Double Pink Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘Lady Stanley’
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘Lady Stanley’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus is perhaps the most delightful of all late-flowering shrubs. The charming semi-double flowers are near-white, with a glowing red heart that suffuses the petals with soft pink. Elegant twisted petals fill the center of the bloom. This deciduous shrub grows to about 10 feet if untrimmed, and it is smothered with blooms from mid-summer all through fall, bringing joy and beauty into your garden at a time when most other shrubs have finished blooming. Perfect in your beds or potted on a terrace.
Choose a sunny spot for your Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus. An hour or two of shade each day will have little effect but avoid heavy shade. Any well-drained soil is perfect, and once established this plant is resistant to heat and drought, thriving in hot areas. Occasional deep soaking is all it takes for it to thrive, and pests or diseases are normally never an issue. Deer avoid it and it shrugs of urban air pollution. A simple pruning in early spring will give the best results.
It is easy to have lots of color and blooms in your garden through spring and early summer. It’s a lot more difficult, but just as necessary, to have those blooms later in the year. For shady spots there is the hydrangea, a reliable and valuable shrub. For those sunny places it is more difficult – or it would be if we didn’t have hardy hibiscus. These great shrubs begin to bloom in the middle of summer, and they keep on going right up to the first hard frost. Wow! Beautiful blooms are still opening when the leaves are turning red and gold, keeping your garden interesting and as colorful as possible. Once more popular than roses, hardy hibiscus, also called Rose of Sharon, seemed to fall off the map for a while – but not any longer. Their popularity is soaring, and no wonder. Neat, upright, tough and easy to grow, they simply can’t be beaten when it comes to ease and beauty combined. Most have open trumpet-like flowers, but we are nuts about the Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus, because its bloom have classic charm, with a double center and colors of white, blood-red and pink.
The Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus is a bushy upright plant, growing as much as 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide, but easy to keep smaller, or to grow as a single-trunk tree. The branches thrust upwards, keeping this plant neat and non-sprawling. The 3-inch leaves are glossy and dark-green, with a leathery texture and a healthy look. They have a narrow, triangular base, spreading outwards into three distinct lobes, with a jagged and irregular edge. They hold their rich green color well, only turning yellow in late fall.
This plant blooms on new stems that form in spring, and on very short side shoots that can be seen on older stems. Clusters of buds develop by mid-summer, and flowering can begin as early as June, but later is more normal. All though late summer and fall your bush will bloom, right up to the first hard frost. Flowers last just a few days, but more and more keep on coming. The blossoms are spectacular and very beautiful. They are large – 3 or 4 inches in diameter – and the broad spreading petals have a background color of white. In the center of the bloom are additional slender, twisting petals creating a full heart, and below them, filling the bowl of the flower, is a blood-red spot, which bleeds up along the veins of each petal. It also spreads a suffuse pink across the white, making the heart of this flower distinctly pink, fading to pure white at the edges of the petals. This is truly a beautiful blossom, and carried so profusely, and for so long.
For a bold and colorful specimen, this bush cannot be beaten, especially at that time of year. Plant it as a lawn specimen or at the back of shrub beds. Grow it beside your door, or at an accent point in a bed. Plant a row to hide an unsightly fence, or to screen your garden. It is also a wonderful plant for a tub or box, where its blooms can be admired close-up on a terrace or patio.
Everywhere from zone 5 to zone 9 is suitable for the Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus. It thrives in hot zones. There can be some winter injury in zone 5, but simply trim back any dead branches and it will re-sprout, blooming profusely on a shorter bush.
Grow in full sun or a little partial shade. Plenty of sun gives the best results. Any well-drained soil is suitable, from sand to clay, and acid or alkaline. Only wetness is a potential problem. Enrich the soil before planting and use mulch, but once established this plant has good drought resistance.
Once established an occasional deep watering is all that it takes to keep the Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus happy. Since you don’t want to over-water, a good guide is to look at the leaves. If they are glossy and firm, everything is fine. If they start to turn dull, and feel a little soft, then now is the time for that long soaking. Pruning in spring is a good idea, especially in warmer zones. In planters, trim back to just 2 or 3 buds on the growth from the previous year. Plants in the garden should be trimmed back less, leaving about 12 inches of that growth. As well, remove about one-third of the oldest branches each year, cutting back close to the ground, preferably to an existing stem. Pests and diseases are usually rare, and deer leave this plant alone.
The hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, grows naturally in China and India, but it came to Europe long ago from Syria, where it was grown in gardens, having arrived along the Silk Route. It was certainly being grown in England by the end of the 16th century, and in 1794 Thomas Jefferson raised plants from seed to grow at Monticello.
The first mention of the variety called ‘Lady Stanley’ was in 1875, when it was listed in the catalogue of Barron’s Nurseries, near the town of Derby, in England. It is likely it was raised by them. The Lady Stanley being honored was probably Constance Stanley, the philanthropic wife of Frederic Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby, who later became Governor General to Canada and the creator of hockey’s Stanley Cup. This is the plant we know as the Double Pink Hardy Hibiscus.
The refined beauty of this plant makes it an incredibly popular choice whenever it is available – and the perfect gift for a hockey-loving gardener. Our stock is limited, and we know they will all soon be gone, so order now, because we never know when we will have this plant again.