Flight of the 'Bluebird': Hibiscus syriacus
A plant profile of Hibiscus syriacus 'Bluebird'.
High summer is turning into a memory, many perennials have ‘done their thing’, but Hibiscus syriacus ‘Bluebird’ is just taking off!
Many gardeners are craving more colour in their gardens in August. The gap between high summer and it’s abundance of colour and the start of the autumn colour season is a hard one to fill. Hibiscus syriacus ‘Bluebird’ is one plant that can fly to the rescue.
The cultivar Bluebird, sometimes referred to as Oiseau Bleu was first produced in France during the 1950’s. The species name syriacus is misleading, the species itself is native to China, but it was originally thought to be native of the Middle East; hence the species name.
Many Hibiscus species are tender plants, not suitable for outdoor cultivation in the UK. However, Hibiscus syriacus ‘Bluebird’ and the other syriacus cultivars are all fully hardy. They are deciduous shrubs, having an upright habit making them ideal for the smaller garden if vertical space is not limited. They grow to about 2m in width and 3m in height.
If you don’t have much time for pruning Hibiscus syriacus ‘Bluebird’ is ideal, it does not need any pruning at all, apart from trimming shoots to adjust the overall desired shape. As the name suggests, the flowers are vivid blue, blooming from late July, throughout August and into September. The flowers are saucer-shaped and about 8cm in diameter. They will close up during periods of rain.
The leaves are bright green and have 3 lobes.
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Bluebird is included on that much sought after list of drought tolerant plants, it will survive long periods without any rain, preferring long hot summers and freely drained, reasonably nutritious soil. Flowering is most prolific in full sun and if some shelter from strong winds can be provided Hibiscus syriacus ‘Bluebird will thrive.