Scientific: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Common: Chinese hibiscus, many other common names such as Rose-of-China, China Rose or shoe black
Family: Malvaceae
Origin: The wild form of H. rosa-sinensis is unknown and its origin cannot be traced. The present wide range of cultivars is considered to be a complex of interspecific hybrids between 8 or more different species originating from the African East Coast and islands in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

Pronounciation: Hi-BIS-cus RO-sa- si-NEN-sis

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 9, 12-13, 15-16, 19-24
USDA 9 (with occasional winter protection), 10-11

Landscape Use: Accent, entryway, informal hedge or screen, container plant, espalier, dwarf cultivars make nice edging plants. Use in areas benefiting from building heat radiation on cool winter nights to avert frost damage. Can be trained as a bonsai plant.

Form & Character: Evergreen perennial, upright, open, relatively rigid, tender, festive.

Growth Habit: Mature height and spread depends some on cultivar, can reach 15 to 30 feet tall, but is usually 5 to 10 feet in Phoenix, yet as small as 2 feet tall for the dwarf forms.

Foliage/texture: Glabrous, coarsely serrate ovate leaves with prominent margins, medium coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Large paper thin petals of many colors surrounding prominent pistil and stamens. Single and double flowers, doubles are sterile.

Seasonal color: Freely flowering year round, most heavily in autumn and spring. Colors are many and varied dependent on cultivar varied, mostly warm colors.

Temperature: Best suited to above 30oF. Flower buds fall off if temps suddenly fall into the 30oF range during winter.

Light: Full sun in cooler climates, partial sun in Phoenix with limited to no western exposure. Flowering not responsive to photoperiod. Growth retardants are often used commercially to maintain lower heights; may be kept lower in home conditions by keeping pot-bound almost as a bonsai; moderate to heavy fertility

Soil: Evenly moist, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. High alkalinity will result in intervenal leaf chlorosis. Fertilize monthly to bimonthly with chelated formulations of micronutrients as a soil drench when actively growing to correct.

Watering: Regular

Pruning: Prune lightly to severely in later winter to spring

Propagation: Most cultivated varieties are grafted. also, propagated easily by cutting

Disease and pests: Aphids, white flies, scale, mites, aphids, mealy bugs, and fungal root rots.

Additional comments: Like bougainvillea and lantana, Chinese hibiscus is offered by cultivar. This is showy flowering shrub with extraordinary array of flower colors that performs relatively poorly in Phoenix because of intense summer heat, winter cold, and alkaline soils. There are over 5,000 known cultivars! That people insist on planting it in Phoenix landscapes is a testimony to it's spectacular floral display. The common name Shoe Black comes from the fact the Chinese used the sap to stain shoes black and dye women's hair black, with use of this plant mentioned in ancient Chinese writings; first introduced to Europe in 1731. The name may come from the Greek word for mallow, or after the bird ibis which occurs in marshy areas where this shrub occurs naturally.

Hibiscus is a large genus with numerous annual and perennial species, most with spectacular flowers.

Moms love hibiscus!