A Kaleidoscope of Color: Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’
by Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin, Logee’s Owners
Fancy, dinner plate-sized hibiscus are some of the most dramatic and spectacular blooms in creation. The larger than life swirl of color and fancy ruffled petals are always a welcome sight at Logee’s.
Our newest Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’ is a rosa-sinensis hybrid and the flowers reach 8” across on mature plants. The magnificent coloring is what captivates the eye with its vibrant orange and violet rings that surround the red inner petals and white center and then reach outward to the frilly yellow petal edges.
This fancy cultivar has a lateral bushy growth habit and simply needs to be staked and pruned to encourage upright growth. Historically, hibiscus in their native habitat, originating in Asia and the Pacific islands, are often used as flowering hedges and the stunning multi-floral colors stop people in their tracks with their beauty.
How to Care for Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’
Caring for Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’ is easy in the north, if given full sun and a southern exposure. Also, as an indoor plant, the temperature needs to be kept above 60°F. When grown outside in the summertime and stretching into the fall, pay attention the temperature. Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’ can take dips into the high 30’s and 40’s but any sustained time of extremely low temperatures can damage the plant.
Watering is another important component of flowering ‘Night Runner.’ Make sure to dry the soil out some between watering, but not to the point of wilt. It is important to keep the root system healthy and not have the roots sitting in cool temperatures and wet soil.
Another tip to get ‘Night Runner’ to bloom continuously over the summer is to feed your hibiscus during the active growing season. Simply put, when the days start to lengthen, either top dress with a granular balanced fertilizer, such the Dr. Earth Organic Exotic Blend 6-4-6, or a liquid fertilizer which can be added the water once a week (similar to our Dyna-Gro Plant Food 7-9-5).
Some people find it easier to add the balanced liquid fertilizer when they water. However, we like to apply an organic granular slow-release fertilizer because once you top dress your hibiscus, a small amount of fertilizer will be released to the plant each time you water. This will satisfy the feeding needs for a couple of months.
Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’, like other hibiscus, can be susceptible to certain insects such as white fly, aphids, spider mite and thrip. Mostly we see outbreaks when the plant has summered outside all season and then brought in to a warm house at the end of the outdoor growing season. We highly recommend doing preventative sprays with neem oil and this will eradicate most problems.
Overall, with a little bit of attention to watering and fertilizer, Hibiscus ‘Night Runner’ is easy to grow and will reward you with prolific blooms all summer long.