ALL HAIL THE HI­BIS­CUS

EDP Norfolk - - GARDEN GUIDE -

One of the best sum­mer and au­tumn flow­er­ing shrubs is Hi­bis­cus syr­i­a­cus. Th­ese medium to large de­cid­u­ous shrubs flower from the end of July through to Oc­to­ber, adding colour to the late sum­mer gar­den when many oth­ers have fin­ished flow­er­ing.

Although there have been a mul­ti­tude of new va­ri­eties re­leased, many of the older va­ri­eties are still very gar­den wor­thy. One of my favourites is Hi­bis­cus syr­i­a­cus ‘Oiseau Bleu (Blue Bird) which has been awarded the RHS Award of Gar­den Merit. It has beau­ti­ful large sin­gle laven­der-blue flow­ers with a ma­roon red cen­tre and bright white sta­mens which re­ally stand out in the late sum­mer gar­den when blue flow­ered shrubs are un­com­mon.

An­other good tra­di­tional va­ri­ety is H.s. ‘Wood­bridge’ which pro­duces a pro­fu­sion of sin­gle deep pink flow­ers with con­trast­ing crim­son cen­tres, which can slowly grow to around 2.5m x 2m but can eas­ily be kept more com­pact by an­nual prun­ing. For sin­gle white flow­ers I like H.s. Diana, its pure white flow­ers have slightly wavy edges and it rarely pro­duces seed so con­tin­ues to flower un­til the first frosts.

For dou­ble flow­ers, the Chif­fon series bred by Dr Rod­er­ick Woods from Cam­bridgeshir­e are a good choice, they make com­pact plants, and come in a good range of blues, pinks and white. Hi­bis­cus are usu­ally long-liv­ing trou­ble-free plants that en­joy full sun. Any prun­ing should be done in spring, short­en­ing the pre­vi­ous year’s growth to en­cour­age more flow­ers.

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