“Perfect Storm” has leaves of stormy dark purple leaves and happy pink flowers with darker pink veins that reach 8-10 inches across. (Photo courtesy Ginny Rosenkranz)

Hibiscus moscheutos are native perennials that thrive in full sun and moist, organically rich soils, but also grows equally well in average garden soils or sandy soils with an addition of compost.
They love moist soils and are excellent in rain gardens and along the edges of ponds — but they don’t do well if planted underwater.
They are the last of the herbaceous perennials to emerge in the spring, waiting until the soil temperatures are nice and warm.
Once the plants begin to emerge from the soil they grow very fast, but should be pinched back when they reach 8 inches and again at 12 inches to create more branches and therefore more flowers in late summer.
There are many new hibiscus hybrids that can grow as tall and wide as 4-5 feet while others stay smaller and only grow 2-3 feet tall.
The leaves can be a bright green or a green with purple undertones, maple shaped or oval shaped, that can highlight the large colorful flowers.
Hibiscus can add a tropical look to the garden with their colorful leaves, but it is the beautiful tropical looking colorful flowers that brings the tropics into the garden from July to September.
The Hibiscus moscheutos “Disco Belle” series is one of the smaller blooming hibiscus plants, fitting into a small pocket gardens or around a sunny patio.
These compact plants still produce dinner plate size flowers that expand to 9 inches across with five overlapping petals and come in red, pure white with a bright red eye in the center of the flower and a pink with a bright red center.
For larger but equally lovely flowers and plants there is the Hibiscus Summerific series which grows 3-5 feet tall with lots of branches to produce lots and lots of large round flowers.
Sometimes the best part of shopping for these new hybrids is finding the names like Hibiscus Summerific “Cherry Cheesecake,” “Berry Awesome,” “Cranberry Crush,” “Holy Grail” and “Perfect Storm.”
Even though the flowers only last one day, new buds fill the plants giving the Hibiscus flowers from summer into the fall.
“Cherry Cheesecake” flowers are 7-8 inches and come in a lovely bicolor of white flowers with bright magenta veins and a bright red eye, while “Berry Awesome” flowers reach 8-9 inches across in a soft lavender color and a dark strawberry pink eye.
“Cranberry Crush” flowers are scarlet to dark red which contrast beautifully against the dark green leaves that have a purple undertone while “Holy Grail” has deep-red 8- to-9-inch flowers that glow against the dark almost black oval shaped leaves.
After blooming the bright green calyxes that holds the petals stay on creating a bright green against dark leaves.
“Perfect Storm” has leaves of stormy dark purple leaves and happy pink flowers with darker pink veins that reach 8-10 inches across.
Another new hybrid Hibiscus is the Head Over Heels series which grow 3-4 feet tall and wide, have leaves that are green with a flush of burgundy and three different flower colors.
Head Over Heels “Adore” has bright-pink 6- to-8-inch flowers with a deep crimson eye.
“Blush” has soft white petals blushed with light pink and a deep crimson eye and “Passion” has deeper burgundy colored leaves with contrast beautifully with the bright dark pink flowers.
These new hybrid Hibiscus can be planted in perennial gardens, cottage gardens, pollinator gardens, in large containers, as a summer hedge or in a rain garden.
Both butterflies and hummingbirds love to visit the blooming Hibiscus no matter what color the flowers and add color and movement into the gardens.
(Editor’s Note: Ginny Rosenkranz is a commercial horticulture specialist with the University of Maryland Extension.)