24July 26, 2018

Many of the summer flowering perennials are now putting on quite the show. In my opinion, the best of the summer flowering perennials is ready to begin blooming now. The plant that I am talking about is the hardy hibiscus. If you have been to a tropical region, you may have seen the hibiscus flowers in bloom. Some of the varieties have small flowers, but there is a variety that has flowers the size of a salad plate and some are the size of a dinner plate. The hardy hibiscus has flowers the size of the salad plate and on occasion the flowers may be as large as the dinner plate. I have been watching the flower buds forming on the plants we have at the store and on Monday I noticed that some of the buds were showing color and two red flowers opened on one plant. Let me tell you a bit more about this late summer blooming plant.

The hardy hibiscus will be one of the last of your perennials to show signs of growth in the spring. During many years the hardy hibiscus will not show signs of growth until the end of May. During the previous fall, you would have cut back the thick woody stems of this plant. All during the spring, you will see those woody stumps sitting in the garden; all the while you fume that the plant didn’t make it through the winter. But you still keep watering the plant and fertilizing the plant with a fertilizer that you add to the water every 2 weeks. Then one day you will go to the garden and you will see this tiny shoot popping up out of the ground. If you look again in a week, that shot is about 6 inches tall. All through the month of June you will continue with the water and fertilizer regime and you will watch as this plant grows from that sprout to a plant 3 to 6 feet tall. You will also notice that many flower buds begin to form. In late July those flower buds begin to swell and soon the parade of flowers begins. Each flower only lasts one day, but if you have kept up with fertilizing the plant that doesn’t really matter because your plant will have so, so many buds on each stem. If you properly care for the plant, those flower buds will continue to form and then you will have a spectacular show of flowers well into the fall. Once the frost comes in the fall, you may need a saw to cut the plant stalks to within a few inches above the ground. Come the late spring, the plants will begin to re – grow and an even more spectacular show will begin for 2019.

Hardy hibiscus originally came in the colors of red or pink. Through the hybridization process, there are now white and many two toned flowers. If you have a sunny spot in your perennial bed where you need a “ wow ‘ plant for a spectacular summer into the fall show, the hardy hibiscus is the plant for you.

Now that late July is here, it is time to put out your second round of the tick tubes. The larval stage of the deer tick is ready to feed on the mice and will become infected with Lyme disease. By placing the tubes now, you will be killing off the larvae that will have matured into nymphs by spring that will be likely to infect you or your pets come next spring.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you next week.

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