35+ Types of Hibiscus for Your Garden

Hibiscus, a genus of sun-loving shrubs with tropical-looking magnificent flowers, which come in varied shades of pink, bright red, pastel orange, white, and yellow. They are easily recognizable with their funnel shape, large papery petals, and contrasting colorful centers, called eyes. Hibiscus can be both perennial and annual, depending on their growing zone and surrounding temperature. Like most flowers, hibiscus also opens for a day and closes as the sun sets.

With over 200 species, hibiscus can be classified into three categories based on their growing habits; tropical, hardy, and rose of Sharon. Besides this, there are some native ones too, like the rose mallow.

Most Common Types of Hibiscus and Their Varieties

A. Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Tropical Hibiscus

Commonly known as Chinese hibiscus, these sun-loving shrubs bloom in yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, lavender, white, and bi color shades. Being tropical, they don’t prefer temperatures below 50°F. So, if you belong to cold climate zones, consider them as annuals or bring them indoors for the winter and treat them as houseplants. Tropical hibiscus bears deep green glossy foliage that protects it from the intense heat of the tropics. Generally, it’s hard to care for them as they require constant moisture to keep blooming throughout the year.

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 9-12

Here are some popular tropical hibiscus varieties:

1. ‘Painted Lady’

Painted Lady

This classic tropical beauty showcases huge, eight-inch scarlet red to dark blossoms, with white striated petals surrounding a deep red eye. Its large green scalloped-edged leaves are an added beauty. This vigorous grower takes an upright, rounded form with dense foliage. It will grace the patio if planted in containers, or add a splash of red to borders as well.

Flower Colors: Scarlet red

Blooming Season: Spring, summer, fall

Height/Width: 6-8 feet/4-6 feet

2. ‘El Capitolio’

El Capitolio

Originally from Cuba, this classic cultivar is a surprising gift by Mother Nature. Its four to five-inch flower opens up with ruffled petals, and the characteristic long staminal column. But what sets it apart is its large, showy stamens. The ends of the stamens develop petals on the end of the column, giving not one but two flowers in a single bloom. Delicate white splashes from the eye add to its unique charm. Also called ‘poodle flower’, this vigorous grower makes a stunning accent plant. It can be planted in mixed borders, or grown as a hedge.

Flower Colors: Bright red, orange, pink

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 6-8 feet/4-5 feet

3. ‘Hawaiian Sunset’

Hawaiian Sunset

A dazzling orange beauty, displaying vivid, bright red eye with golden sunset-yellow at the edge of its six to eight-inch petals. Occasional white streaks add texture to this exquisite blossom. This easy-to-grow cultivar works great for hedges and mass plantings, as an accent, or as a potted plant for the porch or patio.

Flower Colors: Orange

Blooming Season: Summer to fall

Height/Width: 4-6 feet/ 4-6 feet

4. ‘Eye of Kali’

Eye of Kali

Bred by Dupont Nurseries in 2009, ‘Eye of Kali’ is part of their Cajun series. It is a compact tropical hibiscus with exotic yellow, pink, and red flowers with a large, bright red eye ringed in pink, giving a tropical punch to the garden. The large five crinkled orangey-yellow petals fan out to almost four inches. The incredible feature of this one is the distinctive pink and red eye in the flower’s center from where the showy yellow stamen sticks out. Although this tropical shrub can be grown in the ground, it grows best in containers as a balcony or patio plant.

Flower Colors: Yellow, pink, red

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 4-6 feet/4-6 feet

5. ‘Black Dragon’

Black Dragon

This exquisite beauty will surely add drama and flair to tropical garden with its deep burgundy-toned, eight to ten-inch flowers. The petals are painted white at the edges. Its blossoms also have a white swirling central eye, creating an amazing contrast with the deep burgundy hue, which looks almost black. The blooms are darker in midsummer and fade to reddish hues as the temperature drops. However, it’s tricky to grow as it has been known to die suddenly from stresses such as over or under-watering. This slow-growing shrub can be planted in containers or grown as a specimen.

