Perennial plants, those that come back for several years without replanting, are rapidly gaining favor with plant lovers across the nation. Some perennials, however, love cool, moist environments and are hammered by the heat and drying winds of our Texas summers. If you have been looking for an easy care perennial that thrives in the harsh Texas heat and will blow your doors off with color, then your prayers have been answered with perennial hibiscus.
Don't confuse these plants with Chinese hibiscus which is a tropical and will be killed in our winter freezes. As the name implies, perennial hibiscus are truly perennial and, once established, will provide years and years of brilliant landscape color. Actually, these plants are herbaceous perennials, meaning their tops die down to the ground each winter, but new shoots will come roaring back into lush growth when soils warm the following spring.
Texas A&M horticulturists have done extensive, statewide testing of perennial hibiscus for several years and their scientific data indicate that three cultivars of perennial hibiscus are stellar performers in Texas landscapes. These highly recommended cultivars are ‘Flare,’ ‘Moy Grande,’ and ‘Lord Baltimore.’ All three provide stunning color summer to early fall, love the heat, require very little maintenance, and are so pest resistant that almost never will you need to apply any pesticides.
‘Flare’ has apple green foliage and large, high quality fuchsia red flowers to ten inches wide. Four feet tall, it is a profuse bloomer and has the important advantage of being self sterile which encourages luxuriant rebloom. This wonderful cultivar does great in any soil type, even our sticky, highly alkaline clays. Texans will love ‘Moy Grande’ because it has the largest, open–face hibiscus flower in the world! The rose–pink blossoms are truly magnificent with diameters reaching a full 12 inches (dinner plate size). This cultivar will grow in acid or alkaline soils. Gives flushes of bloom throughout the summer; prompt removal of spent blossoms will encourage rebloom. ‘Lord Baltimore’ displays deeply cut, glossy foliage and stunning red flowers up to ten inches in diameter. Five feet tall and self sterile, this improved hybrid prefers neutral to acid soils.
These plants are very versatile and can be used in large containers, as a perennial border and in butterfly and hummingbird gardens. Make sure that the plants you buy have the Texas Superstar® label in the containers – this is your assurance that you are purchasing plant types that have proven themselves in A&M studies across the state. Adapted throughout Texas, these hibiscus are among our finest, easy care perennials. Give them a try – you'll be the envy of the neighborhood in no time.
(The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial firms or products is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service is implied.)