Heat,Humidity & Hibiscus

I spent the last four weeks in Guangzhou China. Humid days,monsoon showers most afternoons, and tropical hibiscus lining the roadways for miles.

For a northern gardener who has overwintered tropical hibiscus in a dimly lit basement, it was a bit disheartening to see miles of them grown as roadside shrubbery, or worse yet, growing rankly on scrubby hillsides in the industrial park.

My hibiscus, a double red and a single salmon, have survived three winters of neglect. I move them to the sunroom each spring and to the deck in summer. Each year as I lug the foot high skeletons of twigs and sparse foliage up the stairs I curse that it will be thair last trip. They are generally ignored,a bit of water now and then, but that is all.

Now as true summer approaches, two foot of lush new growth have been added and before long their six inch wide blooms will begin. Idle threats made in May will be forgotten. They thrive in the afternoon heat of the deck,sending out flush after flush of blooms. When the cool nights of fall come they are moved to the protection of the sunroom where they will bloom right into late October. they are often still in bloom when they are moved to the basement for a severe cutback and another winter of neglect.

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