Azalea and dogwood blossoms in April, roses in May, our gardens faithfully bless us with moments to celebrate regardless of the season. But what, you may be wondering, is worth celebrating during the steamy dog days of summer.
For me, it’s a select group of herbaceous perennials, non-woody plants that die-to-the-ground in the winter and gloriously spring back to life in late spring. That said, one perennial especially grabs my attention during mid-summer heat: Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos). Like Sleeping Beauty, this amazing, and underutilized, perennial takes its sweet time waking up in the spring. But by the time peak summer heat arrives, it’s producing magnificent dinner-plate size flowers that visually own the garden.
Huge tropical hibiscus flowers turn heads and are the talk of the neighborhood from mid-July through early fall. While their tissue-thin flowers live only a day or two, they are quickly and continuously replaced by newcomers. This morning, I was greeted by over a half-dozen giant new flowers on a single plant. And I fully expect this explosive “wow, look at me” greeting to continue for several more weeks.
Despite their tropical look, hardy hibiscus is cold-hardy throughout Oklahoma. They also are long lived. The beauties in my perennial garden were planted eight years ago, and they show no signs of letting up. They also are among the easiest of perennials to grow.