White Pillar® Hardy HibiscusHibiscus syriacus 'Gandini van Aart' (PP# 28,892)
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Hibiscus syriacus 'Gandini van Aart' (PP# 28,892)
Outdoor Growing zone
The White Pillar® Hardy Hibiscus is a unique variety of hardy hibiscus, or Rose of Sharon. It grows into a tall vertical plant, reaching 15 feet within a few years, and staying no more than 4 feet wide, with a slender pyramidal profile. From June to November in warm zones, and for a few weeks less in colder areas, it is covered with large, pure white blossoms. These are semi-double, with a cluster of small petals in the center of an open flower, and very beautiful. A tree makes an amazing lawn specimen and a row is a perfect hedge or screen for a narrow space.
The White Pillar® Hardy Hibiscus should be planted in full sun for the best growth, development and flowering. It is hardy in zone 5, but it won’t grow as tall as it will in warmer zones. It grows well in any soil, as long as it is well-drained and not wet. It is normally free of pests and diseases and untouched by deer. A deep soak form time to time during long dry periods in summer is beneficial. Some trimming in spring is possible to keep it extra neat and tidy – otherwise no effort is needed to grow this remarkable plant.
Vertical accents are valuable and striking garden features, and we are used to seeing evergreens grown that way. Flowering trees or bushes that grow like that are much rarer, and they mostly flower for just a couple of weeks of the year. If you like the idea of tall, elegant pillars of blooms in your garden, then the White Pillar® Hardy Hibiscus is going to win your heart. This gorgeous small tree is a radical departure for hardy hibiscus, which usually form rounded, bushy plants. Not this beauty. The vertical branches zoom up to around 15 feet if you let them, and yet by then it will be no more than 3 feet wide – amazing. Starting in mid-summer and blooming continuously well into fall, this tree is covered with large white blossoms from top to bottom. You can grow a striking flowering specimen on a lawn, or in your shrub beds, and the good news is that this plant is very easy to grow – needing no special care and thriving in the heat and sunshine of even the hottest zones.
The White Pillar Hardy Hibiscus is a unique deciduous shrub that grows in a narrow vertical shape. It grows rapidly, and young plants will soon reach 6 feet tall, while staying only a foot or so wide. The branches grow straight up, not out, and it keeps this narrow profile, forming within a few years a slender pyramid, up to 16 feet tall. Even then it will only be 3 or 4 feet wide. The branches are densely packed together, making a full, bushy plant. The leaves are small, just under 3 inches long, with a slightly leathery texture, a smooth, glossy surface, and they are rich green.
The spectacular flowers begin to appear in mid-summer, and as early as June in warm zones. They last well into fall, and in warm zones it often takes a hard frost in November to finally stop them. Individual flowers last for up to 4 days, and more and more buds keep on coming, creating a spectacle of continuous blooming. Each bloom is a full 4 inches across, and they are pure, pure white. The large petals spread out wide, and in the early part of the season the center of the flower contains many small twisted petals making a unique and striking semi-double flower. Later in the season they will be single blooms, with a long white central column of stamens, and just as beautiful. This variety produces no seeds, so the flowers fall off cleanly, and no energy is wasted on seed production – it all goes into making more blooms.
This unique plant brings you the opportunity to quickly create a striking accent tree in your garden, one that will bloom for months of the year. Plant it out on a lawn, alone or in a cluster of three plants. Grow it in beds among other flowering shrubs – its white blooms won’t clash with any other colors you have growing there. Create a wonderful slim hedge or screen for a restricted space without having to trim constantly.
The White Pillar Hardy Hibiscus is hardy from zone 5 to zone 9. In zone 5 some winter damage can occur, so it may not reach it full height. It thrives well in hot zones.
Full sun is the best location for the White Pillar Hardy Hibiscus, but a couple of hours of shade each day will do no harm. Avoid shady spots, and wet spots too, because this plant loves well-drained soil. It grows in all soil-types, including poor soil in urban gardens, and it also tolerates urban air pollution and even a little salt spray.
No special care is needed to grow the White Pillar Hardy Hibiscus well. Pests, diseases and deer are usually not a problem, and established plants are drought resistant. Some fertilizer in spring is useful, and a mulch of organic material over the roots will retain moisture. During the hottest and driest times of the year a deep soaking from time to time is valuable. No significant pruning is needed unless you want to control the height. Early spring, before the leaves appear, is the best time to prune, and you can shorten back the shoots from last year to keep it compact and very neat. Don’t trim in summer, as this can reduce flowering.
The hardy hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus, is also known as Rose of Sharon or Althea. It is one of our oldest garden plants, and records show it was being grown in European gardens almost 500 years ago. It was very popular in the past, and it is having a big revival at the moment, with many new varieties coming into the market. Nothing, though, comes close to the variety called White Pillar®, which has an interesting origin.
In 2002 Andres Santiago was working at his nursery in Spain. Among a row of seedling hardy hibiscus growing there, he spotted one that was very different. It had a slender, upright form that he had never seen before, and purple flowers. The nursery went out of business, but he sent some of these unique plants to a friend in Italy, Francesco Gandini. A few years later Ad and Mario van Aart, who have a nursery in Oudenbosch, The Netherlands, were visiting that Italian nursery. Giandini was using this plant to create long, straight stems for grafting other hardy hibiscus as trees, but Mario saw things differently. He realized what a great plant this was for a specimen tree, and he brought it back to his nursery in The Netherlands. It became the Purple Pillar® Hibiscus, `Gandini Santiago`. In 2012 van Aart had a group of young plants of that variety growing in pots at his nursery in The Netherlands, and he spotted one with pure-white flowers, but the same narrow form. He named this plant ‘Gandini van Aart’, and in Europe it is sold as ‘Flower Tower White’. In America it has been patented. Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc. of Grand Haven Michigan has released it with the trademark name of White Pillar®, as part of their Proven Winners® selection of exciting new plant varieties.
This really is a unique and very special form of hardy hibiscus, and if you enjoy growing something that is different and beautiful, as well as easy to grow, then the White Pillar® Hardy Hibiscus is for you. Order now, as something this special will be gone very, very soon.