Hibiscus syriacus 'Oiseau Bleu'
tree hollyhock (syn. Blue Bird)
The best single-blue, brought to life by a dark reddish-purple iridescent eye surrounding a cream centre - for late-summer pleasure seekers
- Position: full sun
- Soil: humus-rich, moist but well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil
- Rate of growth: average to fast-growing
- Flowering period: August to October
- Hardiness: fully hardy
A late flowering shrub that comes into its own when others are looking tired, this has large, trumpet-shaped, bright blue flowers 8cm (3in) across with red centres from late summer to mid-autumn. The leaves are pretty too, three lobed, dark green and very distinctive. This deciduous shrub has an exotic feel to it, but is just at home in a herbaceous border as it is in a tropical-style garden. It is best planted in a sunny spot as it does need a long, hot summer to flower well. It has one limitation - the new foliage doesn't appear until late spring.
- Garden care: To encourage a bushy habit prune young plants hard in late spring. After pruning apply a generous 5-7cm mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant. Little or no pruning is needed when established except to remove dead or diseased branches in late winter or early spring. In colder areas, shrubs might need a winter mulch.
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