I really wish that had used something to show the scale of the flower in this picture. When I say that this flower is as big as your head, I am not exaggerating (unless you happen to be a Macy’s parade balloon).
This is a picture of a Dinner Plate Hibiscus aka a Mammoth Hardy Hibiscus. And for anyone who would like, if you click through on the picture, it will go through to a computer wallpaper size of that photo.
Despite the tropical look of this flower, it pretty routinely blooms late in the season around here. I started to see blooms on mine and my neighbor’s about two weeks ago. I have to say, they are a nice turn around from the brown and green muddle my garden is for most of August.
My Dinner Plate Hibiscus are late bloomers in more than way. Every year I come within days of digging it up, pitching it and planting something else there simply because it take forever for it to show any signs of life in the spring. By the time other plants have shoots, leaves and flowers, this plants still looks like a dead ball of roots. And since it looks dead, I get the shovel all ready to dig it up.
Luckily for my Dinner Plate Hibiscus, I am a serious procrastinator and something always prevents me from getting around to digging it up when I mean to. By the time I get around to it, shoots have finally appeared. This has happened so often, that I am beginning to think it is just a lazy plant and the threat of being dug up is what gets it going. I am thinking that if I go out in March and lay a shovel down next to it and make a few threatening statements, by early April the shoots will be coming up and the plant will be on the same timetable as the other flowers. *shrug* It’s always worth a try.
Dinner Plate Hibiscus are a relatively new introduction to the world of plants, meaning that they have only been around a few decades. They were developed by the hibiscus world famous Bill Morrison.
I love the flowers, but there just one small problem with them. When it rains, like it is doing today, the whole plant collapses under the weight of the water laden blooms. They don’t recover all too well when the flowers dry either. The answer is to stake them, but, of course, I never remember to do that until after it rains and the huge flowers are laying face down in the dirt.
In the end, this issue is a small price to pay to have such glorious late summer flowers. Of course, I think I would like it better if I got gargantuan flowers in mid-summer but I am hopeful that gardening by death threat will help this plant achieve that end.