En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 09, 2011

From: Riverton, WY
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Planting
Title: Can a hibiscus survive in Wyoming?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can a hibiscus survive in Wyoming if it is taken care of properly? If so, can you tell me how to make it happen?

ANSWER:

You might be able to grow a hibiscus in a pot, bring it in during the winter, and see if it would come back up in the warm weather; in other words, treat it as an annual. There are 12 members of the Hibiscus family native to North America, none of which is native to Wyoming. We did, however, look at the 12 native hibiscus in our Native Plant Database and found Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf rosemallow) which grows as close to Wyoming as Nebraska, and as far north as Minnesota and Ontario.

From our database, we got this information about Halberdleaf rosemallow:

Native Distribution: Moist low-lying areas from North Central Texas to the Edwards Plateau.
Native Habitat: Marshes

and

Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous

And therein lies the rub. Acidic soil tends to occur most often in areas where deciduous trees and conifers have been dropping their trees/leaves for centuries and that organic material has decomposed to form an acidic soil. Why its native habitat is North Central Texas and the Edwards Plateau we can't say, because those are mostly alkaline soils, which we are also thinking you might have in Wyoming, as does a great deal of the Western United States.

In this  Floridata aticle we found another comment on the habitat of this plant:

"Hibiscus laevis occurs naturally in swamps, marshes, ditches and along water bodies in eastern Canada and central and eastern U.S., south to northern Florida and Texas."

Now, you asked us how to make it happen. You can't make a plant, even if it's well adapted to where you have it, grow and persist. If you can buy this or a closely similar hibiscus in your area, we suggest that you get one, and give it a one year's trial. It is deciduous, so you can plant it in the ground, let it die back, trim down the stems leaving a few so you know where your plant is, and then start watering it again as the weather warms. Don't fertilize until it is time for it to begin leafing out again, and don't use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, because that inspires more leaf growth and less blossom. You will be running an experimental laboratory on what you can grow in Wyoming.

 

From the Image Gallery


Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

More Planting Questions

Do I need to cover my Habiturf planting with straw?
March 02, 2012 - I'm preparing to seed the Habiturf in my front yard in a couple of weeks. My dad has suggested I spread some straw to help protect the seeds. Your thoughts? Thanks!!!
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for shade in Ennis TX
August 26, 2011 - My house faces south. The southwest side of the front yard has a Pride of Houston, Japanese Barberry, 2 crape myrtles and some dwarf yaupon hollies. The other section, divided by a stairway to the p...
view the full question and answer

Would like a small tree for yard in Las Vegas, NV.
May 31, 2013 - would like a small tree with root system that grows down not spread on surface. Had raywood and medesto ash tree both died of desease. Diagnosed by arborist. Stated that these trees to big for my yard...
view the full question and answer

Possumhaw losing leaves in Liberty Hill, TX.
July 11, 2011 - I have two female possumhaw trees and one of them is losing its leaves. I planted both of them in February and they were doing very well, getting green and full. What's happening?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center