Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hibiscus grandiflorus

Hibiscus grandiflorus is native to the southern United States. Though one would know it as a hibiscus, it is very different in several ways from the others. First, it is a very late bloomer. Unless we have a late frost, it usually hasn't bloomed before cold weather. We have managed to get bloom the past 2 years. Maybe it's just that the plant is older, but it still doesn't start blooming until long after most of the others have long finished. The main difference one notices right away, though, is the leaves. Rather than being just green, these are a grey/green and have a velvety texture. They're the kind of thing you just have to touch. I've seen it called the 'toilet paper hibiscus'. The height is about 6 feet with a spread almost that much, so it isn't a small thing, though definitely smaller than some of the monsters we grow. It is in a dryish place unlike others that are growing in more boggy conditions.
The blooms are more typically hibiscus than the leaves. They come out light pink and fade to white and are about 6 inches across. It blooms on new wood. A bit about these hibiscus. Unlike Hibiscus syriacus that I've been writing about that is a shrub, these are definitely
herbaceous perennials. They die to the ground (at least here in zone 6) each year and produce all new growth in the spring. We cut back the old stems over the winter. I could do it in the fall, but fall is usually so busy that it just doesn't get done. Besides, I'm always looking for something to do outside in the winter on any day that it's not absolutely freezing. I guess that's the thing about crazy gardeners - they just need to be outside. I get crazy if I'm stuck in the house for too long. Of course, that's not a problem this time of year. I've been updating the website with all of the new pictures that I took this summer (over 5000 of them). The past few afternoons while it has been hot I've been working on the daylilies. I'm up to 'F' so far. I had quite a few that needed to be replaced since the jpg photos had degraded and the colors had turned weird. Others were taken just as a baseline for identification and needed prettier ones. If you're bored this afternoon, take a look.

No comments: