Great Red Hibiscus

Great Red Hibiscus

Common Name: Great Red Hibiscus[1]

Scientific Name: Hibiscus coccineus

Description: Hardy, herbaceous North American perennial; large, bright scarlet blossoms open from upper branches in late summer until frost; orange and yellow fall color

Size: Grows to 7 feet high and 6 feet wide; multi-stemmed

Cultural Information: Prefers full sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soil

USDA Zones: 6b through 10

Historical Notes: This southeastern U.S. native was first named in the late 18th century and was soon being grown by avid American gardeners of the day—notably William Bartram, George Washington, and Jean Skipwith of Rappahannock in Virginia. Peter Collinson of London saw a painting of the flower done by Bartram, and asked for seeds to be sent from Charleston, South Carolina.[2] In spite of its early popularity, and its use in hybridizing modern hibiscus cultivars, there is little evidence that this species was widely grown in early American gardens. Also known as “Star of Texas,” this showy perennial is suitable for border plantings, as an accent plant, or grown in containers.

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986), 429.

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