Friday, June 24, 2011

Lord Baltimore Hardy Hibiscus


Meet Lord Baltimore, one of the most spectacular blooms to be found on any plant.  The flowers are deep red, the size of a dinner-plate, and highly visible from a long distance away.  Blooms start for me in early June and keep on through the heat of summer.  Bumblebees really appreciate the nectar.  Unfortunately, other types of bugs like the leaves.



The color is one which my camera has a hard time capturing well, but it is as red as red can be.  Lord Baltimore is one of the hardy hibiscus family, sometimes called Giant Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow.  Like all of its family, it prefers full sun and plenty of moisture.  These plants do not take drought well.  They are great to plant in or near a boggy area. 



The leaves of Lord Baltimore resemble marijuana leaves.  The plant is not as full, rounded, and bushy as my other hardy hibiscus, Luna Swirl.  Because of this, I like growing it in a mixed bed with lantanas.  The bushy lantanas help fill in the area around this plant.  Also, this particular cultivar doesn't make as many blooms for me as some others.  It makes up for this with how wonderful each bloom is.  It dies to the ground each winter when freezes hit and only comes back once the weather really warms up in spring.  The plants respond well to plenty of fertilizer and organic materials. 

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