The perennial hibiscus shrub has a long lifespan and blooms for many years. The shrub is a "herbaceous perennial," which simply means that cold winters will kill the shrub to the ground, but each spring it will return in a robust habit with new canes. The shrub blossoms continuously from summer to fall.
Commonly grown as a garden shrub or container specimen, most perennial hibiscus shrubs will attain a height of 7 to 8 feet with an equal spread. Widely planted in the shrub border, along walkways or placed on patios, the shrub offers vigorous growth in a wide range of conditions.
The flowers of the perennial hibiscus measure 6 inches across, but a few varieties sport "dinner-plate" blossoms that measure over a foot across. They appear in shades of red, pink, peach, white and various two-toned shades. The flowers are not long-lived and often last only a day. In tropical and sub-tropical areas the flowers often continue blooming throughout the year with only a small slow-down in the winter.
The leaves of the perennial hibiscus shrub are showy and large. A few species sport leaves that measure 3 inches wide and up to 6 inches long. Most varieties have leaves that are velvety green on the underside and glossy on top. A few are heart shaped.
Grow in full sunlight for best flowering results. A few perennial hibiscus varieties will tolerate wet roots and even flourish in a swamp setting. All varieties prefer moist soil conditions and grow well beside ponds or other bodies of water. The plants are also successfully grown in containers for patios or other outdoor settings.
A relatively hardy perennial shrub, the hibiscus suffers from very few diseases or pests. The most common problem to afflict the plant is aphids. Aphids form colonies along the stems to suck the shrubs' sap. The pests are easily removed by hosing off the plant with water. Predator insects, such as ladybugs, work well to control aphids. Boxes of lady bugs are available for purchase at garden supply stores.
The perennial hibiscus shrub is easily propagated with seeds. Propagation is often successful using cuttings. Cuttings are easy to root and establish.