Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pretty picture: Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Satin'

Call me an idiot, but I did not know until a few weeks ago that there was such a thing as a blue Hibiscus. This is not the tropical one, H. rosa-sinensis (which as far as I know still does not come in a blue version): these are H. syriacus, or rose of Sharon, which are allegedly hardy here in Zone 5B. I say "allegedly" not because I think they're not, but because I want to hang on to the hope that there's something wrong with the plant: I could have bought one (not, mind you, a big one: they're expensive. But still.) and I didn't, and I'm kind of regretting this.

Why am I regretting it? Because this:





is so pretty it hurts. So please tell me they're horrible and I don't want them. Or share my envy and tell me you also want them. Either way. I can be flexible.


22 comments:

Claude said...

As far as I know, they're hardy there... In this part of the world, the old standard ones can get to 30 feet or so, but the modern cultivars stay smaller. Some people keep them pruned into hedges, but I think they look better allowed to go more natural. The only real problem I can see with them is the tendency to self seed and spread.

Lzyjo said...

My dad has rose of sharons at his house, Zone 6 NJ. The falling petals make a yucky slimy mess and then the seed pods fall, strewing their seeds everywhere. His are probably 30 feet tall. That blue is really extreme!!

lynn'sgarden said...

That 'Blue Satin' IS A BEAUTY!! I definitely would have snatched one so I WILL call you idiot..but only because you said to...Just kiddin!!! But, really, do you have the space? They do get big!!

CelticRose said...

Blue Hibiscus??!! I didn't know there was such a thing!

They're beautiful!!!

WANT!

Zeï said...

Oh my, I want one! They're too pretty!

Tatyana said...

Call me an idiot, too! What a wonder! If it's true that it seeds and spreads as Claude said, then I like it even more! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

mr_subjunctive said...

When I looked for them at davesgarden.com, most of the negative comments people had about them referred to their invasive tendencies. They're still pretty damned amazing, though.

mr_subjunctive said...

Oh, and --

A few of the negative comments also referred to them taking a long time to get going in the spring; something about the actual bloom period being very short, and the plants don't look that great until the blooming starts. And I guess some people find them buggy.

I don't think I care.

Chicago Garden said...

I think one of my neighbors has one of these. I'll check when they bloom and if so I'll get you some seeds if you want.

Liz said...

I'm sorry to say it's beautiful... I don't wish to bring bad news at all... :D

mr_subjunctive said...

Chicago Garden:

Really? That would be awfully cool.

Anonymous said...

"these are H. syriacus, or rose of Sharon, which are allegedly hardy here in Zone 5B. "

They're hardy to like, zone 4 or so. I think. They survived our last winter in my part of Ohio where temps got to like, -30ish a few times.

They're more likely to spread on their own in warmer areas I guess. In zone 5, they're a lot more managable.

Around here... ours are purple, by the way, but they bloom for a pretty decent period of time and don't take extremely long to leaf up.

Chicago Garden said...

I've just come back from the field and regretfully inform you that said blue hibiscus is either dead or was a figment of my imagination.

All I see in her garden now are lavender colored ones.

But, I'll keep my eye out for others around Chicago I could take some seeds from.

GardenJoy4Me said...

I want this too !! Please don't get my hopes up in my 5b zone ..

mr_subjunctive said...

Oh well. If it works, it works, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. Thanks for thinking of me, at least.

Andrew said...

They are cold hardy to USDA zone 5a (Toronto area) at least - have seen them growing well in cooler areas of Ontario as well - and will be best in a very sunny spot that is sheltered from wind through the winter.

In zone 5 you can expect this variety to reach about 10' high 6' wide (most actually except 'Little Kim' that I've come across seem to be about this size). It should survive the winter but don't be surprised if some years you don't even see leaves before June, and no flowers until usually August - but once they start they'll keep going until frost.

Avoid planting near a patio, walkway or driveway as they drop a lot of large flowers all the time.

I had never heard of them self seeding or becoming weedy (and never reaching 30' tall!) in zone 5 before but who knows... maybe everyone I've spoken to about them have all just been lucky?

----------

Unrelated... we just got a small shipment of Aglaonema 'Crete' in at work and the red on their leaves is amazing. Have you tried this one (or one of the other new ones with the red pigment in them)? They are expensive for a 6" pot and I don't want to get one if it's going to be hard to look after (or die).

Autumn Belle said...

Now I will look around for blue hibiscus plants to grow in my garden. Otherwise I'll die of envy! But I still cannot control myself. They are very beautiful indeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm in London, Ontario and Rose of Sharon are very definitely hardy here. One local lawn has a bush that produces white blooms with rosey centres the size of small dinner plates. They're huge! No idea what the variety is, though. Another house has a hedge of the blue-purple ones.

Lance said...

They are certainly hardy here - I'd say we are in zone 6, but I'm not positive since I think we've been reassigned. But my grandmother always had big ones when I was a child, and I've seen several around town here that get to be small tree sized. I like them, a very pretty color, and I've seen them in pink, blue, white, and several variations.

Don said...

This species is widely and easily available where landscape plants are sold, and isn't expensive. You didn't lose a unique opportunity when you passed it up.

An easy and adaptable plant, though you may be near the hardiness limit, and at least in Zone 6 it's as weedy as a dandelion. The flowers are pretty but---though your photos don't show it---the plant's habit grows gawky as it matures, and yes, it's late to leaf out. It works all right in a shrub border where it can hide in the background when it's out of bloom, but I'd avoid using it as a specimen. Also, if you're tempted to start collecting cultivars, be aware that the pink and the "blue" (violet in reality) don't offer as much contrast with each other as you might expect, and the double-flowered cultivars hold on to their ugly spent flowers.

mr_subjunctive said...

No, I knew about the existence of H. syriaca. I just didn't know they came in this color. And I wouldn't care so much about the color, either, except that it's a color that I haven't seen H. rosa-sinensis in.

Kenneth Moore said...

...and I just got some Rose of Sharon seeds at a seed exchange yesterday.

Want some?

I think you have my e-mail, but tweet or comment if you need it.