Wandering through André's gardens in late July, you can't help but be impressed by the awesome display of magnificent flowers produced by the rose mallow, Hibiscus x 'Lord Baltimore'. These huge brilliant red flowers are every bit of 10” across! The large pink blooms of Hibiscus x 'Lady Baltimore' put on an equally impressive show in André's gardens. They make a bold statement in the garden and are quite the focal point at this time of year.
Hibiscus moscheutos, commonly known as the marsh rose mallow or just rose mallow, is a winter hardy shrubby perennial that grows from 3 feet to 6 feet tall and is hardy in Zones 5 to 9. They are fast growing and prefer full sun or bright shade to perform and bloom to their full potential. They love having their feet wet so the edge of a pond or a boggy area in your yard is the perfect place for these beauties. Wet soil is not a necessity, however, and Hibiscus will do very well in any rich well-drained garden soil. In any case, because of their size, it is best to plant them towards the back of the border garden or in the center of an island bed.
There are many wonderful hardy hibiscus cultivars to choose from. They range in color from the brilliant red Hibiscus x 'Lord Baltimore' to the beautiful pink Hibiscus x 'Lady Baltimore'. One of the newest and most exciting varieties of hibiscus is 'Kopper King'. This new cultivar has gorgeous burgundy/copper colored foliage and the most striking white flowers with a deep red center. What a fantastic contrast in colors! 'Peppermint Schnapps' is a unique new variety with bright pink flowers which are streaked with deep reddish-pink in the center of each petal. A stunning addition to any sunny garden!
Individual hibiscus flowers are short-lived but each plant puts up many stems and each stem produces many buds, so the bloom goes on for quite a long time! But even when the flowers are gone, Hibiscus are still in the limelight. The foliage remains attractive through the season, turning a beautiful yellow in the cool fall air. Even the seed pods which form after the bloom are attractive and can be used to create interesting dried arrangements.