Types of Hibiscus: Common Hibiscus Varieties with Their Flowers and Leaves (Pictures) – Identification Guide

With tropical-looking showy flowers in hues such as pink, bright red, pastel orange, white, and yellow, Hibiscus is a genus of sun-loving shrubs and little trees. The funnel shape, large papery petals, and contrasting colorful centers of Hibiscus flowers are easily recognizable. The bushes produce blossoms throughout the summer, but individual hibiscus flowers only bloom for a day or two.

Depending on your climate, you’ll have to choose the right hibiscus for your front or back yard. Only USDA zones 9 through 12 have tropical hibiscus plants that bloom all year. In USDA zones 5 through 11, hardy hibiscus perennial plants produce enormous, colorful blooms. In temperate areas, several tropical hibiscus cultivars grow as annuals. When the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C), you can grow blooming heat-loving plants in pots and bring them inside.

Hibiscus plants of many different colors have a thing in common with hardy and tropical hibiscus plants: their spectacular blooms. Multi-colored petals are found in some of the most gorgeous hibiscus blooms. Grow the landscape design shrubs in full sun, well-draining soil, and ensure that the earth is moist to care for all hibiscus types. Hibiscus species and cultivars abound. Several of the most popular tropical and hardy hibiscus plants are discussed in this article.

Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) or Hawaiian hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus) are the most common tropical hibiscus cultivars. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), and scarlet rose mallow (Hibiscus coccineus) are the three types of Hardy hibiscus available. Read on to learn more about some of the most gorgeous hibiscus varieties available for purchase in your front or backyard.

Hibiscus Flowers

Hibiscus flowers are trumpet-shaped blooms with vividly colored ruffled petals that may be solitary or double in number. Flowers with a funnel shape may grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) broad. The long colorful protruding stamens emerging from the flower’s center are a characteristic of most hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus blooms only survive one to three days. Hibiscus flowering bushes and trees, on the other hand, bloom all throughout the growing season. From mid-summer to late autumn, Hardy Hibiscus cultivars bloom. Tropical hibiscus types, on the other hand, may bloom all year round in mild winters.

Hardy hibiscus blooms are solitary blossoms that range in color from white to pink to purple or red. Hibiscus plants, on the other hand, are known for their spectacular display of colors in a variety of hues.

Hibiscus Leaves

Hibiscus leaves (left) and tropical hibiscus leaves. Hardy hibiscus leaves (right). Hibiscus has leafy foliage that ranges from dark to bright in color. In warm, humid climates with temperatures that never fall below 50°F (10°C), tropical hibiscus is an evergreen shrub that thrives. During mild winters, Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) does not lose its leaves. Tropical hibiscus leaves have a lustrous sheen and are generally dark green.

Hardy hibiscus is a collection of deciduous flowering bushes. Hardy hibiscus leaves are mostly heart-shaped and have serrated edges. They’re dull green. The leaves might have strong lobes depending on the cultivar. Rose of Sharon and rose mallows drop their leaves in late fall, as do other deciduous plants.

Cutting back the bare stems is critical after the shrubby plant dies back to the ground. Hardy hibiscus thrives in the spring when the weather becomes warmer, and it develops into a leafy plant with unusual blooms.

Varieties of Hibiscus – Common Types of Hibiscus (With Pictures and Identification)

Here’s a quick summary of the various hibiscus varieties:

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)—With huge trumpet-like blossoms, this hardy hibiscus is a fast-growing shrub. Rose of Sharon produces large, single or double red, blue, purple, white, or pink blooms. Sharon’s hardy Rose grows to be 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 meters) tall and 10 feet (3 meters) broad.

Rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)—Hollyhock-like flowers decorate rose mallows, which are hardy hibiscus plants. Flowers may grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, and are large pink or white. In the summer, the tough Hibiscus perennial produces blossoms continuously. Rose mallow grows to be 3–7 feet (1.2–2.1 meters) tall and 2–4 feet (0.6–1.2 meters) broad.

Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)—Large, funnel-shaped blooms of this tropical hibiscus range in color from pink to red to yellow to peach. The wide, showy blooms feature papery petals that are 1.5 to 7 inches (4 to 18 cm) broad. Hibiscus mas in Chinese tropical grows to be 8 to 16 feet (2.5 to 5 meters) tall and broad.

Hawaiian white hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus)—An ornamental shrub with large fragrant white blooms, this Hawaiian hibiscus is a popular plant. Long red stamens protrude from the funnel flowers, contrasting with the brilliant white petals. These giant bushes have a rounded growth of around 20 feet (6 meters) wide and grow between 10 and 30 feet (3 and 9 meters) tall.

Types of Hardy Hibiscus (Rose Mallow)

The hardy hibiscus Rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) is well-known for its spectacular tropical-looking blooms. Crop types from these hardy hibiscuses grow in zones 5 through 9, with some outliers surviving in zone 4. They are also known as swamp rose mallow.

Hibiscus ‘Berry Awesome’ (Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Berry Awesome’)

Because of its huge 8-inch (20-cm) blossoms, the Hibiscus ‘Berry Awesome’ is also known as the ‘dinner plate hibiscus.’ The crimson red eye in the center of the disc-like blossoms is a deep magenta pink color. The tiny shrub’s foliage looks like maple leaves and is dark green.

The 3–4 foot (1–1.2 m) Hibiscus ‘Berry Awesome,’ with a 5-foot (1.5 m) spread, thrives in shrub borders. From mid-summer to fall, the rounded shrub blossoms continuously. It’s also easy to grow in pots with this shrubby hibiscus.

Hibiscus ‘Berry Awesome’ flower: A crimson center and yellow fuzzy stamen characterize gigantic round plate-like flowers with dark pink ruffled petals.

Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Airbrush Effect’

A tiny hibiscus that has beautiful bright pink blooms and is cold-hardy in nature. The flowers of the airbrush effect, like those of other hardy hibiscuses, are enormous and resemble dinner plates. The fragile blossoms survive approximately one day and grow to be 8″ (20 cm) broad.

The hibiscus, on the other hand, is in full bloom from mid-summer to autumn. Hibiscus ‘Airbrush Effect’ grows to be 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 meters) tall and has a similar spread. Zones 4 through 9 are ideal for this cold-hardy hibiscus.

Hibiscus ‘Airbrush Effect’ flower: The huge blooms of this shrub are made up of gorgeous pink petals with traces of white overlapping.

Hibiscus ‘Cherry Cheesecake’ (Rose Mallow)

The spectacular white blooms of Hibiscus x ‘Cherry Cheesecake’ create a raspberry whirl pattern with dramatic pink veins. The dark green foliage contrasts with the large white and magenta saucer flowers. The cultivar thrives in full sun and is cold hardy to zone 4, just like all hardy rose mallows. Hibiscus bushes, as a flowering hedge, or in pots, are the best Growing conditions for this hibiscus.

Rose mallow ‘Cherry Cheesecake’ flowers: A crimson red center contrasts with white hibiscus petals with dark magenta veins radiating from it.

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus)

The swamp rose mallow blooms between 6 and 10 inches (15 and 25 cm) in diameter, with huge hollyhock-like pale pink flowers. The big-flowered hibiscus is the popular name for this hibiscus plant. With masses of new flowers blooming every day during the summer, the Hibiscus grandiflorus is a prolific bloomer.

Velvety, heart-shaped green leaves characterize the swamp rose mallow. Hibiscus grandiflorus produces 6 to 15 feet (1.8 to 4.5 meters) of velvet hardy mallow that may be up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) broad.

Swamp rose mallow flowers: A pale yellow stamen in the center of trumpet-like light pink flowers with five delicate petals.

