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Hawaii, stand back.

Hawaii, stand back

Hawaii can claim taller hibiscus plants,but for sheer flower size we can beat them right here in the adjacent forty-eight. Rose mallow hybrids (Hibiscus moscheutos) are big--and fast. Plant this deciduous perennial in June from a 1-gallon can and you can expect large (up to 12 inches across) blossoms from summer till frost throughout the West.

Verna Benninghoff of Portland has grownthe plant pictured above for 35 years through some harsh winters (once the mercury plunged below 0|) with no protection. After the first killing frost each fall, she cuts it back to 6 inches. By Mother's Day, new shoots are up.

Give this hibiscus rich, loose soil and assunny a location as possible. The plant above thrives in a warm spot--next to a southwest-facing brick chimney, where the floppy-petaled blossoms enjoy reflected heat and protection from wind. Feed plants every six to eight weeks through the growing season (10-10-10 works well), and give regular, deep watering.

Mrs. Benninghoff has divided her plantmany times, always with success: "I just dig up a chunk with some root, replant it, and it takes right off.' Numerous named varieties are available with flowers in red, rose, pink, ivory suffused with pink, and white with red centers. If your nursery doesn't have them, order by mail from Park Seed Co., Greenwood, S.C. 29647 (free catalog), or Wayside Gardens, Inc., Hodges, S.C. 29695 (catalog $1).

Photo: Dinner plate-size blossoms of Hibiscusmoscheutos pop out on stems that can stretch up to 8 feet in a summer
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:hibiscus plants
Date:Jun 1, 1987
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