Blue Angel™ Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘Greba’
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘Greba’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Blue Angel™ Hardy Hibiscus lives up to its name, with heavenly blue flowers even when young. This fast-growing deciduous shrub has blooms that resemble tropical hibiscus, but it is hardy, forming a bush around 5 or 6 feet tall, with dark-green glossy leaves. It begins to bloom in late summer and continues through fall until a hard frost. Grow it for late flowers in your beds, as a flowering hedge, or in pots and planters.
Full sun will give the best results with the Blue Angel™ Hardy Hibiscus, but it tolerates some partial shade as well. It grows in any well-drained soil, and once established it is drought resistant. It thrives in heat and humidity, deer ignore it, and pests or diseases are virtually unknown. A simple spring pruning is all the care it needs – what a great plant!
To add color to your fall garden, you could use flowers such as chrysanthemums and asters, but these take work and care. Or you could plant the hardy hibiscus, a tough plant with amazing exotic blooms in beautiful colors. These bushes flower from late summer right through the fall, with flowers similar to the tropical hibiscus. Blue is always a desirable and rare color in the garden, so when you combine the two, as the Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus does, you have a real winner. Gorgeous sky-blue flowers bring their freshness to a garden backdrop of gold and orange fall tones – what could be more beautiful than that?
The Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus is an upright deciduous shrub, with many branches rising from the base. It is fast-growing, and soon it will be 4 or 5 feet tall, reaching 8 feet if untrimmed. It will be about 5 feet wide, or a little more, and this is a more compact variety that some other types of hardy hibiscus. The leaves are about 3 inches long, carried all along the branches. Their tip is divided into 3 lobes, while the base is a slender triangle. The edges are irregularly jagged. They have a slightly leathery texture, and they are dark green, turning yellow in late fall.
Flowering begins in late summer, or as early as June in the warmest zones. It continues right through fall, and only a hard frost brings it to an end. The 4 to 5-inch diameter flowers are carried all along the stems. Clusters of many buds open one bloom after another – each one lasts a day or two – so that there are always blooms on the bush for weeks and weeks. The flowers are wide-open trumpets, with 5 broad petals. The color is a wonderful sky blue, and at the base of each petal is a large spot of dark red, with feathered edges, which create a rich red central heart to the flower. Some of that red spills over into the blue, flushing the throat of the bloom with pink. This gorgeous flower is completed by a prominent central column of white stamens, the pollen-carrying parts of the flower. When a flower dies it soon falls, so this plant is self-cleaning and remains attractive without needing dead-heading.
The Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus is an ideal shrub for your beds, and around your home, to bring late blooms into your garden. It can be grown in the background of smaller beds, or in the middle of larger ones, among spring and early summer shrubs. It makes a wonderful flowering screen, staying neat with just a single trim each year. It also makes a great shrub for pots and tubs, where it can decorate a patio, terrace or balcony.
The Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus is hardy from zone 5 to zone 9. It may suffer some winter damage in zone 5, but that is not important, as it blooms on new stems, and these grow quickly in spring, giving a full display of blooms later in the year.
A place in full sun will give you the best results when growing the Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus. It will tolerate a couple of hours of partial shade each day, but too much will reduce blooming. This plant thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil, but it is also remarkably drought resistant, and grows happily in hot, humid and dry places. It grows in all types of soil, and a deep soak from time to time will see it through the longest of droughts.
Ignored by deer and usually free of pests and diseases, the Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus also tolerated urban pollution and harsh conditions. Potted plants can be left outdoors in winter in zones 7, 8 and 9. In cooler zones it is best to overwinter the plant in a cold place like a shed or garage or bury the pot in the ground. A simple annual pruning is all it takes to look great and bloom profusely. If you want to encourage extra-large blooms, on a smaller bush, trim back in early spring to just 2 or 3 buds on the stems of the previous year. For general growing trim back to leave about 12 inches of last-year’s growth, and also remove up to one-third of older stems completely, low down, to encourage new growth to develop from the base.
The hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, is also called Rose of Sharon, and it has been grown in gardens for a very long time. It came to Europe from Syria, where it had arrived centuries before along the Silk Route from its natural home in China, India and Korea. Thomas Jefferson grew it at Monticello, and at all his other homes as well. From 1850 to early in the 20th century it was the most popular plant at nurseries in the South, and there were already many varieties available.
Blue was always a coveted color, and an early blue variety, called ‘Oiseau Bleu’, was developed in France. When it came to England and America it became ‘Blue Bird’. Dr. Sam McFadden was a horticulturist last century at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations in Gainesville. When he retired to Somerville, Tennessee he became interested in breeding Hibiscus. He raised some plants from seeds of ‘Blue Bird’, and in 2004, when the best one flowered, he used pollen from the white variety ‘Diana’ to pollinate it. Among the seedlings was one that flowered prolifically, even from an early age, with gorgeous sky-blue flowers. He named it ‘Greba’ and it was first distributed and increased through a network of amateur growers in San Antonio, Texas. In 2013 it was trademarked as Blue Angel™ by Greenleaf Nursery of El Campo, Texas.
Buying the Blue Angel™ Hardy Hibiscus at The Tree Center
The Blue Angel Hardy Hibiscus was the Texas Superstar Plant in 2018, so you can see just how outstanding this new variety is. Everyone wants to grow it, so supply is very limited. If you want it, order now, because they will all be gone very soon.