It looks really exotic at first sight, and every other time you look at it. It’s a beautiful looking plant that looks mysterious and feminine with 8-inch deep burgundy flowers with almost hypnotic black centers.
A ‘Gotta Have’
It is undoubtedly a ‘gotta-have,’ a ‘conversation piece,’ and probably brings ‘bragging rights’ with it! Even its name draws you in with curiosity about origins, and I’m looking into it for you to see if it will reveal any secrets. Its flowers are enormous and seem to be twice the size of any other type of Hibiscus, so I think there might be a story here.
The Black Dragon
The shrub is a slow grower. Still, once it reaches its full height of approximately 18 inches, it then turns and begins growing laterally (sideways), and unless you want that, this is when you and the Black Dragon Hisbiscus will breathe fire at each other.
Keep It Upright
Or, at least, you’ll need to get some stakes to help it grow in the direction you have chosen for it – which is upwards. It’s not a climber – it’s a shrub and should grow like one. Its full-height should be 2 feet and 4 inches, but, as I said, it usually needs some help to stop it from creeping laterally instead of grown upright.
Hibiscus of the Year 2005
In 2005, it was named the 2005 Hibiscus of the year! By the American Hibiscus Society! It likes to have full sun in which to grow and also needs plenty of water (lots), good drainage, and fertilizer.
Take Care of its Needs
If the plant isn’t getting enough water, its leaves (even the plant in general) will signal that by starting to wilt, and that’s your prompt to remedy the situation.
During their growth spurts, they need better diets, and they are heavy feeders with a balanced fertilizer applied with regularity.
Naturally, although from the same family, all the different types have their different quirks. But, full sun, hot weather, regular fertilizing, enough water, and good drainage will generally bring out the best results in the whole family.
Hibiscus – Miss Malaysia and Miss Hawaii
The Black Dragon Hibiscus originated in Asia – the Pacific Islands to be more exact – it certainly looks like a ‘tropical’ flower.’ The Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii.
The wonderful multicolored blooms I have seen are the results of decades of concentrated cross-breeding. In fact, the American Hibiscus Society was formed in 1950 (just after WWII) to promote and enable better progress so as to improve on the hundreds of varieties that were quickly developing.
Single and Double Blooms
We know there is both single and double flowering on the tropical Hibiscus. However, did you know that these exotic cultivars have two different growth habits of being both upright and spreading sideways?
One of their benefits is that they propagate easily and are ideal for container growing. Furthermore, the Hibiscus is often encouraged to grow into a hedge shape, thus making enchanting little screens in your garden while giving some privacy where required.
Diversity of Colours
Another form of the Hibiscus has much larger blooms that have a diversity of colors and look tremendously eye-catching – growing prolifically with such an abundance of blossoms; there’s too many to count.
Hibiscus types that display multicolored flowers have a trait of being quite a bit slower in growth than the other ones that are often used for landscaping purposes. Strange to relate, they are also usually more difficult to propagate; yet, I think that if you want to have one of these exotic types of Hibiscus, you should have one.
They have super large, multicolored blooms and take longer to grow and to propagate – but so what if they take longer? – just gaze at their exquisite beauty to see that it’s worth the wait!
They have basic needs of full sun but will tolerate partial shade. However, half a day of full sun will produce good results.
The Hibiscus does need a warm temperature in which to thrive. Again, they will tolerate lower degrees of heat but not over a sustained time. Continuously cool weather will cause death.
The Right Soil
The Hibiscus shrubs grow quite quickly, and so they need fertilizers to assist them in keeping their strength up during a growth spurt. A slow-release fertilizer will work well because the Hibiscus needs consistent treatments if you want them to achieve a higher flower production.
Peat based potting mixes work well for the growth of a Hibiscus. Being a little acidic and generally having a starter fertilizer included in that mixture will be a good standard potting soil. They like a mix of peat, perlite, and vermiculite.
Where insects are concerned, keep an eye out for whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids – they are the most common insects and thrip. These plants need to be observed for an attack of these insects and come summer, a spray with neem oil can prevent most nuisance occurrences, but it’s best to be sure by doing these preventative sprayings.
You should prune the plants early to encourage a bushy form and maintain height and size. You can do this from early Spring to early Fall. Although pruning slows down the flowering of the plant, a late Winter/early Spring pruning will allow time for new flower buds’ growth to form.
Signs of Sickness
Be aware that some of these cultivars’ leaves will turn yellow and, this is caused by environmental stress or edema. The leave turn yellow ad fall off, but this condition will not harm the plant – it will only look a bit unkempt for a while! Keep the humidity, soil moisture, and temperature levels steady, and as the season shifts, new healthy leaves will appear on your plants again.
Protect the Root System at Any Cost
When we protect the Hibiscus root system, it rewards us by giving us many flowers. The less you disturb the roots, the faster and healthier the plant will grow. Don’t harm the root balls – even if they’ve become pot bound and you have to get them out of the pot. Rather destroy the container than cut or fray the roots – Damaging those roots is certain death.
A Queen of Quality
I hope you do plant one of these Black Dragon Hibiscus plants, and I hope you get the full pleasure and enjoyment of growing it and owning it, and having in your life to observe every day. After all, this plant is quite an achiever. It will almost be like having royalty at home! Now there’s a conversation piece with automatic bragging rights!