Hardy Hibiscus ‘Luna Red’ (Hibiscus Moscheutos ‘Luna Red’)

Red disc-like blooms adorn Hibiscus Moscheutos ‘Luna Red.’ The huge blossoms are between 6 and 8 inches (15 and 20 cm) across. The little compact shrub is in full bloom from mid-summer until fall, despite the fact that each hibiscus blossom lasts one or two days. Ovate hibiscus leaves with slightly serrated margins.

Zones 5 through 9 are home to Hibiscus ‘Luna Red.’ This tiny hibiscus only stands 3 feet (1 meter) tall. Small sunny gardens, foundation planting, and growing in pots are all perfect for the hardy hibiscus cultivar. You can plant this hibiscus near ponds or streams because it’s a kind of swamp rose mallow.

Hibiscus ‘Luna Red’ flowers: A plate-like flower with a contrasting yellowish-white stamen is created by five large red petals overlapping.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Another hardy perennial hibiscus with blooms that seem tropical is Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). Unlike other hardy hibiscus cultivars, Rose of Sharon cultivars grow taller. Throughout the summer and fall, on the other hand, they also create spectacular floral displays.

Hibiscus Syriacus ‘Aphrodite’

Rose of Sharon ‘Aphrodite’ has stunning vase-shaped pink ruffled blooms with a brilliant crimson center and huge white stamens. The hibiscus leaves, which are ovate shaped with somewhat lobed borders, contrast with the pink tropical-looking blooms. Hibiscus plants prefer to grow in the rear of flower beds, foundation planting, or as a deciduous flowering screen.

Rose of Sharon ‘Aphrodite’ flowers: The bright petals have a ruffled look and are crimson in the center of a cup.

Hibiscus Syriacus ‘White Chiffon’

Rose of Sharon ‘White Chiffon’ has masses of beautiful white double blooms and white stamens, and is a hibiscus species. ‘White Chiffon’ hibiscus is an excellent option if you’re looking for a simple-to-grow, stunning shrub with white flowers. From summer until fall, the white hibiscus blooms bloom continuously.

Sharon’s ‘White Chiffon’ rose has an oval form with lobed margins and grows 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 meters) tall and wide. Colorful hedges and blooming borders can be created with this hibiscus variety.

Rose of Sharon ‘White Chiffon’ flowers: The hibiscus blooms are 4″ (10 cm) across and are decorated with two rows of five petals, making them stand out even more.

Rose of Sharon ‘Oiseau Bleu’ (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau Bleu’)

The hibiscus cultivar Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau Bleu’ is also known as Sharon’s “Blue Bird” rose. The flowers of Oiseau Bleu hibiscus are exquisite, with dark burundy veins and a dark cherry red core. The stamen is conical white. The blooms of the blue bird hibiscus last well into the first frost and are a long-blooming variety.

Hibiscus ‘Oiseau Bleu’ grows to be 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and broad, growing between 6 and 8 feet (1.8 and 2.4 meters) wide. As a deciduous hedge, foundation planting, or to thrive in the rear of a mixed bed, the attractive leafy foliage with its blue blooms is excellent.

Rose of Sharon ‘Oiseau Bleu’ flowers: The crimson veins and reddish-purple heart of the modest lilac funnel-shaped blooms are lovely.

Tropical Hibiscus Varieties 

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the species that offers the most common tropical hibiscus cultivars. Only zones 10 through 12 are home to these magnificent flowering shrubs, with a few exceptions. Tropical hibiscus need consistent moisture to stay in bloom all year, which makes caring for them more difficult.

Chinese Hibiscus ‘Brilliant’ (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Brilliant’)

The hibiscus cultivar ‘Brilliant’ has brilliant red blooms with five broad, ruffled petals that bend backward. The red and yellow stamens protruding from the center of the funnel-like hibiscus flowers are long and prominent. The Chinese hibiscus blooms all year with the proper care. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Brilliant’ grows to be 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) tall.

Tropical hibiscus ‘Brilliant’ flowers: The flowers are bright red and grow to be 6″ (15 cm) across all year.

