Hibiscus – Plant of the Week

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I am not good at making plants live, although I have been improving over the past few years.  So when it comes to creating flower gardens I’m hesitant.  I don’t want to buy a plant that I will likely kill (like our impatiens this year), and I don’t want to dig up a perfectly happy plant from the wild, and move it to my house to die slowly in front of me over a period of weeks.  So every year I admire the beautiful many colored hibiscus flowers the grow along the river and highways and I resist the urge to move them to my house.

This year the wonderful husband discovered hibiscus growing of its own will, with incredible vitality (probably because I hadn’t attempted to care for them) in our poke (Phytolacca americana) bed.  They are native to Kentucky and grow wild.  They like water and full sun so they are most commonly found along the river bank or in the ditches by the highway.  There are hundreds of varieties of hibiscus over the world and disagreements as to what are species, subspecies, or just variations.  So I don’t know exactly what our hibiscus are, probably either Hibiscus laevis or Hibiscus moscheutos. They come in red, white, pink, orange, and yellow most commonly. 

These hibiscus were most likely planted by the birds that came to eat the pokeberries.  They grow easily in the right conditions.  Last year there was one small one, and this year several of significant size.  They are best transplanted in fall by carefully digging up their root ball in planting them in rich soil. 

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Hibiscus as tall as child!

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