The most popular hardy hibiscus cultivars reach about 2 1/2 feet in height, with a spread slightly less than that, but the measurement more folks concentrate on is the bloom size -- up to 10 inches for 'Galaxy,' for example. The species plant is indigenous to eastern North America. H. moscheutos cultivars can be grown in planting zones 4-9. Grow hardy hibiscus plants in full sun and in an average-to-wet soil.
If you are not planting hardy hibiscus plants in a wet spot, then make sure they are adequately watered. Because the blossoms are so large -- yet so ephemeral -- deadheading is recommended after blooming, for aesthetic purposes. If the spent flowers are allowed to remain, they can look quite messy, detracting from the display value of your specimen. Since this perennial does die back to ground level in winter, feel free to prune it down to the ground in fall. As alive as the branches may seem in fall, trust me, they will die in winter. It is what lies under the earth (that is, the root system) that will live on. New branches will spring out of the ground the following year from this root system. Now what I do is keep the branches during the winter, so you have a knowledge where the plants is because the plant needs warm nights like in June to start to grow. It is one of the plants we need to be patient about in the spring for growing. But these specimens are slow to push new shoots out of the ground in spring, a fact that is capable of causing great fear on the part of new gardeners. One's initial reaction, upon witnessing their tardiness for the first time, is, "Oh no, the cold temperatures of the winter must have killed off my plant." But exercise a little patience before you write off this perennial and begin planning to replace it with something else. By June in my zone-5 garden, the new shoots finally make an appearance.
Hardy hibiscus plants essentially function as late summer flowering shrubs (even though they are classified botanically as perennials). They will typically bloom in late July or early August in northern climates. I know when we go to the State Fair their hibiscus's are all in bloom and look awesome. This feature makes them valuable specimen plants in landscaping plans that strive for spring-to-fall color, since fewer flowering shrubs bloom at this time than at other times during the growing season. This is what I am talking about in your perennial bed to have plants that bloom early spring, spring, late spring, early summer, late summer and fall for the continuous of blooms all summer long. As you know, perennials blooms don't last all season long.
I always have plants here in the spring, but right now sold out of them at the Franklin Co. Fair. You should put this on your list for next spring, as it is an easy plant to grow and gives color in the summer when other plants are done blooming. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa