Minerva Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘Minerva’
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘Minerva’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Minerva Hardy Hibiscus is the answer when you want fall blooms in your garden. It produces very large flowers with an elegant, ruffled look. They are lilac-pink, with a deep red central eye, and they are produced in profusion from midsummer until the first hard frost. This compact bush, with its deep-green leathery leaves, is perfect for all your garden beds, or for growing in pots and planters. You simply won’t believe a plant can make so many blossoms, but it’s true, even in drought and harsh city conditions.
Plant your Minerva Hardy Hibiscus bushes in full sun, or a little partial shade, in any well-drained soil. This fast-growing shrub is tolerant of heat and drought, thriving where other flowering plants fail. Pests, diseases and even deer don’t bother it, and all it needs for perfect growth is a simple pruning in spring. An occasional deep watering in summer will keep it vigorous and constantly in bloom.
The secret to a great garden is to always have something blooming. That’s easy in spring and early summer, but many gardens turn green after that, at least until fall arrives with its glorious leaves. Hardy hibiscus are wonderful shrubs for late blooming, that will bring any garden alive right up to the first hard frost. With its large colorful blooms Minerva Hardy Hibiscus is not just beautiful, it is easy to grow, and it thrives in sun and heat. It’s drought resistant too, and it grows even in poor soil. It’s hard to believe something this beautiful is so easy, but it’s true. These plants used to be very widely grown, but they fell out of favor for a while. Today’s gardeners are re-discovering these heirloom beauties. You should too – it will soon be the #1 favorite shrub in your garden.
Minerva Hardy Hibiscus is an upright deciduous shrub growing around 6 feet tall, or a little taller, depending where you live. This fast-growing bush will reach that size in only a few years, and even newly-planted bushes bloom prolifically, so you will soon be enjoying its outstanding beauty. The long stems sprout from the base, making a full and bushy plant, or you can prune it up into a tree-form. The leaves are slightly leathery and deep green, turning yellow in fall. They are about 3 inches long, with a triangular tapering base, and 3 distinct lobes at the end, edges with irregular serrations. This glossy foliage looks great in spring, even before the blooms begin.
As early as June in warm areas, but more often in late summer, the first blooms open. There are clusters of buds all along the stems, and they open one after the other, keeping this bush blooming right through fall and all the way to the first hard frost. The flowers are about 4 inches across, like wide-open trumpets, and the petals are a wonderful shade of lavender. In the center is a dark-red spot, and this spreads a soft haze of pink over the lower parts of the petals. The outside of the petals is pink. Right in the center of the bloom is a prominent column of white stamens. These exotic blooms really are gorgeous, and you will love how they keep on coming and coming. This variety has been especially bred to make no seeds. That way the energy of the plant is concentrated on blooms, and it isn’t diverted into seed production, as happens in many older varieties, which often stop flowering by early fall. This lack of seeds is the secret to the amazing abundance of blooms that never stop coming.
For late blooms anywhere in your garden, Minerva Hardy Hibiscus can’t be beaten. It is ideal for the back of smaller shrub beds, or in the middle part of larger ones. Grow it as an accent at the corners of beds, or as a flowering hedge. In warmer zones it makes an excellent pot plant – perfect on a terrace or patio, and even on a balcony – yes, you don’t need a garden at all to grow this great shrub.
Hardy hibiscus is not called ‘hardy’ for nothing. Although there may be some winter damage in zone 5, Minerva Hardy Hibiscus will bounce back in spring, and since it blooms on new stems flowering won’t be affected at all. It loves heat, so you can grow it in the hottest zones, and it thrives in humidity too.
Plant your Minerva Hardy Hibiscus in full sun for the best blooming, but it will tolerate a few hours of shade each day if it has to. It thrives in any well-drained soil, both acid and alkaline, and in clay too. Richer soils give the best growth, but drainage is important, and once established it is drought resistant.
Water new plants regularly, and in summer established plants benefit from a deep soaking every couple of weeks. In sandy soils some mulch over the roots is beneficial too. Pests and diseases don’t normally bother Minerva Hardy Hibiscus, and deer usually leave it alone. We suggest an annual pruning in spring, for the best results. If you want the largest possible flowers, on a smaller bush, such as in a pot, you can prune back the stems from the previous year to just 2 or 3 buds. For larger garden plants leave about 12 inches of the previous year’s growth. Remove some of the oldest stems at the base at the same time, to open space for new flowering shoots to develop.
The hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, has been grown in gardens for longer than most other plants. It was first grown in Europe in the 16th century, arriving from Syria, where in turn it had arrived along the ancient Silk Route from China, its homeland. With our hotter summers and drier fall, it grows better here than in Europe, and it was more popular in the 19th century than roses. You will also find it grown with the names Rose of Sharon, and also as Althea. We thank the famous plant breeder Dr Donald Egolf for the variety called ‘Minerva’. He worked for many years at the Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit of the US National Arboretum, D.C. In the 1970s he crossed together several different older varieties and used breeding techniques that create plants that won’t make seeds. This means they keep on blooming and blooming. He selected his most beautiful seedlings, and ‘Minerva’ was released in 1986.
We love the big, flamboyant blooms of Minerva Hardy Hibiscus, and we know you will too. With so much to offer, this gorgeous plant is loved by everyone, so it sells out fast. We can’t keep up with the demand, and our stock will be gone soon, so order now. A garden of care-free fall blooming is just a click away.