Orlando, Florida to be exact. Even when the zone 10 natives think it is cold, 56 degrees, zone 6 tourists have yet to break out jackets. What they take for granted – blooming trees and shrubs in January – make zone 5 or 6 Midwesterners giddy .
This beautiful woody shrub is grown as a hedge in warmer temperatures. In zone 6, hibiscus make a showy addition to my patio. The bright yellows and reds bloom until frost if I keep the shrubs well watered.
Sometimes called rosemallow, the big beautiful blooms of hibiscus are similar to okra and cotton flowers, all members of the same Malvaceae, (mallow) family.
Hibiscus is also a primary ingredient in many herb teas. The flowers are used to make a beautiful clear red tea that tastes a bit like cranberries. Vitamin C rich hibiscus tea is shown to lower blood pressure Drinking three cups of hibiscus tea lowered blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults according to the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
photos by Patsy Bell Hobson
Hibiscus enthusiasts can learn more about these beautiful flowers at American Hibiscus Society.
AHA has a great link to Hibiscus 101. Worth checking out, if you want to grow your own.