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What Is a Star Hibiscus?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton

A star hibiscus is a bright flower that grows throughout the southern United States. It is characterized by bright red petals which form a star shape. This ornamental shrub is also known to attract bees and butterflies. It thrives in full sunlight and very damp soil, and can sometimes be planted in a water garden.

This plant is sometimes referred to as a Texas star hibiscus. The reason is that it is abundant in the Longhorn State as well as many other parts of the southern United States. Even so, it is occasionally planted along the east coast of that country as well as northern Mexico.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The star hibiscus gets its name from the plant's petals. Each flower contains five deep red petals, which are patterned in a star shape. Individual petals are somewhat narrower at the bottom, becoming fuller and rounded on the sides and then ending in a slight point.

All leaves of this ornamental shrub are very long and narrow, with serrated edges and pointed tips. They are normally medium to dark green in color and arranged in a star pattern just below the petals. There may be anywhere from five to seven leaves per flower.

A star hibiscus bush normally grows to be around six feet (1.8 m) tall when fully mature. The plant can spread anywhere from four to six feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) wide if left unchecked. It is a perennial plant, which means it becomes dormant in the fall but returns in the spring after the danger of last frost.

The first blooms of a star hibiscus normally appear in mid-summer and last until early fall. It is not unusual for flowers to appear the first year, even if plants are started from seed. These blossoms emit a light yet sweet fragrance which makes them ideal to use in a fresh flower arrangement. The scent of the blossoms and their deep red color make them attractive to bees and butterflies as well.

This ornamental shrub prefers direct sunlight, but may sometimes be planted in partial shade. Gardeners must water this plant often, as it typically needs very damp soil in order to thrive. It can be a good choice to plant in areas that retain water, and some gardeners often choose the star hibiscus for water gardens as well. It can be important to sow seeds in early to mid-spring in order to make sure plants are well-established before their first winter.

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    • Woman with a flower
      Woman with a flower