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Create a Tropical Feel in your Garden with Bright Hibiscus Shrubs!

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, ‘Queen of the Tropics’ or Chinese Hibiscus, are in the Mallow family (Malvaceae). They share a family with plants such as Lavatera (tree Mallow), and those classic garden treasures, Hollyhocks. You can see the family resemblance in the large, dense-petaled, open flowers.

The Hibiscus flower, is also the state flower of Hawaii. When added to your yard it can really give it that tropical, rain forest feel. They are also found growing in warmer, temperate regions. Luckily, these eye-catching, deciduous shrubs grow well in the micro-climates of the Bay Area. But be careful where you plant them, as they are frost tender. In areas where temperatures get below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s worth planting them in pots and moving inside in the Winter.

The TradeWinds varieties of Hibiscus are more compact than some other varieties, reaching a mature height and width of around 2-3′. They have larger flowers, and are improved for less bud drop. They are low maintenance, but may occasionally need some pruning to maintain good shape.

It’s always a treat when Hibiscus start to bloom, telling you that Summer is close to arriving. Plant them in well-amended soil, particularly if you have heavy clay. Keep conditions moist, and plant in Full Sun. They will not thrive in shadier conditions, where they tend to bloom less and become leggy.

Combine with Calla and Canna Lilies, colorful New Zealand Flax or Cordyline, and Fatsia varieties for a tropical garden feel.

Pick up one of these cultivars, available in 5 gallon containers:

Hibiscus ‘TradeWinds: Sunny Wind’

Buy Sunny Wind Hibiscus at Evergreen Nursery in San LeandroThis cultivar has sunny, yellow petals with a bright crimson throat. The blooms are huge, 6-7″ wide! They contrast beautifully with dark green, heart-shaped leaves. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate part-sun. ‘Sunny Wind’ is heat tolerant, and therefore works well planted close to patios and paths, soaking up reflected heat! Average water.  USDA Zones 9-12.

Hibiscus ‘TradeWinds: ‘Tortuga Wind’

Buy Tortuga Wind Hibiscus at Evergreen Nursery in San Leandro‘Tortuga Wind’ has stunning red flowers, 5.5″ across, with a darker red throat. It has shiny, green leaves. and grows 2-3′ tall and wide, a perfect size for smaller gardens, or growing in pots. Loves the sun and heat! Average Water.  USDA Zones 9-12.