Hibiscus syriacus (in the USA commonly called Rose of Sharon), name is misleading. These plants originated in the Far East but, because winter can be harsh in their native home, they are well suited to many climate zones, cold, hot, moist and dry growing conditions.
They are unusual, they can be bare of leaves until May. You might be wondering whether your plant has died, and then, one day, it regains its oak-like foliage.
Summer may be just turning into autumn when the leaves turn yellow and fall, leaving more flower buds still to open.
The flowers of the single varieties are composed of five petals, from which obtrudes an imposing column of stamens. ‘W R Smith’ has had its admirers half a century, but now it is being challenged by the beautiful `Diana’. Both are of American origin.
French gardeners, skill in tailoring woody plants exploited, hibiscus bushes are often trained as standards(small tree form). The practice could be adopted any where that you can grow hardy Hibiscus.
Hibiscus responds well to hard annual pruning in the same way rose bushes do.
Hibiscus flower on this season’s growth, so hard pruning that leads to the production of many side shoots makes them flower prolifically. Every sub-branch that springs from the main trunk(branches) and is cut back will produce four new shoots in three or four months, each bearing clusters of flower buds by late summer. If these are cut away the following season, another relay of shoots and flowers will spring from the cut branches.
To make sure that hardy hibiscus produce plenty of flower buds, it is important to plant them in an open sunny position. They also like plenty of humus worked into the planting sites. An annual dose of rose fertiliser will promotes tough growth.
Hint: To train a bush into a standard, select the strongest main branch and tie it to a cane pushed into the soil at the base of the plant. Remove other branches but shorten only the shoots that spring directly from the selected branch. Tie in the tip as it elongates and shorten to a couple of inches any side shoots that develop. After the standard has reached 4ft, remove the tip in spring and encourage the branches that form to become the head by letting them develop to a foot or so. Cut them back by half the next spring. Only when the head has formed and the trunk thickened enough to stand without support, should all side branches be removed.
How to grow: Hibiscus The (London) Telegraph.
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