Hibiscus is that plant that we associate with the warm climes of tropical hotspots – think Hawaii and Malaysia. The genus ranges from small shrubs to tall trees, growing up to 12ft tall in its homeland of China. If you think that you could never grow a Hibiscus at home, especially in a small garden, you’d be wrong. Hardy Hibiscus varieties are ideal for cold environments, and will even produce those big, beautiful flowers to sweep you away to a long, lazy summer in the tropics.
There’s one hardy Hibiscus that stands out from the rest: Hibiscus Flower Tower Ruby… and here’s why.
How to grow Hibiscus Flower Tower Ruby:
Flowering time: July – October
Location: In beds and borders, as a hedge, or in patio or balcony pots
Soil: Moist and well-draining
Light: Full sun
Water: Heat and drought tolerant, but water regularly throughout the summer
Care: Prune back to columnar shape in March
Size: Mature height of 3m and width of 80cm
How was this plant created?
Van Aart Boomkwekerijen’s Hibiscus Flower Towers are normally sterile; however, when the plant thinks it is going to die or get sick, it can produce good seed. This is exactly what happened at a nursery called Gandini in Italy in 2012. The nursery specialises in seedlings, so after they found the seeds, they attempted to grow them.
In 2013, Mario & Adrienne van Aart visited the nursery, where they were shown the seedlings growing in the fields. Most were upright, and so the pair decided to take the plants back to Holland. They spent the next two years selecting the best plants, ending up with 15 in total. After that they took grafting of every plant to check whether it could be grafted well, how well it grows, and – last but not least – what is the flower like?
From the beginning, the ‘Ruby’ was the most beautiful, standing out amongst the rest. After rigorous testing, the plant became available to other growers. The whole process took around six to seven years!
What’s different about this plant?
Hibiscus Flower Tower Ruby grows in a narrow column, making it ideal for drawing the eye upwards in smaller gardens – especially courtyard gardens where the sky’s the limit! After around 10 years, the plant can reach 3m in height and 80cm in width.
It produces dark pink-red, half-filled flowers with red hearts, evocative of beautiful Hibiscus imagery from faraway, tropical lands! Expect continuous blooms from July to October, attracting hungry bees and butterflies to your garden.
Where can you plant Hibiscus Flower Tower Ruby?
This plant is hardy down to -25C, and is best suited to areas of full sun and a moist, well-draining soil.
Where can you buy this plant?
Coming soon to garden centres in the UK, and available by mail order in Europe from Loef Garden Plant Center.
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe.
See every Plant of the Month here.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.