Common name: Shrubby mallow
One of the main features of these shrubs is their free-flowering habit. They are available in a wide range of colours with both single and double blooms. Flowering usually commences in early summer and extends on into autumn.are sun lovers, and are not difficult provided they have a free-draining fertile with shelter from cold winds.
Popular species and varieties
is, not surprisingly, a native of Syria. This deciduous well-branched shrub grows to 2m (6ft) or more in height. There are numerous named forms available. One which is certainly high on the list for popularity is ‘Blue Bird’, or now more correctly ‘Oiseau Bleu’ (AGM). Its single mid-blue blooms with a dark red centre are 7.5cm (3in) across.
‘Red Heart’ is another eye-catching variety, its large white, having a distinctive red eye. Anyone who enjoys pink blooms should find ‘Pink Giant’ to their liking. This is another with single flowers. ‘Russian Violet’ is a rich dark violet,’Hambo’ (AGM) is a blush-white with crimson centre, while ‘Woodbridge’ (AGM) is a popular variety: a rich rose pink with a deeper centre.
Among the double-flowered forms are ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ with white blooms, and ‘Lady Stanley’, a blush pink with maroon centre, which has been in cultivation for well over 100 years.
Soil type Humus-rich, well-drained soils.
Planting Choose a sunny spot where the plants will be sheltered from cold winds. Hibiscus can be slow to establish, and they always flower best in hot summers. Planting can be carried out in the autumn or spring. In cold districts the latter is preferable.
Maintenance Pruning is not generally required. Any long or straggly shoots can be cut back immediately after flowering.
Propagation Cuttings of around 7.5cm (3in) long, with a heel, taken from half-ripe, non-flowering shoots in early summer
Pests and diseases Aphids can become a nuisance — if seen treat as soon as possible with insecticide.