Hibiscus Types, Species, and Varieties: A Definitive Guide

Hibiscus plants come in various types, such as annual, perennial, tropical, and hardy hibiscus. In this article, we’ll explore different hibiscus types, species, and varieties.

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All hibiscus plants are broadly divided into two main types; hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus tolerates colder temperatures in USDA Zones 4 to 9. Tropical hibiscus requires warm temperatures in Zones 9 to 12.

About Hibiscus Plant Types

Are Hibiscus Annuals or Perennials? There is some confusion as to whether hibiscus plants are annuals or perennials. However, almost all hibiscus plants are perennials when grown in their preferred climates. Growing hibiscus plants outside their preferred climates can turn them into annuals rather than perennials.

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy hibiscus plants grow as perennials in Zones 4 to 9. As such, hardy hibiscus varieties are cold-hardy plants that can tolerate winter temperatures down to -30ºF. The most common types of hardy hibiscus are Hibiscus moscheutos or Hibiscus syriacus.

Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical hibiscus flowers are evergreen perennials in Zones 9 to 12 but grow as annuals in colder climates. These types of hibiscus plants cannot tolerate winter temperatures that drop below 40 to 50ºF. Many tropical hibiscus plants are also hybrids.

Native Hibiscus

Native hibiscus plants are hibiscus species that are native to the United States. Many types of native hibiscus species are hardy hibiscus, although a few species in Florida are tropical hibiscus.

Hibiscus flowers are mainly divided between hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. 

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