Outrageous Color In Five Tropical Hibiscus
By Laurelynn Martin
Outrageous color, dinner-plate sized blooms, floral perfection are just some of the words used to describe large tropical hibiscus. We are fortunate to have many wonderful hibiscus in our collection and nothing delights us more than watching people’s faces light up when they witness the beauty of these flowers.
Tropical hibiscus originate in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii. This famous flower is seen in fabric patterns, pictures and other marketing material for its native homeland. Gardeners love hibiscus so much that intense cross breeding with the rosa sinensis species has taken place for decades and produced some unbelievable hybrids with huge, multi-colored blooms. Here are five colorful favorites that I know you will enjoy…
The most photographed hibiscus in our collection that consistently produces blooms year-round is Hibiscus ‘The Path.’ This everblooming hybrid has brilliant yellow-edged flowers with a rich orange to fuchsia to pink center. Its upright growth habit is perfect to display its prolific blooms. The slightly serrated green shiny foliage adds to its majestic nature. We’ve seen three to four blooms open at once, and the photo, although spectacular, pales in comparison to when you see the flowers in person.
Hibiscus ‘Voodoo Queen,’ like the name implies, has magic is afoot. ‘Voodoo Queen’ changes flower color in a single day. In the morning, the bloom opens with pink petals and violet centers and a burgundy heart and by the afternoon the color changes to yellow petals with a gray-lavender center and strawberry heart. Hibiscus grow best in full sun and plenty of water and fertilizer. If they are only given partial sun, the intensity of the flower color will not be as bright.
Another impressive hybrid is Hibiscus ‘Queen of Dreams.’ The 7-8” flowers boast an array of colors in shades of yellow, orange, rose and lavender. The petals lay on top of one another in a way that make them look formal, like a crepe paper formed flower. For the fancy hibiscus lover, this one is sure to delight you.
When it comes to coloring, Hibiscus ‘Midnight Tryst’ is unique with its contrasting color combination. A bright pink starburst heart radiates through rich purple and gray tones, into the smooth, bright pink petal edges. To keep these impressive colors bright, make sure full sun and fertilizer is part of its regime. By the second day of blooming, the flower color fades a bit, but there is usually another flower bud right behind it waiting to open.
My final pick for knock-your-socks off color is Hibiscus ‘Imperial Dragon.’ I plant hibiscus in my summer garden and ‘Imperial Dragon’ is my showpiece. Its bold floral colors of rich peachy-orange leading into the vibrant purple heart radiate a sense of awe for all who pass by. The size of the blooms, the frilly petal edges and its outstanding coloring make this a must have for any hibiscus collector.
We hope you get a chance to experience the joy of growing tropical hibiscus. The American Hibiscus Society was formed in 1950, and they have spent decades on the promotion and development of hundreds of new hybrids. We have chosen these spectacular varieties to give you an overview of these exotic beauties. And before you go, please be sure to request your free Logee’s catalog. You can learn more about the tropical hibiscus mentioned in this article below: