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What is a Blue Hibiscus?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 17, 2024
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Blue hibiscus is a shrub that is grown primarily in Australia and the United States. It is a medium-sized evergreen bush with dark-colored flowers. It is not actually related to the hibiscus family, although the blooms somewhat resemble that flower. It is a perennial plant, which means that it does not die after the first year of growth.

The flowers of this shrub usually have five petals that may curl slightly inward at times. They are typically violet, dark purple, or pink in color. Some of the purple blooms may have a blue tint around the edges. The blossoms are generally three to four inches (7.62 to 10.16 cm) in length.

The color of the flower petals can depend largely on where the plant is located. In Australia, the blooms are normally violet or pink. In the United States, the blossoms are usually a dark purple color. Australian varieties are sometimes called the West Coast Gem, while the American types are often referred to as Monterey Bay or California Hibiscus.

Most of the time, the flowers of a blue hibiscus last only one or two days. The old blossoms are usually replaced with new ones right away, so the shrub is continually blooming throughout the season. Flowers can first appear in late spring or early summer, and can sometimes last until early to mid-fall.

The overall height of this garden plant is usually three to six feet (.91 to 1.83 m) in height. The bush can sometimes spread as wide as it is tall. The leaves of a blue hibiscus usually begin very close to the ground. They normally form in a very tight pattern, which gives this shrub a very leafy appearance.

This plant is often susceptible to damage from high winds. For that reason, it can be a good idea to plant a blue hibiscus bush near a building or other trees to prevent this. Pruning this shrub regularly can also help minimize the possibility of damage during high winds.

A blue hibiscus should ideally be placed in full sunlight. It normally needs well-drained soil that is slightly acidic, meaning the pH level is between 6.1 and 6.5. It can sometimes flourish in sandy or rocky areas as well.

This shrub can add color and interest to a backyard garden. Growers should plan on pruning this plant at least two or three times a year to help it maintain its shape and prevent unruly growth. Once established, a blue hibiscus can continue to produce colorful blossoms for many years to come.

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