Danica™ Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘Variegata’
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘Variegata’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Danica Hardy Hibiscus is a wonderful late-blooming shrub for hot, dry places, even in urban conditions and tough new gardens. It blooms profusely from summer all through fall, and the wonderful blooms are so beautiful and unique. Each one is a big ball of ruffled petals in shading tones of pink, tipped with bright red as if it has been dipped in a pot of red ink. The foliage is glossy and dark green, more reliable than most other varieties. This shrub reaches 6 to 10 feet tall within a few years, making it great for new gardens, filling corners of your garden, as a lawn specimen, an informal screen, or in a big tub or planter.
Grow the Danica Hardy Hibiscus in full sun, or perhaps a little partial shade, in any and all well-drained soils. Once established it loves heat, and tolerates drought. Pests, diseases and deer normally leave it alone, and it grows well where other shrubs fail. Some spring pruning will control the size, if needed, and a deep watering during long dry spells will keep it going strong.
If you like easy gardening with lots of blooms month after month, then the Hardy Hibiscus is your friend. These great shrubs just can’t stop blooming, and the best varieties have magnificent blooms. For something truly unique and beautiful, we recommend you grow the Danica™ Hardy Hibiscus. The unique blooms of this bush are pale pink, but tipped in red, looking like they have been dipped in red ink. Most hardy hibiscus have darker colors in the center, so having them at the ends of the petals is pretty unique. Plus this is an exceptionally tough and reliable variety of hardy hibiscus, guaranteed to keep rich green leaves all season, and not have them turn yellow, as so many varieties do. It’s perfect for a specimen out on a lawn, in your shrub beds, or for a striking informal hedge.
The Danica Hardy Hibiscus is a deciduous shrub that grows rapidly and vigorously into an upright, multi-stem bush 6 to 10 feet tall, and 4 to 8 feet wide. The larger sizes are usually seen when growing in hot zones. It can be grown as a rounded bush, or trimmed up to make a tree-like form. The glossy, dark-green leaves are smooth, with a slightly leathery texture. They are around 3 inches long, and divided into 3 lobes at the end, with irregular serrations around the edge.
When flowering begins depends a lot on where you live. In hotter areas, you will see the first blooms in June, but in most regions flowering begins later in the summer. Whenever it starts, new blooms open right into fall, even continuing while the leaves are turning yellow and falling. It can take the first frost to bring the blooms on this determined shrub to an end.
Each flower is an open ball of ruffled petals, up to 4 inches across. The outer petals are broader, while the inner ones are smaller and more ruffled and fluted. They are pale pink, shading to darker tones towards the ends, in irregular patterning. The tips of the petals are randomly touched with a bright deep red-pink, highlighting and emphasizing the beauty of this bloom. Flowers only last a day or two, but more and more buds just keep on being produced and opening, so blooming never stops. This variety produces few or no seeds, so the blooms simply wither and fall. Since no energy is taken making seeds, blooming is richer and more continuous than in other varieties. The abundance of blooms and the length of the season is simply amazing.
Many shrubs bloom in spring and early summer, so the Danica Hardy Hibiscus, with its late blooming into fall, is one every garden needs. Grow it at the back of your shrub beds, behind smaller shrubs, or plant it out on the lawn as a striking specimen shrub. Use it to fill the corners of your yard, or plant a row, spacing 4 feet apart, for a great flowering screen. It is a good choice for a new garden, and it can also be grown in a big tub or planter.
The name ‘hibiscus’ sounds tropical, but this one is called ‘hardy’, because it really is. It grows readily across the country, from zone 5 into all the hottest and driest areas. Even if there is some winter damage, this plant blooms on new growth, so flowering won’t be affected.
Although the Danica Hardy Hibiscus will tolerate a couple of hours of shade each day, it really prefers to be right out in the sun, and there it will give you its best. It grows in almost any kind of soil, from acid to alkaline, and from clay to sand. It’s especially good for alkaline soils, since this variety doesn’t yellow, but stays green and healthy. Of course the best growth will be in richer soils, so add some organic material. The only thing it needs is good drainage, and it won’t thrive in soils that are regularly wet. Once established it is amazingly drought resistant.
Watering when newly planted is always a good idea, and in very dry conditions the occasional deep soak with water works wonders. Pests or diseases are rarely problems. Some shrub fertilizer, especially on sandy soils, and a mulch over the roots in spring are useful, but not essential. Prune in spring to control the size. You can cut back growth from the previous year hard, just leaving 2 or 3 buds, to keep it smaller, or leave about 12 inches to develop a larger plant. On older plants take out a few of the oldest stems close to the base, to help your plant renew itself.
The hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, arrived in Europe from Syria in the 16th century, but it originally came from China, probably travelling along the famous Silk Road. It was incredibly popular in the 19th and early 20th century, especially in hot states. In those times it was usually called Rose of Sharon, or Althea.
The variety called ‘Variegata’ should not be confused with plants called ‘Variegatus’, which all have two-tone leaves in white and green. Gardeners in the state of Texas have always loved the hardy hibiscus, because it thrives in the heat there, and blooms like crazy. This variety was found by a nurseryman called Willis Gentry, who had a nursery in Laredo, Texas. He found it near, or even in, Mexico, probably in the 1970s. It could have been growing in a garden, or even as a wild escape, and certainly had a much earlier origin. Plants were passed down through different Texan nurseries, until a salesman for L.E. Cook Co, a wholesale nursery based in the San Joaquin Valley in central California, picked up a plant from Rainbow Gardens in San Antonio in 2005. Ron Ludekens at L.E. Cook trademarked the name Danica™, and introduced it in 2010, first selling plants in 2012.
It’s been a long road for this plant, from Texas to our farm, but we are thrilled to be able to offer you the Danica Hardy Hibiscus. You are going to love it, but order your plant(s) right away, because our stock is limited, so we won’t have them available for long – snap up this treasure right away.