The Tree Center

FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER $199

Helene Hardy Hibiscus

Hibiscus syriacus ‘Helene’

How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

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Helene Hardy Hibiscus amazes with its white blooms and their rich-red feathered centers. It blooms continuously from mid-summer to the first hard frost, and this vase-shaped deciduous shrub has attractive deep green leaves. It grows between 4 and 8 feet tall, depending on your zone, and it is a wonderful way to bring late flowers into your garden – when other plants have already finished blooming. Use it in beds, as a screen, or in pots and planters.

  • Dramatic semi-double blooms are white with a red center
  • Long blooming season from summer to frost
  • Vase-shaped form for beds and screening
  • Compact shrub ideal for tubs and planters
  • Tough and resistant to drought and heat

Grow the Helene Hardy Hibiscus in full sun, or with an hour or two of shade each day. It thrives in any well-drained soil, and once established it tolerates drought and heat with ease. Avoid wet ground and fertilize in spring for the best results. Pests and diseases are normally absent, and deer usually leave it alone. Spring pruning will encourage plenty of flowers and keep your bushes compact and tidy.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 3-8
Mature Height 4-8
Soil Conditions Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun to Partial Shade
Drought Tolerance Good Drought Tolerance
Zones 5-9

The hardy hibiscus, or rose of Sharon, was an incredibly popular plant 150 years ago, but it has not been planted much until recent years. Now this heirloom shrub is having a comeback – and no wonder. Some newer varieties, like the Helene Hardy Hibiscus, overcome problems older varieties had, and for late summer and fall blooming, this is a plant that simply can’t be equaled. Blooming profusely and continuously from as early as June in some regions, and right up to the first hard frost, you will love the bright, cheerful white blooms with their striking red centers. Perfect for hedges or specimens, and wonderful in tubs or pots, it will soak up the sun and tolerate drought and poor soil, while extending the season of blooming in your garden better than any other shrub available.

Growing Helene Hardy Hibiscus

Size and Appearance

Helene Hardy Hibiscus is a deciduous shrub with compact growth, growing to 4 or 5 feet in cooler areas, and up to 8 feet in warmer parts of the country. It has a similar spread, depending in part on how it is trimmed. The stems push upwards from the base, making a vase-shaped plant. The branches have smooth gray bark with white markings on it, becoming rougher on older stems. The leaves are about 3 inches long, with a slightly leathery texture, and colored dark green. In late fall they turn yellow before dropping for the winter. The base of the leaf has a characteristic triangular shape, flaring out into three lobes at the end, with irregular serrated edges.

As early as June flowers can begin to open in zone 8, but later blooming – from late summer to the first hard frost – is more normal. The flowers are carried in profusion all along the new stems, with many buds in clusters, opening one flower after another. Each large bloom is 4-inches across, with ruffled overlapping petals spreading wide. In the center there are often additional slender, twisting petals, giving a rich, semi-double look to the bloom. The petals are white, with the softest pink flush, more noticeable in cooler weather. In the center of the flower is a long cluster of stamens, surrounded by a ‘eye’ of dark red which feathers out into the white of the petals – a very charming look everyone will admire. The plant has been bred so that it doesn’t create any seed, so no energy is wasted making seed pods, and all the energy of the plant goes into making more and more blooms right to the end of the season.

Using Helene Hardy Hibiscus in Your Garden

Grow Helene Hardy Hibiscus in your shrub beds for late color and interest after most of your shrubs finish blooming. Use it beside doors and entrances or grow it as a screen – it is neat enough to always look tidy with just a single spring trimming. This is an excellent plant for pots and tubs, to add interest to patios and terraces. It can be trimmed into a single-stem small tree or kept bushy. Pots can be overwintered outdoors, but in zones 5 and 6 it is best to bury the pot temporarily in the garden.

Hardiness

Helene Hardy Hibiscus is reliable outdoors from zone 5 to zone 9. It may have some winter damage in zone 5, but it flowers on new branches, so it quickly recovers in spring to bloom profusely on a slightly smaller plant.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Grow Helene Hardy Hibiscus in full sun for the best blooming and compact growth. It will also tolerate a couple of hours of shade a day. It grows in all kinds of soil, both acid and alkaline, and light sands to clays. It needs well-drained soil and it shouldn’t be planted in wet ground. Although regular moisture will give the best results, established plants are very drought resistant and tolerant of heat.

Maintenance and Pruning

Pests and diseases are normally not a problem with this tough plant, and deer usually leave it alone. It is best to prune annually, in early spring. In colder zones, or if you want smaller pot specimens, prune back to 2 or 3 buds on stems formed the previous year. In warmer areas prune about 12 inches from the younger branches and remove one-third of the oldest branches to encourage new stems to form from the base.

History and Origin of Helene Hardy Hibiscus

Also called Rose of Sharon, the hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, is related to the hibiscus of tropical areas. It has been grown in Europe since the 16th century at least, having come there from Syria. However. its native lands are actually India and China, and it probably spread west along the Silk Route. Dr. Donald Egolf was a plant breeder with the U.S. Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. He produced many valuable garden plants, and in the 1960s and 70s he worked on improving the hardy hibiscus. His goal was new colors, but also to prevent seeding, so that plants would bloom as long as possible. He changed the number of chromosomes in some plants using a material called colchicine and created seedlings with 3 pairs of chromosomes. These tetraploid plants cannot form seed. Numerous existing varieties were used, and among the seedlings were some great new plants. The variety called ‘Helene’ was selected for its compact form and striking flowers. The breeding was done in 1971, and after trials and testing ‘Helene’ was released in 1980.

Buying Helene Hardy Hibiscus at The Tree Center

When it comes to continuous flowering, the Helene Hardy Hibiscus is at the top of every list. Add blooms to the end of the gardening season and watch your bush bloom among the falling leaves – a real treat. But order right away, as this plant is very popular, and sells out fast.

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Helene Hardy Hibiscus

Hibiscus syriacus ‘Helene’