The Hibiscus plants listed on this page are hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos). They differ from tropical hibiscus in that they thrive in non-tropical climates. Hardy hibiscus is also known as Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow. Hardy hibiscuses are native to North America and most of the varieties we grow today were hybridized from these native plants. One of the earliest promoters of hardy hibiscus was John Bartram (1699-1777). He gathered wild versions of the hibiscus and introduced them to the rest of the world. Modern cultivars began with Robert Darby who introduced the Lady and Lord Baltimore hibiscus and they are still popular today.
Hardy hibiscus blooms are large, ranging from 3 to 4inches across all the way to 10 to 12 inches across. The blooms are delicate, tissue-like, and colorful. Colors range from the basic white, pink and red, to bi-colored, hot pink, raspberry, rose, and plum. Plant sizes are varied and range from large to more compact sizes. Even though the plants have woody stems, they die back to the ground each winter and are classified as perennials. Hardy hibiscus begins blooming in mid-summer and bloom until the first frost. Each flower lasts for only 1 day but each plant can produce hundreds of flowers.
One striking characteristic of the hibiscus plant is that it is a notoriously late emerger in the spring. Hardy hibiscus begins growing when the ground temperatures reach about 70 degrees and that can mean late May to early June in the mid-west. Hardy hibiscus grows best in full sun, in moist, rich soil. They will tolerate poor soil if mulched and watered regularly. This plant has it all, long flowering period, huge flowers, hardy from Florida to Canada, adaptable to most soils, fast growth, and is resistant to deer browsing. We have several varieties of hibiscus and they are listed below.