Raspberry Smoothie™ Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘DS03RS’ (PP# 27,196)
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘DS03RS’ (PP# 27,196)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Raspberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus is smothered in gorgeous blooms from mid-summer to the first hard frost. The very large flowers have many petals filling the center of a bowl-shaped bloom. They are a delicious raspberry-red color, highlighted with many shades from light to dark. The clean, glossy, dark-green foliage is the perfect backdrop for them, and this upright, medium-sized dense shrub is perfect as a specimen in the garden or in tubs, or for growing out in your beds
The Raspberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus will bloom like crazy in full sun, and also tolerate a couple of hours of shade each day without problems. It grows in almost any soil, as long as it is well-drained. Pests, diseases and deer normally stay away from it, and it only takes a simple trim in early spring to keep it vigorous and neat. Drought resistant, it benefits from a deep soaking from time to time during the heat of summer.
We all love raspberries, almost as much for their amazing color as for their taste. It’s a great garden color too, standing out and catching the eye right across the garden. You can enjoy that color, and see blooms right up to frost, by growing the Raspberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus. This brilliant new variety has all the toughness you need, plus a long blooming season, and its bright purple-red flowers make a stunning contrast in the garden, especially in fall, with all those yellow leaves around. A bush in full bloom surrounded by the golden glow of fall is a wonderful sight indeed. Just like all hardy hibiscus – you might call them Rose of Sharon or Althea – it thrives in sun and heat, and makes a neat, compact bush. The flower is a unique double bloom with broad outer petals like a shallow bowl. You will love it in the garden or in a planter on your patio.
The Raspberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus is a deciduous shrub with strong upright growth, quickly growing into a medium-sized shrub 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 or 4 feet wide. It has many stems from the base, although it can be pruned up into a tree-form as well. It branches naturally to develop a dense structure. The leaves are about 3½ inches long, and 2½ inches wide, with a slightly leathery texture and a smooth, glossy surface. They flare out from the base into three distinct lobes, edged with jagged, irregular serrations. They are rich green, and that color is held well, even though hot and dry weather. They turn bright yellow in late fall.
Blooming begins early compared to many other varieties. It can be in June, or into July. Once it begins, blooming continues non-stop through summer and fall, often only coming to an end when hit by a hard frost. The flowers are sterile, which means this plant produces no seeds, so it doesn’t waste energy on seed-pods. Instead it just keeps making more and more blossoms. This keeps it blooming much longer than older varieties you might have grown before. The bloom is simply amazing. It is 4 to 5 inches across with a shallow bowl of broad petals forming a backing for a swirling center of slender, twisted petals that create the heart of the bloom. It looks nothing like the old trumpet flowers of hardy hibiscus, and it is different from many of the pom-pom doubles too. The color is also amazing – a rich, bright, clean purple-red, with many variations in shade across the petals, with light and dark shades bringing enormous depth and beauty to the flower. Flowers last 2 or 3 days and then drop, without any deadheading being needed.
With its vibrant coloring you will love to grow this bush as a striking lawn specimen. Grow it behind smaller shrubs, or in the middle of your beds in front of spring-flowering trees – it’s very useful for getting a succession of blooms from your garden beds. With its striking flowers it is also perfect beside a door or gate, or excellent growing in a tub or planter on a terrace or patio. Heck, you can even grow it on a balcony, with no garden at all.
This plant thrives in warmer zones, and it is hardy all the way into zone 5. There it may have some branches killed in winter, but don’t worry about that. It soon sends up vigorous new shoots, and they bloom profusely, as this plant always blooms on new shoots. In warmer zones it will grow very well, including places with hot summers.
Grow the Raspberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus in full sun for the best results and the most prolific flowering. If it does have a few hours of shade in the afternoon this usually has little effect. Avoid too much shade. This tough shrub grows well in almost all soils, as long as they are well-drained. Avoid wet, low-lying areas, especially in cooler zones. It grows in hot areas, and once established it has good drought resistance.
Established plants should have a deep soaking from time to time during the heat of summer. If the leaves turn yellow in summer it is often an indication of too much water, so cut back a little. Pests or diseases are rare, and deer usually leave it alone. In early spring a trimming will give good results. Shorten back last year’s stems to about 12 inches and remove about one-third of the oldest branches, opening the center to encourage new young branches. In pots trimming back to just 2 or 3 buds will encourage the largest flowers and keep your bush smaller for a smaller space. Don’t trim new stems at all in summer, as this will inhibit flowering.
Hibiscus syriacus, or the hardy hibiscus, is a relative of tropical hibiscus and of cotton and okra. It has been grown in gardens for centuries but grew wild in China and India. Plants traveled along the Silk Route to Syria, and from there it came to Europe before 1600. It was very popular in America in the 18th and 19th centuries but fell from interest last century. Today it has been revived, and wonderful new varieties keep arriving to charm and fascinate us.
Don Shadow has a nursery in Winchester, Tennessee, and he is a skilled breeder of hardy hibiscus. In the early part of this century he created a series of double-flowered varieties making up the Smoothie collection. The variety he called ‘DS03RS’ was found among seedlings he grew from some other varieties he had created. He selected it in 2007, and after trials he patented it in 2016. It has been released for our enjoyment with the name Raspberry Smoothie™, by the Greenleaf Nursery Company of Park Hill, Oklahoma.
We love all the Smoothie range, but the unique flower of the Raspberry Smoothie really wins everyone’s hearts. It looks good enough to eat, but if you want to grow it, order right away, because these plants are selling faster than ice-cream on a hot day.