Flower Colors: Deep burgundy

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 8-10 feet/3-5 feet

6. ‘Red Dragon’

Red Dragon

It has stunning orangey-red double flowers contrasting with the shiny evergreen foliage. This moderate to fast-growing variant showcases scarlet-red double flowers with ruffled petals. With its bold colors, this tropical hibiscus is an outstanding specimen for growing in tropical gardens as a specimen bush, foundation planting, or evergreen flowering hedge.

Flower Colors: Scarlet-red

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 6-8 feet/3-4 feet

7. ‘Fiesta’

Fiesta

This tropical hibiscus will bring a festivity to the garden with its vibrant, fiery orange blooms, having crinkled edges, which are margined with golden-yellow. The bright red eye fades to a pink halo, giving it a beautiful multi-colored appearance. The six to eight-inch blooms last up to three days, and are framed by bright green, shiny foliage. It can be planted in containers or borders for a splash of tropical sunshine in the backyard.

Flower Colors: Orange

Blooming Season: Primarily summer, but nearly throughout the year in mild climates

Height/Width: 6-8 feet/4-6 feet

8. ‘Brilliant’

Brilliant

The evergreen cultivar showcases bright, cardinal-red flowers with five large, ruffled petals that bend backward, opening up to 6 inches. The funnel-like hibiscus flowers have long conspicuous red and yellow stamens protruding from the center. With proper care, this continues to flower throughout the year.

Flower Colors: Cardinal-red

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 8-10 feet/4-5 feet

9. ‘Simple Pleasures’

Simple Pleasures

This traditional variation has nine to ten-inch blooms with bright red eyes. However, moving towards the tip of the petal, it turns pink, and the ends have a vibrant yellow tint. The staminal column in the middle of the petals is bright yellow, just like the outer edge of the petals.

Flower Colors: Pink, red-orange, bright yellow

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 4-6 feet/4-6 feet

10. ‘Palm Springs’

Palm Springs

This variety of tropical hibiscus produces six to eight-inch blooms. The outer edges of the petals have a vibrant shade of deep yellow. It also has a  bright orange eye that looks almost star-shaped from a distance.

Flower Colors: Red, bright yellow

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 4-6 feet/4-6 feet

11. ‘Bedazzled‘

Bedazzled

This tropical one is a hybrid between ‘Tis Huge’ and ‘Standing Ovation’. It is a double hibiscus, sporting incredible ruffled flowers that sport deep orange and red hues in the summer sun, without losing their color even in the heat. The six to eight-inch breathtaking blooms stand out amongst the dark green foliage of the plant. This broadleaf evergreen one is perfect for an annual hedge planting, with seasonal and showy flowers attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Flower Colors: Orange, red

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height/Width: 4-10 feet

12. ‘Mango Liqueur’

Mango Liqueur

With wide, ruffly-petaled, 6-8 inch blooms that mature into gold and orange hues, this hybrid is indeed reminiscent of a fruity drink. It is bred by crossing ‘Muffin Man’ and ‘Crème de Cacao’, and is mainly used as floral decor in parties and weddings. This fun hibiscus is an excellent addition to the garden landscape.

Flower Colors: Orange

Blooming Season: Throughout the year

Height: 10-12 feet

13. ‘Tricolor’

Tricolor

This evergreen tropical hibiscus features bold red round flowers with dark red eyes and buttery yellow anthers at the ends of the branches. Apart from flowers, another attraction is its beautiful variegated leaves in green, white, and pink shades. The glossy pointy leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. It makes an ideal hedge, screen, or background planting.

Flower Colors: Red

Blooming Season: Midsummer to early fall

Height/Width: 2-3 feet/2-3 feet

14. ‘Panama Red’

Panama Red

This compact, tropical, herbaceous, perennial is primarily planted for its striking, burgundy-red, deep-cut foliage that resembles the leaves of Japanese maple. The leaves retain the carmine-red color even through the hottest days. It often produces bright-red, funnel-shaped flowers, making it ideal for planting in borders.

