We got the first bloom of hibiscus this year!
And you can see many buds are ready to bloom too!
This is the third summer we have had these two white hibiscus now. My mother-in-law got them when we landscaped the front yard in May 2013. They were in pots and eaten by deer the very next day. They were eaten so completely to the base stem, without any leaves left. So I thought they must be dead for sure and just moved them next to the tool shed and complete forgot about them. In spring 2014, I was gathering flowerpot for gardening and surprised to see new sprouting from these two pots – How did they survive the snowy winter? We definitely had some cold nights here and they were in plastic pots!
After some googling, I learned that what we had was hardy type of hibiscus, but not the tropical type, so it can tolerate some freezing nights. That explained it: my mother-in-law also planted some tropical hibiscus in our yard in the Fall of 2012 (see the pictures below), but they all died during winter. The way to tell is the leaves and the size of the flowers – if your hibiscus has glossy deep green leaves, 3-6″ flowers of red, pink, orange, yellow, double or single flowers, it is probably a tropical hibiscus (source).
If your hibiscus has dull medium green heart shaped leaves, dinner plate sized huge white, pink or red flowers with bomb shaped buds (2-4″ in length!), it is a perennial, hardy hibiscus like ours. Then it can take quite a beat in winter as long as it is well-mulched, even in zone 5.
Even knowing so, I was quite worried this spring if they were coming back. We has a particular harsh winter and out lantana, planted right next to the hibiscus, did not make it. And since hardy hibiscus dies back every winter and come back really late in Spring, there is no way for me to tell if they were healthy until late May. But they were! We saw new stems started poking out right about Memorial day, and it was growing so fast since. Both plants put out full sets of their leaves in two weeks and started budding since mid-June. Today, June 25th we got our first two flowers, which is right around time (last year we got the first bloom on the July 4th).