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HIBISCUS January 22, 2007 2:08 AM

Hibiscus rosasinensisHibiscus is considered the Queen of the Tropics. Hibiscus grow wild in many tropical, subtropical, and warm-temperate regions around the world.

Hibiscus is a diverse genus made up of roughly 220 species of annuals, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, subshrubs, and trees. Hibiscus have been cultivated for centuries. The name 'Hibiscus' comes from hibiskos, the old Greek name for the common marsh mallow. The most commonly grown species is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, which means China Rose.

Hibiscus are large, flat, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped flowers. Hiscus flowers have five petals, ranging from white to pink, red, purple or yellow. The Hisbiscus petals range in size from 4-15 cm broad.

Bud of Orange HibiscusBlooming orange hibiscusYellow Hibiscus

Images of the Hibiscus flower were found on Chinese porcelain plates dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Hibiscus also appear on ancient Chinese silk tapestries.
Facts About Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus are native to the tropical region of Asia, and tend to grow in wet or swampy areas.
  • Hibiscus is a large genus of about 200-220 species of flowering plants.
  • Many plants of this family are useful ornamentally, while some are also sources of fiber, food, and medicine.
Hibiscus tea is caffeine free, with a unique, delicious taste. It is distinctive, vibrant, with a natural color, and is rich in Vitamin C. Hibiscus tea has a pleasant fragrance, and is known to be a natural body refrigerant in North Africa. The Egyptians believed that tea made with red hibiscus flowers and sepals could induce licentious cravings in women. As a result, for many centuries Egyptian women were forbidden to drink Hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus Varieties

Hibiscus plants/trees are broadly divided into three groups: tropical, hardy, and rose of Sharon.

  • Tropical Hibiscuses - These hibiscuses are the healthiest and most productive in full sun.
  • Hardy Hibiscus - These hibiscuses can endure harsh weather and environmental extremes.
  • Rose of Sharon - Hibiscus of this type does best in moist, well-draining soil that has been supplemented with organic matter.
How to Grow Hibiscus
  • The best soil is well draining, of good texture, and highly organic.
  • After cuttings have rooted they are hardened off on holding benches.
  • Plants are pinched and young plants begin to take shape.
  • Once a plant has reached the desired height, growth regulators are applied.
Hibiscus Plant care
  • Plants should be watered thoroughly immediately after planting to prevent wilting.
  • An organic mulch will conserve water, reduce weed problems, and help control nematodes.
  • Pinching is important as it will determine the density of the plant and also the bud count.
  • Aphids can occasionally attack new growth, look at some of the insecticidal soaps as an option to control them. (I use pounded up fresh chili mixed with water instead since it's less harmfull to the environment & doesnt hurt the visiting birds and the bees much)

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