Flower Colors: Red

Blooming Season: Late summer to early fall

Height/Width: 3-4 feet/1-2 feet

B. Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

Hardy Hibiscus

As the name suggests, it is a cold-hardy, sun-loving perennial that survives low temperatures, as below as -20°F. Unlike the tropical, hardy hibiscus dies back to the ground every winter and comes back from the roots in late spring. They are known for their huge, dinner-plate-sized blooms, which are up to 10 inches or more, and primarily in red, pink, and white shades. Also known as perennial hibiscus, these can live throughout the winter. Typically, the plant is pruned before winter, and the new growth forms from the existing root system. These low-maintenance ones do well in alkaline to neutral, moist, well-drained soil.

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun

USDA Zone: 5-9

Some common hardy hibiscus varieties are listed below:

1. ‘Berry Awesome’

Berry Awesome

It is part of the Summerific® Series, trademarked and owned by Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Michigan. This exquisite variety showcases huge, slightly ruffled deep magenta-pink blooms, a crimson eye, and a yellow fuzzy stamen. It is also known as the ‘dinner plate hibiscus’ due to its massive disc-like flowers, opening up to 7-8 inches. Foliage on this small shrub is maple-like, dark green leaves. This fast-growing, perennial variety forms dense, compact shrubs, providing a dash of color to the garden. It is the hardiest of the lot, requiring very little attention in winter. However, it again pops back in late spring, adorning the garden with its ‘berry awesome’ness.

Flower Colors: Deep magenta-pink

Blooming Season: Mid-summer until fall

Height/Width: 3-4 feet/4-5 feet

2. ‘Blush’

Blush

This absolute show-stopper is a part of the Head Over Heels® series from hybridizers at the University of Georgia. This patented cultivar is formally known as ‘RutHib1’, after its producer John Ruter. The fast-growing, cold-hardy, herbaceous perennial produces big pale-pink blooms with bold crimson centers that pop against deep burgundy foliage. The flowers are six to ten inches in diameter when fully open. Its foliage dies in winter, returning in late spring.

Flower Colors: Pale-pink

Blooming Season: Early summer to fall

Height/Width: 2-3 feet/3-4 feet

3. ‘Cranberry Crush’

Cranberry Crush

Another stunner of the Summerific® series from Walters Gardens is a prolific bloomer, producing vivid red blooms. It is an indeterminate variety, which means it produces flowers all along the stems, not just at the tips. Its bright red flowers are slightly cupped, with overlapping ruffled edges. The blooms emerge from almost black buds, extending up to seven to eight inches. With a mounding, compact form, this variety features bright green foliage with purple veining.

Flower Colors: Bright red

Blooming Season: Midsummer to fall

Height/Width: 3-4 feet/4-5 feet

4. ‘Lord Baltimore’

Lord Baltimore

This hybrid variety was bred by Robert Darby in 1955, and named after Benedict Leonard Calvert, the 4th Baron Baltimore, who famously served as Governor of Maryland from 1684 to 1688. It is known for its expansive blooms, reaching up to 8-10 inches in diameter. This hardy hibiscus plant features bright red blooms, with slightly overlapping ruffled-edge petals and a tiny white eye.

Flower Colors: Bright red

Blooming Season: Mid-summer to early fall

Height/Width: 4-5 feet/2-3 feet

5. ‘Passion’

Passion

Another member of the Head Over Heels® series, displaying enormous, bright pink blooms. It’s also called ‘RutHib2’, after its breeder John Ruter. These attractive, pink, six to eight-inch flowers with a gorgeous deep red eye emerge from bright green buds. Apart from the flowers, its deep wine-red foliage is an added beauty to this one. It becomes dormant in winter and reappears in spring.

