Looking for an easy-care perennial with giant, tropical-like flowers? Look no further than hardy hibiscus!
Dinner Plate Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) is a cold-hardy, herbaceous, flowering perennial plant grown for its huge, show-stopping blooms. Fresh leafy shoots sprout from the ground in late spring, quickly creating a small rounded form. The flowers are huge, 8″-12″ wide blossoms, most often in pinks, whites, or reds. Native to the USA, dinner plate hibiscus plants are hardy in zones 4-9.
Read on to learn all about how to plant hardy hibiscus, as well as different types available and tips for caring for these plants in the garden.
About Dinner Plate Hardy Hibiscus
Dinner plate hibiscus is also called hardy hibiscus, perennial hibiscus, herbaceous hibiscus, giant hibiscus, rose mallow, and swamp rose mallow. The latin name for dinner plate hibiscus is Hibiscus moscheutos, part of the mallow family Malvaceae.
Dinner plate hibiscus plants are native to eastern North America. They’re now available in wonderful shades, from the lavender-blue of Bleu Brûlée Hardy Hibiscus to the giant, vibrant pink of Cherry Choco Latte Hibiscus, and the true regal purple of Plum Flambe Hibiscus! There’s a whole list of different cultivars/types of dinner plate hibiscus further on in this article.
Hibiscus moscheutos, commonly known as hardy hibiscus or swamp rose mallow, is a vigorous, sturdy, rounded, somewhat shrubby, hairy-stemmed, woody-based perennial of the mallow family. It typically grows to 3-7’ tall and to 2-4’ wide. It is native to wet spots (marshes, swamps, floodplains, river banks, moist meadows, and moist woods) from Ontario and Massachusetts south to Ohio, Indiana, Alabama and Florida.Hibiscus moscheutos, Missouri Botanical Garden
Hibiscus moscheutos is a herbaceous perennial plant, meaning that the foliage dies back to the ground each fall, and then sprouting fresh new shoots the following spring. Hardy dinner plate hibiscus plants are one of the very last herbaceous perennials to break dormancy and sprout up in the spring. In my Zone 5 garden, the first signs of sprouts is often not until the end of May (or even early June).
Dinner plate hibiscus is almost always grown for its very large showy flowers. They look tropical, even though they’re hardy to frosty, snow-covered Zone 4! Hibiscus moscheutos typically flowers from July-September. Each flower only lasts a couple days, but a single plant produces dozens of flowers. Most dinner plate hibiscus have green foliage, but some modern cultivars do have deep purple or nearly black foliage.
“Its flowers span up to 12 inches wide, beckoning fliers of all types, and last from early summer until the first frost. Plant this stunner in rich, moist soil in a sunny site.”Gardening for Birds, Butterflies, and Bees: Everything you Need to Know to Create a Wildlife Habitat in your Backyard, by the Editors of Birds & Blooms Magazine
Tips for Planting Dinner Plate Hardy Hibiscus Plants (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Here are the basics for planting dinner plate hardy hibiscus plants:
- Choose a site with full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).
- Choose a site somewhat protected from wind.
- Choose rich soil high in organic matter when possible.
- Choose soil that is naturally moist or easily watered.
- Dig a planting hole 2x as wide as pot, but no deeper.
- The plant soil level should line up level with the surrounding soil.
- Feed with a top-dressing of homemade compost or organic fertilizer.
- Cover the surrounding soil with organic mulch.
Here is a video I made today about planting hardy hibiscus in the garden:
…Now I can’t wait for these new-to-me varieties to bloom!
Dinner Plate Hardy Hibiscus Cultivars & Hybrids
Here are some of the more common types of dinner plate hibiscus grown in home gardens:
Summerific® by Proven Winners Rose Mallow (Dinner Plate Hibiscus)
- Evening Rose (hot pink)
- Candy Crush (hot pink)
- Berry Awesome (fuchsia)
- Spinderella (pink and white)
- Cherry Choco Latte (pink and white)
- Perfect Storm (white with soft pink)
- Holy Grail (red)
- Cranberry Crush (red)
- Ballet Slippers (white)
- French Vanilla (white)
Summer Spice® Series of Hardy Hibiscus
- Bleu Brûlée (blue)
- Plum Flambe (purple)
- Cordon Bleu (blue)
- Ambrosia (hot pink)
- Amaretto (pink)
- Crepe Suzette (hot pink)
Head Over Heels® Series Hibiscus
- Head Over Heels® Blush Hibiscus (pink and white, ruffled)
- Head Over Heels® Passion Hibiscus (hot pink)
Luna Series of Hardy Hibiscus
Monrovia Hibiscus moscheutos
- James Fleming (hot pink)
- Strawberry Swirl (pink and white)
- Anne Arundel (pink)
- Stardust (soft pink)
- Snowflame (red)
- Dave Fleming (red)
- Kopper King (white)
Other Dinner Plate Hibiscus Types
- Summer in Paradise (bright pink)
- Airbrush Effect (bright pink)
- Brandy Punch (pink)
- Lady Baltimore (pink)
- Carousel™ Pink Passion (pink)
- Peppermint Schnapps (pink)
- Disco Belle Pink (soft pink)
- Pink Candy (pink and white)
- Southern Belle (pink and white)
- Disco Belle (white and pink)
- Cherry Cheesecake (white and pink)
- Mocha Moon (white and pink)
- Disco Belle White (white)
- Dark Mystery (white)
- Blue River II (white)
- Lord Baltimore (red)
- Summer Carnival (red)
- Plum Fantasy (red)
- Mars Madness (red)
- Midnight Marvel (red)
- Vintage Wine (red)
- Cherry Brandy (red)
- Fireball (red)
- Fantasia (red)
Hibiscus moscheutos L. (Malvaceae) is native to marshes in the eastern United States from Massachusets to Michagin and south to Albama and Georgia. The horticultural hybrids are variable crosses between Hibiscus moscheutos, H. coccineus, and H. militaris, but are often listed as cultivars of Hibiscus moscheutos (Clausen 1989).Hibiscus moscheutos Cultivars and Horticultural Hybrids, by Richard G. Hawke, Chicago Botanic Garden
Tips for Growing Dinner Plate Perennial Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Here are the basics for growing and caring for dinner plate perennial hibiscus:
- Spring shoots are slow to break dormancy and emerge. It may take until June to see them sprout up from the ground.
- Ensure moist soil throughout the summer. The ground should be consistently damp, not soggy or dry.
- Plants that aren’t flowering well may need more sun. Hibiscus moscheutos is quite heat tolerant.
- Deadheading spent blooms is common.
- Cut stems down to 6″ long in late fall (after frost) or in early spring.