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Hibiscus: Signs of summer at the Gardens

By Dr. Bill Barrick, Executive Director

Although we have been experiencing some wonderful spring-like weather lately, summer is fast approaching. Over the past few weeks, we have been transitioning all of our planting beds from spring to summer. Some of our most notable summer blooms are the varieties of hibiscus that we include in the summer plantings each year.

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Hibiscus at Bellingrath

Tropical Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, are not reliably cold-hardy in Mobile, and for that reason, we maintain stock plants in our production greenhouses, from which we take cuttings. We generally maintain stock plants of 10-15 different varieties that have proven to root easily and flower continuously. Over 2,000 cuttings were taken in late October and early November for the summer displays. At the end of the summer, as we are transitioning to fall, we often save many of the slower-growing varieties like ‘Cosmic Dancer’ and ‘Hula Girl’ for successive year’s plantings. This past fall, we saved more than 600 plants for this year’s plantings.

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Hibiscus in your garden

To maximize flowering, Tropical Hibiscus should be grown in full sun. They should be grown in rich organic soil and should be watered throughout the summer. While we plant most of our Hibiscus directly in the soil, Hibiscus do well in containers. That way you can save your Hibiscus, but remember – when the temperature falls below freezing, you need to protect them or bring them in in the sunniest room in your home. Then you can keep a little bit of summer year-round.


Visit Bellingrath  to catch all of the summer plants in full bloom throughout the Gardens all summer long.