Flower Colors: Bright pink

Blooming Season: Summer, late fall

Height/Width: 2-3 feet/3-4 feet

6. ‘Luna Red’

Luna Red

Belonging to the ‘Luna’ series, this hibiscus strain is a showy one, featuring large, pinkish-red, six to eight-inch flowers with overlapping petals. It also has a contrasting yellowish-white stamen and a slightly darker red eye. It can be planted in large containers, borders, or as a specimen plant in the garden. The plant can be protected from frosty winter by cutting back the stems after the foliage dies. It will return to its full vigor as the spring starts. Being a type of swamp rose mallow, it can also be planted near ponds or streams.

Flower Colors: Pinkish red

Blooming Season: Midsummer until late fall

Height/Width: 2-3 feet/1-2 feet

7. ‘Luna White’

Luna White

Another dazzling beauty from the ‘Luna’ series, sporting delicate, creamy white blooms, with a dark, blood-red eye of six to eight inches. The flowers pair well with other members of this series for a uniform shape, as part of a small hedge, or in sunny borders. Its soil can be covered with mulch or frost covers during winters to protect it from cold. So, once established, this drought-tolerant one will die back over winter, reappearing in late spring to grace the garden with its spectacular, large blooms.

Flower Colors: Creamy white

Blooming Season: Mid-summer to mid-fall

Height/Width: 2-3 feet/1-2 feet

8. ‘Starry Starry Night’

Starry Starry Night Hibiscus

Besides flowers, the main attraction of this variant is its deep inky purple, almost black foliage that makes a dramatic addition to any border. Its eight-inch, pale pink flowers emerge from bright green buds, beautifying the garden. With five pale pink petals and light purple veins, which softly fade along a gradient of light pink to darker pink and bright red central eye, this one will surely mesmerize everyone and the hummingbirds. A location with full sun is essential for the dark foliage to develop. This magnificent cultivar was released by Walters Gardens in 2015. It creates a bold centerpiece in a border or container garden.

Flower Colors: Pale pink

Blooming Season: Midsummer to early frost

Height/Width: 3-4 feet/3-4 feet

9. ‘Airbrush Effect’

Airbrush Effect

This cold-hardy hibiscus exhibits delightful vibrant pink flowers that can grow up to 8 inches across, just like a dinner plate. Its beautiful pink petals with hints of white overlap each other to create large blooms, covering the shrub.

Flower Colors: Pink

Blooming Season: Mid-summer until the fall

Height/Width: 3-4 feet/3-4 feet

10. ‘Cherry Cheesecake’

Cherry Cheesecake

This hibiscus cultivar has spectacular white flowers with dramatic dark magenta veins radiating from a crimson red center, creating a raspberry whirl pattern. The large white and magenta saucer-like flowers contrast with the dark green foliage. It grows best in shrub borders, as a flowering hedge, or in containers.

Flower Colors: White

Blooming Season: Midsummer to fall

Height/Width: 4-5 feet/5-6 feet

11. ‘Blue River II’

Blue River II

It features dinner plate-sized, 5-petaled, hollyhock-like pure white blooms that grow up to six to ten inches across. The flowers are white with no eye and have a prominent tubular central staminal column. Its large, deep green leaves sometimes have a tinge of blue. It almost makes the garden glow at night.

Flower Colors: White

Blooming Season: Midsummer until early fall

Height/Width: 4-5 feet/2-3 feet

12. ‘Kopper King’

Kopper King

A hardy perennial that displays twelve-inch wide, hollyhock-like light pink flowers with red veining and a bright red eye. The leaves on this variation are distinctive copper-red, lobed, maple-like leaves, providing a striking backdrop to the huge, vibrant blooms. This vigorous, deciduous type has a compact, rounded form and blooms over a long season, making it a perfect addition to the shrub or perennial border.

