Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 

(hi-biss' cuss ro' za-sii-nen' siss)

Common name: Hibiscus, Chinese Hibiscus, Rose Mallow

Family: Malvaceae, Mallow

Height x width: 3-10' x 2-10'

Foliage: dark green, shiny, often ovate to cordate to 3" across and equally long, on petioles from woody stems--a shrub grown as a houseplant

Flowers: funnel-shaped with many anthers off a central staminal column much longer and exserted beyond the flowers; usuall 5 petals, often separate and slightly reflexed; many bright colors including red, yellow, pink, orange, or white often with darker or different color in throat

Light: bright

Temperature: warm 65-75ºF

Watering: evenly moist, more in flowering and less when slow or no growth

Humidity: high prefered

Soil: average

Pests and Problems: mites, aphids, scales, mealybugs; buds fall off if too cold or temperatures fluctuate quickly (as from drafts) or from too dry soil

Growth habit, uses: medium to large flowering potted plant; shrub outdoors in zone 9 where tolerates heat and full sun, although very adaptable to lesser conditions in northern homes

Other interest: native to tropical Asia, southern China other common names are Rose-of-China or China Rose; the common name Shoe Black comes from the fact the Chinese used the sap to stain shoes black and dye women's hair black, with use of this plant mentioned in ancient Chinese writings; first introduced to Europe in 1731. The name may come from the Greek word for mallow, or after the bird ibis which occurs in marshy areas where this shrub occurs naturally.

Other culture: not responsive to photoperiod, flowering occurs most in high temperature and high light; growth retardants are often used commercially to maintain lower heights; may be kept lower in home conditions by keeping pot-bound almost as a bonsa; moderate to heavy fertility

Propagation: stem and tip cuttings


Related to syriacus, shrub hardy to zone 5 with new cultivars supposedly hardier. A few cultivars representative of the over 100 available are listed below.
Cultivar flowers; other
'Bridal Veil' white, large, single, crepe texture
'Cooperi' rose; leaves marbled pink and white, antique 
'Crown of Bohemia' gold, bright orange throat, double
'Fiesta' deep orange, pink-red eye, large, single, crinkled edges
'Ruby Brown' brown tinted orange, dark red throat, large, single

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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