Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Summer Favorite

The summer heat has settled in and what bloom symbolizes tropical weather better than the hibiscus? Perennial and annual hibiscus were plentiful at our visit last week to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.


I was enthralled with these blooms and didn't realize until we got home how many shots I actually had taken of these beauties.


These massive blooms are a summertime favorite of hummingbirds and bees. The long pistil and stamens provide easy access to the nectar.


Not only are hibiscus a great food source for pollinators, we use them medicinally and they have culinary uses as well. They can be used to help lower high blood pressure, reduce fevers and relieve coughs. It is often used as a diuretic and is high in Vitamin C and minerals.


Hibiscus tea is delicious hot or cold and has a smooth, delicious taste. Here is an easy recipe to make your own tea.

Hibiscus Tea
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil
Add 8 large hibiscus flowers and 1-2 cinnamon sticks
Cover and allow it to steep for 15-20 minutes (note do no leave the flowers in longer than 20 minutes; it will result in a bitter tasting tea. For stronger tea add more blooms)
Strain the tea into a pitcher and add juice of a lemon, honey or sugar to taste.
Serves 4. Enjoy!


The swamp hibiscus (I think they call this the Texas Star in Texas) is a cold hardy perennial (zone 6 and above) that is native to Eastern U.S.  It likes damp soil (a no brainer considering its name) and grows in sun to part sun. Mine seems to be happy in part sun. They do have some height to them. They can grow up to 10 feet tall so a location that is protected from the wind is beneficial.


Hope you are enjoying your weekend!
~ Karin

22 comments:

  1. Hello, Karin
    You've shown some brilliantly coloured blooms and highlighted their details. Gorgeous. I think I need to hit your "Follow" button.
    -Karen

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  2. Hibiscus flowers remind me of Mother's Day. We used to buy plants for my mom in New Orleans. All the photos look exquisite in the light box view. In New Mexico, we call hibiscus tea, Jamaica (the "j" is pronounced like an "h"). I had a tall refreshing glass today.

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  3. You do have some pretty and bright colors here. I like the Texas Star the best. It might be because it is so different from what I accustomed to seeing. Mine have yet to set bud, but I always look forward to them. Of course it is not the tropical varieties though.

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    1. I agree. I have a swamp hibiscus which I added to my garden this spring. It is performing already and really lovely.

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  4. Yes, we call it Texas Star in Texas :-) I don't think I've ever heard it referred to as "swamp hibiscus," but I do grow mine in a more damp part-sun area of my yard, and it is happy -- and tall!

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    1. Isn't interesting how common names can vary by location! Here it is always referred to as swamp hibiscus.

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  5. Uwielbiam hibiskusy, mają piękne kwiaty. Miałam w ogródku dwa, ale niestety zima zabrała mi jednego. Pozdrawiam.
    I love the hibiscus, have beautiful flowers. I had two in the garden, but unfortunately took me one winter. Yours.

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  6. I have a few Rose of Sharon, which I think is a cultivar of hibiscus. I like that it flowers in July-August here in Michigan.

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    1. I think you are correct Mary...they are all members of the Malvaceae (rose mallow) family which interestingly also includes okra.

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  7. The hibiscus really does say "summer," doesn't it? Your pictures are beautiful.

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  8. I think Hibiscus are seductive...love their blooms. I had H. coccinea in VA that got over 13 feet tall....stopped measuring after that! I brought seeds with me but haven't done much with them yet. Need to plant some!!

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    1. Wow, that is impressive! I have so many seeds waiting to be planted...I can relate!

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  9. Hi Karin !
    Thanks for the visit to my blog... I did not know your blog had a new url address.
    Gorgeous Hibiscus genera...
    Have you got by any chance the latin name of the last one of the sery, the one you called 'Swamp Hibicus'.
    Thank you so much.
    See you soon
    Gabriel

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    1. I didn't know I had a new url either! :O)
      The botanical name is Hibiscus coccineus

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  10. We love Texas Star down here! I have one that struggles along...it needs to be moved to the front where it's not quite as dry. You've got a beautiful collection, Karin!

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  11. That is beautiful and I don't have any..I just wanted to respond to the comment about the waterfowl being taken by predators. I would feel better if it were normal, but all of these ponds are mowed to the water and provide no cover for waterfowl to hide it. Many have wood around as a border leaving young waterfowl unable to get out and splash until grabbed and drowned. Out of 8 nesting mallard hens X 10 ducklings this season there are only 2 ducklings left and I don't expect them to survive either..Oh then there was the year someone shot all the geese on this pond and left dead and dying geese for my husband to remove..none of this is natural except for the hawks.....Michelle

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    1. Michelle that is so sad and yes, very tragic! Thanks for providing more background. I hope your gosling will survive!

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  12. Beautiful shots! The tea sounds good also--thanks for including the recipe :)

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  13. Lovely hibiscus and they have some similarities to our hardy ones here up N. Mine will bloom in another few weeks and I love taking loads of pictures. I drink lots of hibiscus tea especially in the summer over ice.

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  14. They're beautiful, Karin. I didn't realize you could make a tea with the blooms! Some people in my area plant them around their mailboxes and they look so welcoming!

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  15. One of my favorite tropicals - and you captured that red so well (I have problems with red for some reason with my camera).

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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