Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gardening: Hibiscus, the Queen of Shrubs

Hibiscus is among the most stunning flowers in the world. Originally a native of Asia, it has spread to many countries. There are numerous varieties of hibiscus, with flowers of many hues, and petal arrangements like single, double and curlers which do not open fully. The size of the blooms can be anywhere from 2” to 10” in diameter.

The plant can be propagated from cuttings or seeds. Depending on the type, they grow from one foot height to shrubs and even trees. They are planted in gardens, as hedges, and for landscaping. A planned grove of hibiscus with flowers of different colors is an enchanting sight.

Almost all parts of hibiscus are useful. They have several medicinal properties. The famous karkade or hibiscus tea is considered invigorating. Excellent jams and squashes can be made from the flowers. Dried hibiscus flowers are delicacies in some countries. A shampoo made by wet grinding the flowers is considered to be very good for the hair

and cooling the head. The blooms can also be used for polishing shoes; perhaps that is the reason for the name ‘shoe flower’.

Some of the grass skirts the Polynesian ladies wear are made of the fibers obtained from the bark of the hibiscus plants. Hibiscus roots too have medicinal properties and are believed to cure different ailments.

Wouldn’t you like to grow these beauties? It is simple. Hibiscus grows best in easy draining soil with plenty of sunlight. Once the plant catches on hardly any care is required. Seasonal pruning can increase the number of flowers.


Also see: Health, Gardening: Periwinkle, a wonder plant


Anonymous said...

oh gosh, that first photo is just glorious!

University Place flowers

Gardenia said...

Beautiful blooms indeed - thank you for this lovely visual treat and informative read.


Beautiful pictures. They are all elegant beauties.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Arlene, gardenia, Raji, I am happy you liked the photos.