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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shrub, oka, hibiscus in same family

  • Blooms give off resemblance.
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  • It always surprises me to read that hardy hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, okra, and cotton are in the same family. When you think about their blooms, you can see the family resemblance.
     
    Hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus moscheutos, is a perennial that will last in your garden for many years adding color and beauty. Some varieties have blooms as large as a dinner plate. A single bloom lasts for a day, opening in the morning and usually closing by late afternoon. Many more buds will open on future days, providing beauty until fall.
     
    Hardy hibiscus can be planted bare root in the early spring. Container grown plants can be placed in the garden now and into the fall. The plants need rich, fertile, moist soils and do best if planted to receive at least six hours of sun. When first planted they need to be watered frequently but after they are established they will tolerate dry soils. Mulch will help the soil retain the moisture.
     
    The hardy hibiscus, ‘Blue River’, which has white blooms is a native to southeastern Oklahoma and is named for the Blue River where it grows.
     
    Hardy hibiscus will grow up to six or eight feet tall, depending on the cultivar. Be sure to check the plant label to determine height and width. Unless you are using them as a hedge, spacing should be about 5 feet apart. The plant is deciduous and is late putting on leaves in the spring. Steve Dobbs recommends pruning the stems during the summer if you need to control the size of the plant.
     
    Rose of Sharon, H. syriacus, is a plant that will produce many more, but smaller blooms. It can grow as tall as 12 ft. Newly planted shrubs can be trained to tree shape by pruning all but the strongest stems. Light pruning in the early spring will produce a bushier plant but may also reduce the number of blooms that year.
     
    Whether you choose Hardy Hibiscus or Rose of Sharon, you are sure to have color in your landscape.
     

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