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Plant of the Week: Perennial Hibiscus

When most people think of hibiscus they think of a tropical plant that grows in warm climates like Hawaii or Florida. Well, if you love the look of hibiscus but think it can only be grown in very warm climates don’t fret. If you crave a touch of the tropics, perennial hibiscus is a must. The perennial hibiscus should not be confused with the tropical hibiscus, which will not survive a winter freeze. Perennial varieties are true, cold hardy shrubs that die back each winter only to reemerge in the spring even bigger and better! And best of all, these beauties are easy to care for. Provide them with sun, decent soil and some pruning now and again and once established, they’ll provide your garden with years of fabulous color. There are many varieties of perennial hibiscus to choose from with plant heights ranging from 3 feet to 8 feet tall with giant, dinnerplate size blossoms in an array of colors. Make room in your garden for one of our favorite perennial hibiscus plants in stores now:

Summerific 'Cranberry Crush': A naturally compact selection that works well in large containers. Large 7-8”, deep scarlet red flowers are produced all over the dense, rounded clump of deep green, leathery, maple-like leaves. Garden Height: 36 - 48 inches.

Maintenance Tips: Perennial Hibiscus should be cut back to 4-6" from the ground in the spring. Since this plant doesn't leaf out until late, any time in spring before the new growth appears is fine. The stems are quite woody, so a saw or strong pair of loppers is necessary to cut through the thick stems. If you want to get really bushy and full plants, when the shoots start to come out of the ground and are about 6-10 inches tall, pinch them in half. The pinch should be made just above a set of leaves, this will improve branching. Improved branching will yield more flowers. Each time you pinch, take no more than half of the stem and pinch just above a set of leaves. You will get fuller plants doing multiple pinches. It is also perfectly acceptable not to pinch at all. The plant will have fewer branches, but it will perform perfectly well.

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An Early Spring Favorite

SCABIOSA (Pincushion Flower)

We know spring is close when you start to see the lavender blossoms of Scabiosa. Also called Pincushion Flowers, they get their name from the interestingly shaped flowers, which resemble little pincushions. This charming perennial is easy to grow and produces loads of large, double, deep violet blossoms. Almost frilly in their look, the blooms sit atop a long graceful stem. These are long and profuse bloomers that begin flowering in early spring and go long into summer. You may even see some repeat blooms in fall. With its compact, tidy habit, it is ideal grouped together as a border and the more you plant together the more impact they make! We love these as cut flowers and left it in the garden to attract butterflies. Scabiosa prefers full sun and well drained soil, but it will tolerate some shade. Hellllooooo spring!

Plant of the Week: Kalanchoe

Big beauty, low maintenance. This colorful little succulent plant is easy to grow and almost as easy to bloom. Kalanchoe grows 8 to 12 inches tall with clusters of small, upright flowers in a rainbow of colors, including red, orange, yellow, gold, purple and white. It has thick, rich green, succulent leaves that retain water to sustain the plant with little water.

Most often grown in pots as a brightly-colored houseplant, Kalanchoe can also be used as a landscape plant provided you live in the right climate. However, their needs vary slightly depending on weather they are planted indoors or outdoors.

Indoors, Kalanchoe requires bright light and should be potted in a well-draining soil, watering only when the soil feels dry to the touch. This succulent plant can withstand periods of dry soil, however, soggy soil can lead to root-rot. Maintain flower color by providing bright, indirect sunlight daily for at least four hours. A sunny windowsill or a bright sunroom are the perfect spots for this plant. Remove dead leaves and spent blossoms when needed. The blooming period usually lasts four to eight weeks.

Kalanchoe planted outside also needs well drained soil, so in wet areas you will not have much success. The same is true if you live in a cold climate, since they do not tolerate the cold. Ideal temperatures are a low of 65 degrees at night and a high of 85 degrees during the day. Kalanchoe grows best in a sunny spot that receives some shade from the harsh afternoon sun.

With just basic care, you can enjoy this low maintenance-big on beauty plant that will brighten your home both inside and out!

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

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