Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hibiscus syriacus - Variegated Foliage

There are a few Rose of Sharons, or is that Roses of Sharon???, that have variegated foliage. This first one we have always called 'Athens' because the original plant was found near here in Athens Ohio. It will have varying amounts of variegation from year to year and always has some all green stems. We just prune them out. The flowers are white with a red eye. It is definitely a showy plant and the variegated one that we grow with the most white.

This next one is 'Miss Jilene. We thought it was relatively new, but when I was looking for something else, I came across a receipt for one we bought back in 1996 from Mellingers who are no longer in business. This is a rather confusing plant, at least the nomenclature. This one has a wide white/cream margin and some all white leaves. We have others that are a more blue green with a think white edge. It has also been called variously Hillis Variegated, Miss Jilene and Hillis Variegated Miss Jilene. Not matter what the name, it is a really pretty plant and seems to be slow growing compared to the species. After 4 years or so our largest one is only about 3 feet tall.

Here is the bloom on Miss Jilene. Some show more pink and some are more double. Yet another problem with identifying this one. You can see how pink the buds are.
This is Hibiscus purpuratus (purpurea) Variegata. It is a different species though I have seen it listed incorrectly as syriacus purpuratus. It is more upright with smaller leaves and is more sensitive to cold. We don't seem to be able to keep one alive here for more than 5 or 6 years. The flowers are so double that they never open and look like raspberries.

All of these, like the others, like full sun and ample moisture. Tomorrow we're off to something else to be determined by my walking through the garden this morning. Fall things are starting to bloom, though the garden is starting to look tired, like it is getting towards fall, with some brown edges on leaves and even some things going dormant. Until a few weeks ago we had quite ample rainfall, but now it is very dry and we're running sprinklers every night. So many things depend on summer rain to set buds for next year that rain in July and August is important as much for the following season as this one. Weeding and mulching continue, at least in the mornings and some dividing, digging and potting. Running out of things to do with this size garden just isn't going to happen.

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