Blueberry Smoothie™ Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘DS01BS’ (PP# 26,662)
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘DS01BS’ (PP# 26,662)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Blueberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus has truly spectacular blossoms in a rich true purple, a rare color for the garden, and even rarer in fall, when this beautiful shrub is in full bloom. Growing 6 to 8 feet tall, with a dense, bushy habit, this deciduous shrub begins to bloom in mid-summer, and keeps going continuously right up to the first hard frost. Bring vibrant color to your late summer and fall garden so easily, with a heat and sun tolerant plant you will love growing.
Full sun is best for the Blueberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus, but some partial shade is tolerated. Any well-drained soil will give you great results, and once established this plant is drought tolerant, and it loves to grow in heat and sunshine. Water deeply from time to time and use some shrub fertilizer in spring. Pests, diseases and deer are normally no problem and urban conditions are easily tolerated. Prune in spring for the best results.
There is something rich and magical about purple flowers. True purples that is, because many garden ‘purples’ are in fact burgundy or deep purple-reds. Just imagine if you could have a bush in your garden with huge frilly blooms in a true, rich purple color – not just a few, but in endless succession from midsummer right up to the first hard frost. You can enjoy exactly that, and not on a difficult plant with weak growth, but on a sturdy bush that is tough, reliable and grows well in hot, dry conditions. The Blueberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus is that bush – and the majestic tones of royal purple in its flamboyant and spectacular flowers really do need to be seen to be believed. Grow this plant on a terrace or patio, as a lawn specimen or of course out in your garden beds. It is perfect for tubs as well. Wherever you grow it you will find the blooms are like a magnet, drawing everyone to them – too beautiful to be true.
The Blueberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus is a vigorous upright bush with a broad habit, but upright branching, so it doesn’t flop and always looks neat. It has a natural dense structure, with strong upright branches and many side branches. It grows rapidly, soon reaching 6 feet tall or more. The leaves are a rich green, and glossy, with a smooth surface. They are 4 inches long and 3 inches wide on young stems, and a little smaller on mature branches. They have a crisp tapering base, with a broad end shaped into three distinct, rounded lobes. The edges are cut into irregular serrations. The rich green color holds well through hot weather, and only turns yellow in late fall.
Blooming starts as early as June in warmer states, and a little later in the north. It continues right into late fall, ending only with the first hard frost. This plant is sterile – it doesn’t produce any seeds. This means the flowers fall away neatly and all the bush’s energy goes into making more flowers, rather than into seed pods. The large blossoms are a full 4 inches across, and they are a rounded dome of many petals. The petals are ruffled, frilled and fluted like a ball gown, with a dense center of smaller petals. The color is gorgeous purple-blue, fading a little to a lighter tone at the edges of the petals. The quality and depth of this bloom is extraordinary.
This stunning bush is perfect for a specimen beside an entrance or growing in a large tub on a terrace. You can grow it in garden beds as a specimen, or out on a lawn. Its vintage feel is perfect for planting around an older home. In a tub it is outstanding, where its beauty and uniqueness can be appreciated close up.
The Blueberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus can be grown outdoors from zone 5 to zone 9. Any winter damage in zone 5 will quickly be replaced by new shoots which will bloom in their first year. In zones 5 and 6 plants in tubs should be buried in the ground or stored in a cold shed or garage for the winter months.
Full sun will give you the best results, but this plant will take an hour or two or shade for part of the day without problems. It grows well in all well-drained soils, from sands to clays, and acid or alkaline. Urban conditions are never a problem. Once established it is drought resistant, but occasional deep watering will give the best results.
This shrub certainly looks magnificent, but it needs only minimal care. Some shrub fertilizer in spring, or regularly when growing in a planter, is all it takes to get top results. Dead-heading is not needed since it doesn’t produce seed pods. Pests and diseases normally don’t cause problems, and deer leave it alone. Prune in spring, before the new shoots develop, for the best results. Trim back the stems from the previous year and remove some older branches low down to open space for new stems to develop. Cutting those stems back to 2 or 3 buds will give the largest flowers, but a smaller bush. This is useful for plants in tubs. In the garden cut back to leave up to 12 inches of growth from the previous year. It can be trained up into a tree-form as well.
Rose of Sharon, Althea, Hardy Hibiscus – the plant called Hibiscus syriacus has been grown in gardens for centuries. It was introduced into Europe before 1600, coming from Syria, where it had arrived at some distant time along the Silk Route from China. It was brought to America with the early settlers, and Thomas Jefferson planted it before 1800 at all his homes. In the 19th century it was more popular in the South than roses, as well as in Europe, where many new varieties were created, including forms with double flowers.
We don’t know the exact variety Don Shadow was growing at his nursery in Winchester, Tennessee in the summer of 2006. We do know that he spotted one plant in the row which stood out as different, with a dense, bushy habit and strong, uniform flower color in that gorgeous purple. He reproduced it and in 2009 he was granted a patent for his new plant, with the name ‘DS01BS’. This is the plant we know as Blueberry Smoothie™, released by the Greenleaf Nursery Company of Park Hill, Oklahoma.
Hardy Hibiscus are enjoying a big revival – today’s gardeners are learning what their predecessors knew – just how valuable these plants are in the fall garden. Join the revival with Blueberry Smoothie, but order your plants right away, because they will be gone very soon.