Hibiscus Family- Versatile Tropical Plants

Hibiscus are a large and varied genus of plants. Usually they grow as tall to small shrubs, and most of them have dazzling flowers, often many at the same time. Fortunately during their flower flushes there are many flowers,unfortunately they last for only a few days.


Orange Hibiscus

Some of the most

common varieties found depend on the climate you live in. But the most cultivated of all is the Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, which has so many flower variations, sizes and colours, there are books written on them, showing photos of the colour variations. Specifically there are varieties called Hawaiian varieties usually with large and colourful flowers, Fijian varieties smaller flowers and less variations in colour and the cold climate varieties, which can be grown in southern inland areas, and as far south as Adelaide and Melbourne in protected areas


Other well used species are the Confederate Rose, Hibiscus mutabilis which grow well in the Gold Coast climate. As their name mutabilis suggest they mutate in flower colour starting from white and ageing to pink. These plants loose their leaves in winter and the stems die-back also, so they need to be pruned after flowering, and then grow fast in summer.

Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis ' Vericolor') (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis ‘ Vericolor’) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another well used Hibiscus is the Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus, which has purple or white flowers, is deciduous and a good plant for colder climates.

Hibiscus syriacus white

Hibiscus syriacus white

Native hibiscus are very common. Hibiscus tiliaceus is a widespread native tree, which also grows along creek banks all over the Pacific, in such places as New Guinea, Samoa and Fiji. There is also a dark leaved variety used in gardens.


Hibiscus tiliaceus variegated

Another native out there is the tree sized Hibiscus splendens. The name says it all. A splendourous fast growing tree. When it puts on a flowering flush at least 2 times a year, it has masses of pink flowrers. Unfortantely the stem has small prickles, but still worth the effort.


Hibiscus splendens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other nice native hibiscus are Hibiscus heterophyllus- white to light pink, H.divaricatus- yellow and grows in swampy areas, and the H.insularis- yellow large shrub from Lord Howe Island.

Hibiscus insularis

Hibiscus insularis

In cultivation there are other species found in our climate like the red flowering Hibiscus schizopetalus, or white flowering Hibiscus arnottianus from Hawaii.

A white Hibiscus arnottianus in Hawaii. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A white Hibiscus arnottianus in Hawaii. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most cultivated hibiscus varieties, need loose soil preferably mixed in with organic matter and watered whenever dry. If they are not healthy, given that there are many Hibiscus family plants in Australia, they can easily get attacked from visitors from other bushes. Best to keep them healthy as suggested, and pests should keep clear.


Hibiscus don’t mind a heavy cut back to about ¹/³ the size when looking hap-hazard or unhealthy

2 thoughts on “Hibiscus Family- Versatile Tropical Plants

  • i am looking for a plant of Rose of Sharon known also as Confederate rose it is the white one that goes into pink as well, ive only just seen one . Do you have any in stock, could you let me know

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