Saturday, February 28, 2009

Malaviscus arboreus Sleeping Hibiscus

Malaviscus arboreus 
 Sleeping Hibiscus
The sleeping Hibiscus gets its common name from the flowers which remain in a bud like state ,never opening to reveal a central flower.
However they are produced in such quantity this shrub remains quite a decorative addition to any warm climate garden. The usual colour is red but it will "sport" with pale marshmallow pink flowers as well. It is native to Florida ,Texas and Mexico south to Peru and Brazil. It needs constant pruning when young .as branches are sent out at odd angles and these can be quite sparse of foliage. This is probably why it is not often seen anymore in the nursery trade as it looks quite ungainly in a pot.
In this age of the compact shrub/hedge plant ,it does not fit the bill. It will eventually reach about 3 metres high and responds well to shearing to give it a good shape. I have seen it trained as a standard as testament to this. It is otherwise very hardy and not fussy as to soil or position.
2017 update: I propagate both colours and have plants available from time to time.

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