Strawberry Smoothie™ Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus ‘DS02SS’ (PPAF)
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘DS02SS’ (PPAF)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Strawberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus is an upright shrub reaching 6 to 8 feet tall. From mid-summer to the first hard frost it is smothered in huge double blooms of a delicious pink color. The attractive rich-green leaves are glossy and stay clean and fresh. Grow it as a specimen in a lawn or in a bed, or among early-flowering shrubs as a beautiful way to extend the blooming season. Grow it in a tub or planter box to bring long-lasting color to your terrace or patio.
A spot out in the sun will suit the Strawberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus best, but it will take some partial shade too. It is a reliable bloomer even in zone 5, and it grows best in well-drained soils of any kind. Avoid wet parts of your garden. Pests, diseases and deer don’t bother it, and it tolerates urban pollution and salt spray. A simple trim in spring is all it takes for perfect results, and it doesn’t even need dead-heading – they fall naturally.
You might think strawberries are for early summer, but you can enjoy the same beautiful coloring all the way through fall if you grow the beautiful Strawberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus in your garden. It has remarkable double flowers, of a tangy light pink, and deep in the center is a deep-red heart that runs along the veins and throws a darker tone over the base of the petals. Hardy hibiscus bushes were once seen in every garden, but they were displaced for a time by newer novelties. With the growth of interest in heirloom plants and the wish for plants that bloom for a long time, they are back again, big time. Some varieties are original classics, but there are some wonderful modern hybrids too, and the Strawberry Smoothie™ Hardy Hibiscus is one of those. In fact, it is fresh from the breeder, who is still waiting for his patent to be approved. He couldn’t wait to give everyone a chance to grow this fabulous plant in their gardens, so it has been rushed out – and no wonder. You will simply love its gorgeous colors and reliable, fast and vigorous growth.
The Strawberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus is a hardy deciduous shrub that grows rapidly into an upright bush that is over 6 feet tall and just 3 or 4 feet wide, with a full, slightly vase-shaped form. It naturally grows with branches down to the ground, but it can also be pruned and trained into a single stem or multi-stem small tree. The leaves are 3 to 4 inches long, with a slender base and wide, three-lobed tip. The edges are irregular serrations, and these leathery leaves are smooth, glossy and a rich, bright green that stays clean and fresh all summer. In fall they turn golden yellow.
Blooming starts early, often in June but certainly in July, and this is one of the longest blooming of any garden shrub. It will still be blooming away through fall, and it often takes a hard frost to stop it. Because it makes no seeds, all the energy of the plant goes into more and more flowers. The large blooms grow in clusters all along the stems, with a fresh flower in each cluster almost every day, and new clusters forming as the stems grow. Each bloom lasts 2 or 3 days, but they just keep on coming and coming. The beautiful flowers are a good 4 inches across, like a fluffy pom-pom, with many bright, fresh-pink petals. The center petals are slimmer, and at their base you will see, as the flower opens fully, a deep red splash, which runs up the veins a distance, and suffuses the petals with darker pink.
This versatile shrub can be grown as an eye-catching lawn specimen. It is perfect in any garden bed, at the back or in the middle with larger plants behind it. Grow it by your front gate to greet your visitors, or beside the front door. Make a flowering hedge or screen along a fence or driveway. Grow it in a large tub or planter box for a terrace, patio or balcony. Wherever you grow it you will love it.
All the way from zone 5 through zone 9 you can grow the Strawberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus. In zone 5 it may lose some stems to winter cold, but that doesn’t matter, because it soon re-sprouts and those new shoots bloom perfectly. It grows well in warmer zones – in fact, the hotter the better.
Grow the Strawberry Smoothie Hardy Hibiscus in full sun. It will also take a couple of hours of afternoon shade, especially in hot zones, but avoid very shady spots. It grows in any well-drained soil, from sand to clay and both acid and alkaline. It even grows in urban soils, tolerating urban air pollution and salt spray too. Avoid wet places, especially in cooler zones.
Despite its beauty, this shrub needs only a minimum of care. Pests and diseases are rare, and deer normally leave it alone. Use fertilizer in spring for plants in beds, and regularly through the season for container plants. Established plants are drought resistant, but they benefit from a deep soaking from time to time during the hottest and driest times. We recommend some spring pruning, just before the new leaves emerge. Shorten last-year’s stems back to 12 inches, removing the thinner and weaker tip part. Remove some of the oldest stems close to the ground, to encourage vigorous new replacements. For plants in pots you can leave just 2 or 3 buds, and this will give you the largest flowers, on a compact bush.
One of the oldest garden plants, the hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, was grown in Europe during the 15th century. It arrived there from Syria, where it had in turn arrived along the ancient Silk Route from India and China. It was very popular with the early settlers and grown at Monticello by Thomas Jefferson. Today it is enjoying a revival, and breeders are making striking improvements on the older plants.
Don Shadow has a nursery in Winchester, Tennessee, and there he breeds hardy hibiscus. Among his special seedlings he found one that was superb. He has applied for a patent with the name ‘DS02SS’, and the final approval is due soon. Meanwhile it has been rushed out for gardeners to enjoy. The Greenleaf Nursery Company of Park Hill, Oklahoma have released it as Strawberry Smoothie™. Check out all the other wonderful blooms in this range.
If you love pink you will love this bush – and be delighted by just how easy it is to grow well, and how undemanding it is. Don’t hesitate long, because our limited supply is running out, so order now.