Tropical Hibiscus ‘Red Dragon’ (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Red Dragon’)

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Red Dragon’ has stunning orangey-red double flowers set against glossy evergreen leaves. This tropical hibiscus is an exceptional example for growing as a specimen bush, foundation planting, or evergreen flowering hedge. With its strong colors, it’s an stunning example.

Hibiscus ‘Red Dragon’ thrives in zones 10 and 11 and grows at a moderate to fast rate. The plant grows to be 6–8 feet (1.8–2.4 meters) tall and 4 feet (1.2 meters) broad, forming a shrubby hedge.

Tropical Hibiscus ‘Red Dragon’ flowers: These flowers have a showy, tropical appearance due to their scarlet-red double blooms and ruffled petals.

Hibiscus ‘Eye of Kali’ (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Eye of Kali’)

The exotic yellow, pink, and red flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis make it a compact hibiscus. The gorgeous flower is created by spreading out the huge five frilled orangey-yellow petals. The bright pink and crimson eye in the blossom’s core is a gorgeous characteristic of the Eye of Kali.

The stamen of the hibiscus known as the “Eye of Kali” protrudes from its center. Hibiscus cultivars grow to be 4 to 6 feet tall (1.2 to 1.8 meters). Despite the fact that this tropical plant may be cultivated in the ground, it thrives as a balcony or patio plant.

Tropical hibiscus ‘Eye of Kali’ flowers: With gorgeous pastel pink, orange, and yellow colors, these stunning hibiscus blossoms range in size from 6″ to 8″ (15 to 20 cm).

Tropical Hibiscus ‘El Capitolio (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘El Capitolio’)

The hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘El Capitolio’ is a tropical shrub with beautiful dusty orange and crimson blooms. The large, showy stamens of the outstanding feature of El Capitolio flowers are. Little delicate petals that resemble a second bloom adorn the ends of the light pink stamen.

The velvety evergreen leaves of this tropical hibiscus plant create the foliage. When growing in warm sunlight, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘El Capitolio’ grows between 6 and 8 feet (1.8 and 2.4 meters).

Tropical hibiscus ‘El Capitolio’ flowers: These tropical hibiscus blooms range in color from apricot to red. Look for the flower’s huge stamens that protrude from the middle.

Hawaiian Hibiscus 

Seven hibiscus species endemic to Hawaii make up the tropical Hawaiian hibiscus plants. Hawaiian hibiscus cultivars may produce white, yellow, red, orange, or pink blooms depending on the species. USDA zones 9 through 11 are home to Hawaiian hibiscus plants.

Hawaiian White Hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus)

Outside of Hawaii, the Hibiscus arnottianus is a small shrubby tree with white flowers. Brilliant white blooms with elongated petals in the form of a pinwheel make up the fragrant blossoms. A prominent crimson stamen extends from the core of the hibiscus blossoms, adding to their attractiveness.

The 4-inch (10-centimeter) diameter blossoms of the Hawaiian white hibiscus The big evergreen shrub or small tree Hawaiian white hibiscus grows between 15 and 30 feet (4.5 and 9 meters) tall. (7.5 meters) You can grow the shrub in pots on a patio or deck and trim the bushes to create a flowering privacy screen.

Hawaiian white hibiscus flowers: The flowers of this tropical hibiscus are pure white and star-shaped. The flowers have a truly tropical appearance due to the long crimson stamens with their pink to orange anthers contrasting with the snow-white petals.

Hibiscus Trees

The braided tropical Chinese hibiscus tree in the left image. The tropical Chinese hibiscus tree (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) or the rose of Sharon hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) are commonly used for growing hibiscus trees.

Hibiscus trees’ profusion of exotic flowers that drape the crown in color makes them a striking sight. With a single trunk and a rounded canopy of compact foliage, the rose of Sharon beautiful flowering shrubs may be trained to grow as small trees.

The most frequent kind of Chinese hibiscus tree in pots is the braid tropical tree. At least three intertwined stems exist on the tree trunk. Hibiscus trees produce big, funnel-shaped blooms in a variety of vibrant and pastel colors, as is the case with all hibiscus types.

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