Flower Colors: White

Blooming Season: Summer

Height/Width: 3-4 feet/3-4 feet

C. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon Hibiscus

These are hardy, sun-loving flowering, perennial shrubs that survive temperatures as cold as -20°F. They typically have smaller leaves and smaller flowers than their tropical counterparts. The blooms appear primarily in white, pink, purple, and red shades and can be single or double. Some varieties also have attractive foliage splashed with white. This fast-growing, low maintenance shrub with large trumpet-like flowers thrive well in alkaline to neutral, moist, well-drained soil.

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun

USDA Zone: 5-9

Here are some popular rose of Sharon varieties:

1. ‘Blue Chiffon’

Blue Chiffon

It belongs to the Chiffon® series, bred by Roderick Ian Woods in the UK. Also known as ‘Notwoodthree’, this beautiful cultivar results from a cross between several open-pollinated rose of Sharon cultivars. The pale violet-blue, four-inch blooms are semi-double, with five outer petals and a lacy center, giving it a frivolous appearance. Its stamen remains covered by its inner petals with a reddish-purple eye, just peeping out behind them.

Flower Colors: Pale violet blue

Blooming Season: Midsummer to fall

Height/Width: 8-12 feet/4-6 feet

2. ‘Oiseau Bleu’

Oiseau Bleu

Also known as the ‘Blue Bird’ rose of Sharon, this cultivar displays relatively small, lilac or purple, trumpet-shaped or funnel-shaped flowers. It has stunning flowers with contrasting dark burgundy veins and a dark cherry red center with a conical white stamen. The attractive leafy foliage with its blue flowers is ideal as a deciduous hedge, or foundation planting.

Flower Colors: Lilac or purple

Blooming Season: Midsummer until the first frost

Height/Width: 6-8 feet/5-6 feet

3. ‘Luna Pink Swirl’

Luna Pink Swirl

Noted for its huge blooms, adorned with attractive pink-white swirls and a raspberry-red eye, this hardy perennial is undoubtedly a showstopper. The creamy-white stamens protrude from the petals, providing a beautiful contrast with the red center. It is loved among gardeners due to its regrowth ability. First, it grows into a medium-sized bush and continues to flower until the first frost, after which it spontaneously regrows in the spring from the existing root system.

Flower Colors: Pink, white

Blooming Season: Mid to late summer

Height/Width: 2-3 feet/2-3 feet

Wish to explore more about these magnificent beauties and its types? Check our rose of Sharon varieties.

How to tell if a hibiscus is hardy or tropical

  • A quick way to tell if a hibiscus is hardy or tropical is by looking at its leaves. In general, tropical hibiscus leaves are dark green and glossy. In contrast, those on the hardy hibiscus are medium green and heart-shaped.
  • Also, tropical hibiscus is evergreen; it keeps its leaves year-round. On the other hand, the hardy hibiscus type is deciduous; i.e., it shed its leaves in winter.
  • If the height of the two is compared, it can be seen that the tropical one is shorter than the other. A tropical hibiscus typically grows 4-10 feet in height and 5-8 feet in width, whereas a hardy hibiscus maybe 15 feet tall and spread up to 4-8 feet.

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus)

Swamp Rose Mallow

It is a showy, herbaceous perennial, displaying large, hollyhock-like flowers, opening up to six to ten inches across. The blooms have five overlapping pink or white petals, with a contrasting reddish-purple center, from where the yellow stamen emerges. The magnificent flowers open during the day and close at night. Though each bloom lasts about 1-2 days, new flowers are produced every day during the blooming period. The showy flowers attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Besides these gorgeous blooms, the plant is also grown for its graceful, velvety, heart-shaped, gray-green foliage. As the name implies, this southeastern U.S. native is confined to swamps, marshes, and ditches. For optimum growth, it should be planted in organically rich, acidic to neutral, well-drained soil.

Flower Colors: White, pink

Blooming Season: Spring, summer

Height/Width: 6-15 feet/2-4 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 8-11

Scarlet Rosemallow (Hibiscus coccineus)

Scarlet Rosemallow

Also known as Texas star, this woody upright perennial variety is noted for its bright, crimson-red blossoms, growing to 3-5 inches. These eye-catching flowers are adorned with creamy-white to pale yellow stamina columns, protruding from the center. It sports shiny, palmately divided, deep green foliage, making the plant worth growing. This deer-resistant one can be planted in borders for dramatic summer blooms. Like the previous variety, it is also native to the southeastern U.S.

