Thursday, November 18, 2010
Swamp Pink Hibiscus - Hibiscus grandiflorus
Swamp pink hibiscus (Hibiscus grandiflorus) is the perfect counterpart to scarlet hibiscus (H. coccineus) described previously. Both occur in much of the same locations (brackish and freshwater wetlands in sunny areas), both are deciduous perennials that eventually reach 6-8 feet in height, and both produce spectacularly large saucer-shaped flowers. Those of swamp pink hibiscus are a soft pink in color and may be even a few inches larger.
This species occurs throughout Florida, but is confined to the southern tier of states in the Southeast adjacent to us. It grows and blooms much the same as scarlet hibiscus, but its foliage is silvery green in color and each leaf is deltoid in shape, with noticeable teeth along the margins. This makes it an interesting foliage plant during times it is not in bloom.
Like scarlet hibiscus, swamp pink hibiscus is best used in expansive landscape settings where its large size is not a problem. I believe it looks best used along the edges of ponds and streams, planted in wet soil that may be inundated by 12 inches of water during most months. Because each plant will produce multiple stems, plant them no closer than 1 foot apart. Mix it with scarlet hibiscus - or other native wetland hibiscus species, native yellow canna, iris, pickerelweed, and the like.
For some reason, swamp pink hibiscus is not as widely propagated as scarlet hibiscus and it may take some looking to find a source for this beautiful plant. It is well worth the time, if you have the right spot to grow it.