Winter-hardy hibiscuses are herbaceous, shrub-like perennials in the mallow (Malvaceae) family that belong to six species native to the United States and southern Canada (Lawton, 2004; Winters, 1970). They grow naturally in marshy habitats. Unlike their distant relative, H. rosa-sinensis, winter-hardy hibiscuses have a distinctive winter dormancy period, when the shoots die to the crown. In spring, new shoots are produced from buds associated with the crown.
Winter-hardy hibiscuses, especially H. moscheutos and its hybrids, have attractive, tropical-looking flowers reaching up to 30 cm in diameter. Winter-hardy hibiscus species are long-day plants (Warner and Erwin, 2001) that abundantly produce flowers from midsummer through late fall. The flowers last 1 d and colors range from white through pink to red, depending on species, with a dark red or brown center eye. Recently developed cultivars such as ‘Fantasia’ (PP11,853) and ‘Plum Crazy’ (PP11,854) have lavender flowers. Cultivars with dual-color flowers are still rare but include ‘Peppermint Schnapps’ (PP18,939) and ‘Turn of the Century’. ‘Robert Brown’ has been released to provide a cultivar with a unique combination of red and white flower color, which has not been previously reported for winter-hardy hibiscus.
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WestT.P.PreeceJ.E.2004Effects of thidiazuron and nutrient salt formulations on micropropagation of hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos L.)Acta Hort.630293297