Flower Colors: Scarlet-red

Blooming Season: Midsummer to early fall

Height/Width: 3-6 feet/2-3 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 6-13

Rock Hibiscus (Hibiscus denudatus)

Rock Hibiscus

Native to Mexico and the U.S., this shrub grows along rock surfaces and can even thrive in washes and on steep hillsides. Its branches are relatively thin and twig-like, bearing oblong, yellowish-green, fine-toothed leaves at alternate intervals. Its stems and leaves are evenly covered by short, stellate (star-shaped), whitish hairs. The large, showy, bowl-shaped flowers are produced singly from the tip of the stem. The broad, thin pink, lavender, or white petals are up to one inch long. The petals overlap each other, resembling the petals of a rose. The flower center has a cluster of short stamens, with slender pink filaments and pinkish-red anthers. The plant can bloom any time between late winter and early fall, but the peak time is in the spring.

Flower Colors: Pink, purple

Blooming Season: late winter, early fall, spring

Height: 2-3 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun

USDA Zone: 9-11

Flower of an Hour (Hibiscus trionum)

Flower of an Hour

Native to Europe, this annual variety blooms only for a few hours, thus getting the name. This hibiscus plant flowers from early June through October, with big white and pale yellow blooms centered with dark purple hues. It has long-stalked, palmately divided, coarsely-toothed, dark green, succulent leaves, growing up to 3 inches. The deer-tolerant, low maintenance plant can thrive well in slightly acidic to alkaline, well-drained soil. It will grace the garden bed, borders and can be kept in containers too.

Flower Colors: White

Blooming Season: Midsummer to early fall

Height/Width: 1-2 feet/1-2 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun

USDA Zone: 2-11

Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis)

Confederate Rose

Also known as Dixie rose mallow, cotton rose, or cotton rosemallow, this fast-growing shrub blooms profusely during the blooming period. It glorifies the garden with its single or double, 4-6 inch wide pink and white blossoms. In the morning, the flowers emerge white or pink, which drastically changes to hot pink or red as the day progresses. This low-maintenance plant prefers well-drained, alkaline to neutral, loamy soil. The deer-resistant variant will add a charm to the garden as borders or foundation planting.

Flower Colors: Pink, white

Blooming Season: Summer to fall

Height/Width: 6-15 feet/6-10 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 7-11

Yellow Hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei)

Yellow Hibiscus

Commonly known as Ma’o hau hele, it is the state flower of Hawaii. The plant boasts large, yellow blooms up to 4-6 inches across with protruding yellow staminal column. The blossoms usually display a red or maroon eye, creating a striking contrast with the yellow petals. Endemic to Hawaii, it is native to dry forests and shrublands at an altitude of 400 to 2600 feet. All three subspecies of this one are listed as endangered. For optimum growth, plant it in organically rich, well-drained soil. It is excellent as a specimen plant or a hedge.

Flower Colors: Yellow

Blooming Season: Spring, winter

Height/Width: 3-15 feet/8-15 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 9-11

FAQs

Q.1. Do hummingbirds like hibiscus?

Ans. Yes, hummingbirds like hibiscus, as it is rich in nectar.

Q.2. What type of hibiscus makes tea?

Ans. Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is most commonly used to make hibiscus tea.

Q.4. Are all types of hibiscus edible?

Ans. Every variety of hibiscus is not edible. Some commonly used edible hibiscus are Roselle, Cranberry hibiscus, and Chinese hibiscus.

Q.5. Are hibiscus poisonous to dogs and cats?

Ans. Though most of the hibiscus is non-toxic for pets, the Rose of Sharon variety can be poisonous to dogs and cats. If ingested, it may cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

by | Updated : January 12, 2022



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