Monday, August 13, 2007

Kopper King Trifecta

Here's good ole Hibiscus moscheutos again, but this time it's my favorite hybrid 'Kopper King!' As I've often stated, I'm not usually one to adopt most hybrids, but 'Kopper King' is just too outstanding an exception that I think every serious gardener should have at least one in the perennial border.

For one, its bronzy, reddish purple foliage reminiscent of maple leaves is the most striking of any of the H. moscheutos cultivars of which I'm aware. Even when it's not blooming (which from July to September isn't often) it's a very attractive plant, growing to about 4 feet by 3 feet in a season. It's a relatively low maintenance plant and aside from pruning it back in the spring and keeping it fairly well watered in hot periods, it doesn't really demand much in order to wow you with its fabulous flowers. It's also quite cold hardy, happy to dwell within Zones 4-9. The only real drawback I can see is that, as it's a hybrid, it produces no viable seed, and the only way to propagate it is from stem cuttings rooted in late spring or summer.

But once established and when it gets to blooming in late July, it rarely ceases to amaze passersby with its truly dinner plate sized flowers, intricate veining on the petals and just plain eye popping blasts of red, pink and white. We're starting to see a few more of these around local gardens, but it doesn't seem to have caught on as much as the 'Lord Baltimore' and 'Disco Belle' cultivars you more commonly see growing in local gardens.

No matter, we like having one of the more rare Hibiscus moscheutos in our garden (in fact we have two!). I named this one 'Olivia' last year (I don't go naming too many plants but this one just begged for it) due to her deep admiration of pinks. So here are two very different angles on it. The first shot was intended to capture the absolute competition between flowers to be the first to show off ... these three were so closely situated that none of them managed to truly open to the full potential, but as an ensemble I think they make a nice cluster of contrasts between colours and textures. The second shot is a full on close up aimed at getting the whole inner-bitian enchilada for Olivia. (I may have posted this before, but it's a worthy rerun for this flower!)

At present it's taking a bit of a break due so the recent dry weather, but with the regular rains of last week, it should be gearing up to launch another round of blooms soon, so keep dropping by and I should have more sometime soon, because you can never have too many Hibiscus blooming, no matter what variety you grow!


Kidspeak said...

These hibiscus (hibisci?) are simply gorgeous! Wow! I love the pale pink.

They're are our neighbor's favorite plants, though he does tend to the huge white or red ones. Unfortunately, he plants them to shade our border of rugosas, too, which is a very sore subject. Yes, he is engaged in competitive gardening - I'm trying very hard not to rise to the bait.

Nancy P said...

Oh, my! That first one is a flower butterfly just taking off.

Competitive gardening, lol, kidspeak. So true! Gardeners can be cutthroat. A fair number of them have ended up killed--or doing the killing--in mystery novels. I have a neighbor who is everybody's Most Likely Victim. :)

olivia said...

Yep ... that's beautiful IVG ... I love it!

FARfetched said...

Dinner-plate size? Whoa. And cool-looking to boot.

I have got to get Mrs. Fetched to start reading UO and PO... she would probably appreciate it even more than I do, and could make some great use of the info.

katiebird said...

(a day late)

Hi IVG, kidspeak, Nancy, Olivia & FARfetched!

IVG -- I've been looking for nice hardy-type blooming things for our front yard. I know the middle of the worst heat wave in years isn't the best time for planting. But, I've written this one down.

It's dramatic and fantastic. And a great photo to boot!

Thanks for sharing it.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi everyone! I can never proselytize enough for hibiscus! Easy! Carefree! Proliferous blooms! Low maintenance! HELLOOOOO...! What's keeping you? LOL.

Seriously, I just love em to death. KS, you should look for one of these Kopper Kings to one up your neighbor and plant it somewhere within his sight line but far enough where he'd have to actually enter your yard to get a good look. I'm betting he doesn't have one? Wouldn't that be evilly delicious?

FAR, even you could grow these I think (are you in Zone 8 or 9?). They do appreciate a cold spell during the winter so that would be my only hesitation for your clime.

And KB, there's still time to plant perennials!!! You can generally (rule of thumb) plant perennials (decent sized plants) up to 4 weeks before an expected frost. Just make sure to keep them well watered to get them as established as you can before fall really hits hard. So if you see some healthy or decent looking HARDY hibiscus (moscheutos) still in the garden centres, grab em! Sometimes this time of the summer you can get some really great deals on clearance plants, and even if they don't bloom this year, if you get them planted they'll definitely bloom next year! I'd love to hear a hibiscus success story from you next year KB!

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