What a difference a year makes! Last year I planted some Southern Belle hibiscus along a fence. The plants were a little small but filled with huge flowers. This year the plants are coming into their own – each plant is about 4′ high and 4′ wide. There are dozens of branches and each one is filled with buds. On one branch alone I counted 27 buds!
I have to say that I’m a little surprised how well these hibiscus are doing. They’re growing in an area that can be both hot and dry. I haven’t done anything to the plants – I’ve just let them grow. There haven’t been any insect issues either except for a few Japanese beetles chewing on some of the flowers.
The plants can get a little unruly and the branches sometimes break in high wind or heavy rain. Next year I plan to use some twine attached to the fence to offer them some support. This should serve to protect the plants and also keep them in control.
The one problem with these hibiscus is that they are messy. The large blossoms fall off after a few days – this serves to keep the plants clean but it can make a mess on the ground around them. I guess this is just the price that you have to pay if you want to have 8-10″ blossoms on a plant!
If you’re looking for a large perennial with a definite “wow” factor, Southern Belle hibiscus – or any perennial hibiscus – is a great choice. The flowers are huge, the plants are easy to grow and the plants keep flowering for months. There aren’t a lot of perennials that can offer all of that!