visible later.
Could work with regular peonies as well.
Plant few Ornithogalum magnum bulbs in between two plantings and by the time when Ornithogalum will be done, hibiscus should be already out.
Anyway, for this purpose or not, O. magnum is a very garden worthy plant and unlike many bulbs will tolerate somewhat moist soils.
Another good use for O.m. is a planting among daffs and daylilies, if you grow such combo. It will bloom in between (late May-early June) and his withering foliage will be hided.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 8:55PM
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hostasz6a(z6a MA)

I have a couple hardy hibiscus that a neighbor gave my daughter as seedlings. This is the third year for them. They are hardy...deep pink blooms. I keep them well watered and in full sun. They are my daughters babies..about three feet tall and as wide. Each year they put out more blooms...shame each flower only lasts a short time!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 8:56PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Great tip, Ego45.
Hostasz6a, not only do the flowers not last long, they make a mess, too. I have on in a container and have to clean up under it every day when it's in bloom.

But it's worth it for those gorgeous, big blossoms.

This is the first year I've had one, and notice that it does seem to bloom all in one rush, then *pthpt!* Nothing. I snipped off the developing seed pods recently in hopes it would encourage more flowers. Today I found a couple little buds, so maybe I'll get a little more bloom. Has anyone had success in getting hibiscus to rebloom well?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 9:01PM
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It will not rebloom in a common sense, but auxilary flower buds are already there on a lower portion of the stems and they will bloom in succession for about a month after the first bloom. You may expect good 4 to 5 weeks of bloom. Those side/low buds are less exposed to sun now (covered by upper leaves) and need more time for development.
I remember one year when mine was almost completely defoliated by JB in July it was blooming like crazy on a bare stems, opening 15-18 flowers a day, while normally I had 6-8 flowers opened at once.
On a side note, I moved all 4 of mine from full sun to part-, but close to the full sun positions for the reason to
a) prolong blooming time and
b)not to take valuable full sun space for plant that have so many liabilities.
Don't take me wrong, I like all of mine, Lord Baltimor, Kopper King, Disco Belle and especially Fireball, but...it's a one month wonder plant and full sun is in a scarse supply here.
Nevertheless, 4 to 5 hours of preferably midday or afternoon sun is working as a charm, but 4 hours of the morning sun seems like not good enough.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:30PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Thanks for that information and advice. I'll make sure those secondary side buds get sun exposure. Full sun is at a premium here, too, so rather than plant the hibiscus in the ground I have it in a large container. It gets 5 hours of sun, and is robust.

I can be content with a few intermittant flowers after the main bloom, knowing that I'm not giving the plant a prime location in my precious, rare full-sun areas.

The new dwarf variety could be more than a novelty, as it gives you all the impressive bloom without taking up more room than it "deserves." When it's done with its flowering, it only fills a modest area and can blend with other flowering plants that will catch the eye with their blooms.

We had Kopper King at the garden center last year. It was impressive... the specimens we had were 6' high in the grower containers. Even without blooom, the color of the stems and leaves make it a contributing member of the garden (unlike the typical hibiscus) all season. And when in bloom, the pale pink flowers pop against the burgundy background. Nice cultivar.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 7:47AM
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My Kopper King is about 7' tall and need staking.
This particular cultivar MUST be planted in full sun, no compromises, otherwise you'll lose leaves color.
I'll be moving mine again in a fall.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 11:09AM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

I love all my Hibiscus-Lord and Lady Baltimore, Blue River, Disco Belle mix, Kopper King, etc but the foliage is constantly attacked by sawflies (look like little green worms) and we have to spray on a weekly basis throughout the growing season. The sawflies started about 3 years ago. So, as much as I love them, I will not buy any more. Not fair!

The dwarf cultivars sound like a wonderful idea though :o)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 12:22PM
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I have 3 Hibiscus that grow 3x3: Chablis, Pinot Grigois, Noir,the branches are BREAKING from the beautiful large blooms. HOW SHOULD I STAKE THESE DURING BLOOM TIME to stop breaking branches? madue8 z6

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 12:11AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hi Narcnh: I live in Ontario, probably with a little longer and harsher winter than yours and we bought two of the Luna series: blush (the one you have) and red last summer. They bloomed well and for winter, I simply mulched with leaves and they came back well. Be patient,and mark their position well, since they are slow to send up their new shoots in spring. I noticed that the one in full sun with well-drained soil, did not add as many new shoots as the one in clay which is under water in the spring. I have done some research and found out they are based on a plant commonly called "Swamp Mallow" and they actually like wet, boggy areas. So you may want to keep them well-watered for best results. I have had similar blooms to yours in the past few days, one day as many as 5 blooms. I deadhead daily, to keep the blooms coming. I find this year, the blooms last a little more than one day, looking quite good the second day. My red is full of buds and will be bursting into bloom today or tomorrow. You will really enjoy these plants. Happy Gardening.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:19AM
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