Friday, September 05, 2014

The Hardy Hibiscus That Could

Five or more years ago, I found myself at a local nursery on Mother's Day. They had a nice selection of Hibiscus hardy to my Zone 8, and I began to swoon.

I had to have one.

It was cool and rainy, not at all yet into the warmth of summer, and the dream of hibiscus swirled all around my head. I had grown up with a giant red hibiscus on our back patio, and the blooms were the quintessential flowers to tuck behind your ear if you'd like to do a hula dance. Mahalo.

You would think I proudly carried that hibiscus home, dug a hole after finding the perfect spot, amended the soil, and planted it carefully. You would be wrong. It sat in its nursery pot on our back patio for two years. It appeared dead. I tried to not look at it. It was a sign of my gardening failure, I was sure of it. It shamed me every time I walked by it, but yet, I didn't trash it.

And then, after two years of looking dead as a doorknob, it showed growth at its base. Oh my god it was alive!

I finally planted it, in a full sun spot right in our front bed. It sat there, dying to the ground every winter, sending up stems in the summer, for two years. Never a bloom. Always a bridesmaid. It wasn't encroaching on anyone, and I let it do its own little thing for three or four years. Pretty leaves. Never big. Meh.

You know what's coming next, right? This year, it bloomed. And it didn't just do a little bloom, it produced massive, giant blooms, multiple times, for several weeks.

The blooms were as big as the plant itself. What a showstopper. It's amazing it didn't flop like those top heavy peonies. These hibiscus stems are strong, and hold their blooms up for all to see. "Pfffftttt to those peonies," I'm sure they say.

I don't know if the plant will get much larger. But I'm sure proud of what it did this year, and that I never gave up on it. Even after all of the neglect I put it through. I just needed to be patient.


Stephen said...

What a stunner!

Kathryn said...

Beautiful! I have multiple hibiscus in my garden and some of them are 5-feet tall. They're some of the best things about summer.

Rainy Day Gardener said...

Way to stick with it. Your reward is great..what a beautiful bloom!