Aired July 19, 2013
Bill Finch of Mobile Botanical Gardens has a terrific recipe for summer gardens on the Gulf Coast: mix hibiscus with anything. Or just savor it by itself.
Native and native-hybrid hibiscuses are colorful, showy, and thrive in the heat and humidity of Gulf Coast summers. When winter comes and the plants die back to stalks, just cut them off a few inches above the ground…they'll be back in the 5-10 foot range again next summer!
You can also grow several species of tropical hibiscus here, but they require a little more effort. The tropicals—while lovely—are not as winter-resistant as the native varieties. You'll either need to put them in pots or dig them up and move them indoors during December and January.
And (I'm getting used to this when talking plants with Bill) there are some species of hibiscus that you can eat. They're pretty tasty, too. Check with mobilebotanicalgardens.org to find out which ones before you start chewing the scenery…or for any other questions about hibiscus.
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