The hibiscus genus belongs to the Malvaceae family, and has hundreds of species, originating in most of the temperate and tropical areas of the world, from Europe to North America, from Asia to Australia. The term hibiscus refers to annual and perennial plants, evergreen or deciduous shrubs, and also small trees. In Italy the most cultivated hibiscus species are Hibiscus syriacus, a medium-sized, rustic and deciduous shrub; and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, a small evergreen shrub with large flowers.
The best known species
Much used in gardens, the Syriac hibiscus is a shrub of even large dimensions, which can reach 2-3 meters in height, sometimes also cultivated as a sapling; it is often used in street furniture, even in seaside areas. It is a very rustic, deciduous shrub, with light green foliage, oval in shape; the flowers are white, pink or blue, simple or double, bloom from late spring until autumn. The fruits are woody capsules, containing numerous seeds, often remain on the plant even during the winter months; these plants are very easy to cultivate, do not require constant care, and can easily withstand cold and drought. They should be planted in a sunny place, as poor exposure to sunlight could cause poor flowering. To obtain a well-developed and vigorous shrub it is advisable to plant in soft and very well-drained soil, even sandy or stony; every spring bury at the base of the stem of the organic fertilizer, or of the slow release granular fertilizer. During particularly cold winters, in the coldest areas of the peninsula, it can happen that the frost causes the desiccation of the young plants, which generally sprout without problems at the arrival of spring.
During the winter the plants completely strip off the foliage; the young leaves begin to sprout quite late, in late spring, before they sprout, or even in autumn, let's remember to shorten the stems by at least a third of their length, in order to keep the shrub more dense and compact.