'Perfect Storm' hardy hibiscus, a recently introduced hybrid cultivar of Hibiscus moscheutos, is part of the Proven Winners Summerific® series. 'Perfect Storm' is a compact version of the popular 'Summer Storm' hibiscus. With a mature height of about three feet, 'Perfect Storm' is roughly half the size of its larger cousin making it a better choice for smaller gardens and landscapes. Thanks to its compact size, it also needs no staking.
Like other hardy hibiscus, 'Perfect Storm' produces blooms late in the growing season, which extends the blooming season in your landscape. Its large blooms are seven to eight inches in diameter. Flowers are white with a dark red eye that radiates to the veins with petals edged in pale pink. The center of the bloom has a prominent stamen as is typical with hibiscus plants. Individual blooms are short-lived but are quickly followed by more blooms. Foliage is a very dark purple, almost black, which highlights the bright blooms.
|Botanical Name||Hibiscus moscheutos|
|Common Name||Hardy hibiscus, rose mallow, swamp mallow|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous perennial|
|Mature Size||3 feet tall and 5 feet wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Medium-to-wet, average-to-rich fertility|
|Soil pH||Acidic (less than 7.0)|
|Bloom Time||Late summer|
|Flower Color||White with a dark reddish-pink center and petals edged in pale pink|
|Hardiness Zones||5 to 9|
|Native Area||North America|
How to Grow Perfect Storm Hibiscus
Even though this plant functions as a small shrub during the summer, it is a herbaceous perennial. This means it will die back completely to ground level in winter before re-emerging with new growth next spring. 'Perfect Storm' will be one of the last perennials to push up new shoots in the spring (sometime in May in a USDA zone 5 landscape, for example), so do not give up when it hasn't come back to life at the same time as the other herbaceous perennials in your landscape.
In spring before new stem growth emerges, use a strong pair of loppers or a saw to cut down to ground level any woody stems remaining from last year. Do not prune or trim this plant in the fall.
Hardy hibiscus will bloom best if located in full sun, which means six to eight hours of directly sunlight per day. It tolerates some light shade, but full sun with good air circulation produces the most flowers and strongest stems.
While 'Perfect Storm; hibiscus will survive in soil of average fertility, it will perform better in more fertile conditions. If soil is not fertile, spread and mix in soil amendments annually.
Water enough to keep the soil consistently moist, provided the soil drains well. To help with water retention as well as drainage, mix compost into the soil. Do not let soil dry out.
Temperature and Humidity
Like most hardy hibiscus, 'Perfect Storm' can thrive in a wide range of temperature and humidity zones provided it is watered regularly. It thrives in heat and sun but must stay hydrated.
To keep the plant well-fed, use a balanced fertilizer. Follow instructions on the package to feed your plants once a year in spring. Always water well after applying fertilizer.
Varieties of Hibiscus Flowers
Other varieties of hardy hibiscus include:
- 'Southern Belle' flowers are eight to ten inches in diameter in red, pink, or white; plants grow four to six feet tall.
- 'Disco Belle' a compact variety that produces pink flowers with a deep pinkish-red eye eight to ten inches in diameter; grows 24 to 30 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide. this cultivar was developed from 'Southern Belle' for gardeners seeking more compact plants.
- 'Luna Blush' is a compact cultivar two to three feet tall and two feet wide; flowers are white with a pink rim and deep red eye four to six inches in diameter,
- 'Cherry Cheesecake' flowers are large, up to eight inches in diameter, with a magenta or cherry red center surrounded by pinkish-white; plants grow to 5 feet tall.
- 'Cranberry Crush' solid scarlet flowers are seven to eight inches in diameter; plants grow to four feet tall.
- 'Berry Awesome' a tall cultivar that grows to 4 feet tall and produces large seven- to eight-inch ruffled, lavender pink flowers with a cherry red eye
Two common pests that attack hibiscus flowers are aphids and whiteflies. The former usually form in clusters that can suck the nutrients from the flowers, and the latter are gnat-sized bugs that usually hide under the flower's petals.
Hibiscus can also be prone to fungal diseases that cause dark spots on the petals and leaves of the flower.
Hibiscus Moscheutos. Missouri Botanical Garden
Leaf Spot Diseases of Floricultural Crops Caused by Fungi and Bacteria. University of Massachusetts Amherst