Hibiscus ‘Simply Love’ is one of the stand-out stars of the garden. The bushy plants bear lovely iridescent silvery flowers, each with a chocolate-purple centre. The flowers grow 7 to 9cm wide (3 to 4in) and carried in huge numbers over the entire plant for all of the summer and well into autumn.
In full sun and well composted soil it puts on a spectacular summer display. The individual flowers are short lived, with numerous new flowers coming into bloom each day. As an added bonus, as the fruiting pods mature, the calyces swell and form attractive translucent seed pods, they look like oriental paper lanterns and are useful for floral artists especially when dried.
Hibiscus trionum is an easy to grow, very ornamental bedding or border plant, with a compact and good-branching growth habit. Flowering is from late spring into autumn and the plant typically forms a small bush about 50cm (20in) high. It can tolerate very dry conditions which may even encourage flowering and doesn’t mind coastal winds but it doesn’t care for very wet positions and frosts. It performs well when grown as a container plant and although it is usually grown as an annual, it will over winter in frost free areas.
The flowers seem to have a metallic property, similar to the way CD shines, soap bubbles or sea shells. This phenomenon is called 'iridescence', meaning that colour appears to change as the angle changes.
Generated by diffraction grating to create colour from transparent material, it is believed that such shimmering in plants can actually influence animal behaviour by attracting pollinators better than their non-iridescent counterparts.
Sowing: Sow in early spring for use as an annual
Hibiscus trionum is generally grown as an annual, flowering and setting seed within one season. In frost free areas they can be grown as perennials. Plant in spring or autumn and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year to plant them out in early summer of the following year.
For best germination soak seed in hot water for 48 hours before sowing. Change the water ever 12 hours with fresh hot water.
Sow in trays or pots of peaty compost, cover seeds with a sprinkling of sieved compost. Darkness will help germination. Place in a propagator or warm place, maintaining an optimum temperature of 24 to 27°C (75 to 80°F) Germination usually takes 15 to 30 days. Plants will flower in 12 weeks from sowing.
Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. When growing as an annual, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well.
Plant out into a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun.
Cuttings can also be taken. Cut half-ripe wood in July or August and place in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.
Hibiscus trionum is native to Asia, Africa and all Australian mainland states.It is believed that it was brought by European biologists from Asia in 1731.
In the Victorian era in Europe, the hibiscus was a decorative detail on jewellry and clothing. At that time, the hibiscus symbolised sophisticated beauty, which was probably related to the sunny and delicate conditions under which this plant flourishes. Today sophisticated beauty is often the meaning of a hibiscus when its flower is used in arrangements or gifts.
Hibiscus is common on Pacific Islands, and the yellow flower of the hibiscus is on the state flag of Hawaii. The hibiscus flower is given to state officials and tourists like a necklace or a wreath as a welcome sign. Girls wear a red hibiscus flower behind the ear. If the flower behind the left ear means that the girl is free and behind the right is not.
The flowers are considered exotic and are popular in tattoo art, often seen combined with other Hawaiian symbols such as tiki, surfboard or sea turtles. Some tattoo enthusiasts who go for this Hawaiian flower are either natives of the island or who have spent unforgettable moments there or just simply love the beauty of the flower.
Hibiscus richardsonii, has been confused with this species. It differs by the smaller, finely serrated leaves, smaller uniformly cream flowers whose petals lack the basal maroon blotch
The genus name Hibiscus comes from the Greek hibiskos meaning marshmallow. It is a member of the mallow family, Malvaceae. It was named by Pedanius Dioscorides, a botanist and a doctor for the Roman army and the author of the De Materia Medica.
The species name trionum meaning three colours, refers to the iridescent quality of the flower petals.
The common name Flower-of-an-Hour, or Flower-of-the-Hour, refer to the flowers brief appearance while the name. Bladder hibiscus refers to the translucent seed pods, the pollinated but unripe seedpods look like oriental paper lanterns, less than an inch across, pale green with purple highlights.
The symbolism of the flower dates back hundreds of years. A gift of hibiscus is believed to mean 'seize the opportunity'. It also stands for delicate beauty as the bloom of the hibiscus is just open for short period everyday.
The Hibiscus flower represents everything that is female related and are usually gifted to females no matter what your relationship with this person is. In the Victorian era the Hibiscus flower was also considered to be a representation of glory. This flower was only gifted to people who were considered worthy of it. In China, hibiscus symbolise the fleeting and beauty of fame or personal glory.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 225mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Family Malvaceae Genus Hibiscus Species trionum Cultivar Simply Love Common Name Flower-of-an-Hour, Venice mallow, Other Common Names Bladder Katmia, Bladder Hibiscus Fleur Dune Heure, Ketmie d' Afrique Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers Throughout Summer till frosts Height 45-60cm (18-24in) Spacing 30cm (12in) Position Full sun preferred