Hibiscus plants are shrubs that have long been enjoyed for their large, flamboyant blooms. Most hibiscus shrubs are tropical perennials and won't survive a cold winter except wild varieties that typically have smaller blooms. Thanks to a family of plant breeders, three brothers named Fleming, advances were made to create a new line of Fleming hybrid Hibiscus.
Fleming hybrid Hibiscus plants have the hardy nature of their wild ancestors, the large brilliant blooms of their tropical cousins and a more compact growth habit, making them perfect for mixed borders or large containers. They are patented plants and can be difficult to find in small, local nurseries but are well worth the effort of tracking down! Botanical and Common Name: Hibiscus x moscheutos cultivars named by the Fleming Brothers are usually just called "Fleming hybrid hibiscus". The species plants were often called Rose Mallows or Swamp Mallows but now are usually just referred to as Hardy Hibiscus. Hardiness Zones: Hardy to -30 degrees; zones 4-9. Bloom Time and Color: Hardy hibiscus begins blooming in mid-summer and will often continue producing flowers until frost. One hibiscus plant can produce literally hundreds of flowers in varying colors of red, white, lavender, purple, pink, magenta and even yellow. See specific hibiscus cultivar information below for details. Plant Category: Hibiscus plants are hardy perennials and are categorized as woody shrubs. Foliage: The foliage of the Fleming hibiscus plants are very attractive, almost hydrangea like. These hibiscus shrubs tend to leaf out late in the spring but will hold their green colored leaves late into the fall. The hibiscus leaves are large, glossy and lobed. Growth Habit: Fleming hybrids are more compact than many forms of hibiscus which can tend to grow leggy with age. Dimensions: Most Fleming hibiscus shrubs will grow about 4' tall and perhaps 2-3' wide. See specific hibiscus information below. Preferred Conditions: These deciduous shrubs prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Maintenance: Pruning hibiscus plants is a common way to keep them compact but may not be necessary for these Fleming hybrids. Fertilizer should not be used after June to ensure that the hibiscus flower production isn't impeded by excess nitrogen. Winter mulching will be helpful at the extreme north of the hibiscus hardiness range. Pests or Diseases: These hibiscus plants have no severe pest or disease problems. Propagation Methods: The Fleming hybrids are patented and available only as already started plants from registered nurseries and plant farms. Companion Plants: Hibiscus plants do well with spring and early summer blooming flowers that won't compete for attention once the hibiscus blooms begin. Consider planting hibiscus with Coreopsis, Blue Waterfall Campanula , Spirea or Viburnum for year-round interest and color in the garden. Seasons of Interest: Hibiscus shrubs have an attractive and upright twiggy silhouette during the winter, and although leaves come late in the spring the foliage is highly attractive during the summer and into early winter. The eye-catching flowers appear on the hibiscus shrub in mid to late summer and last until the first hard frost. Uses in the Garden: Use hibiscus shrubs for bright spots of color in summer sun areas. More compact forms do well in large containers and can add beautiful appeal to a patio or deck. Other Uses: Hibiscus flowers are large and colorful so they are highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Varieties and Cultivars: Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Aquarian': 4' tall hibiscus shrub with attractive red-veined foliage and large 12" lavender-pink flowers. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Robert Fleming': A compact 3' tall hibiscus shrub with the darkest red flowers available on a hardy hibiscus. An unusual hibiscus color. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Kopper King': A 4' tall shrub with white hibiscus flowers with a bright red or pink eye that can grow up to 12". The foliage of this hibiscus is extremely attractive with coppery colored leaves that are fine cut like maple leaves. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Plum Crazy': A bright plum colored hibiscus flower with strong veination complements the burgundy maple-cut foliage. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Torchy': True red, ruffled petal flowers that are 12" stand out against the bright green, 3-lobed leaved foliage. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Eruption': A 3 ½' hibiscus shrub with large, bright pink flowers and purple tinted, fine cut foliage. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Crown Jewels': One of the most compact hibiscus plants, great for containers or small garden space, the 'Crown Jewels' hibiscus gets only 2 ½' tall maximum. Creamy white flowers with red streaked eyes are about 8" and stand out from the dark maple-cut leaves. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Royal Gems': Large 12" flowers are bright pink and the leaves of this 4' hibiscus plant are curled, adding unusual accent to the foliage gardens. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Old Yella': Large buttery yellow flowers make this 4 ½' hibiscus a real eye-catcher in any sun garden. The foliage is not as deeply cut as other Fleming hibiscus hybrids and is more ovalular in shape. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Fantasia': A more compact cultivar, this hibiscus grows only 3' tall and the flowers are only 9". The hibiscus blooms, though slightly smaller than some hibiscus plants, are still extremely attractive with a muted lavender-gray tone and elegant ruffled petals. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Fireball': Bright red flowers are beacons of light on this 4' hibiscus plants. The 'Fireball' cultivar also sports some of the finest cut, almost lacy looking, foliage of any of the Fleming hybrids. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Dreamcatcher': The pale pink flowers of this hibiscus plant are textured with what is described as "quilting" on the petals. Very unique in appearance, this hibiscus grows to 4'. For more info on purchasing this item click here. This 'Plant Highlight' was written exclusively for Sooner Plant Farm by Angela England .To read more from this talented writer about other highlighted plants and interesting gardening stories click here. All copyrights reserved by Sooner Plant Farm. No reproduction of this article in whole or in part is allowed without the permission of Sooner Plant Farm.