Hardy hibiscus are invaluable summer flowering shrubs. With hollyhock-style flowers in shades of purple, pink and white, there are also some lovely bicoloured forms.
They are most generous in hot summers, where as flowering can be thin in cool and cloudy weather. Variegated hibiscus are unusal and often don't flower prolifically, such as Hibiscus syriacus 'Purpureus Variegatus'. However, new cultivar H. syriacus 'Sugar Tip'* is different.
It has double flowers, often with more than 40 small soft pink petals cupped by its five larger petals, all enhanced by occasional raspberry tints. I’ve found that the flowers last significantly longer than those of single-flowered selections growing nearby. The blooms open in mid to late summer and flower prolifically well into autumn.
The flowers are not the only valuable feature of 'Sugar Tip'. The soft, slightly greyish-green foliage, which is smaller than most hibiscus leaves, also have an eye-catching variegation. Cream patterning runs around the edge of each leaf, combined with the soft pink flowers it is a harmonious pairing.
The shrub is also noticeably upright in growth, so ideal in small spaces and can be pruned in spring to encourage dense and vigorous growth. All hibiscus start showing signs of growth later in spring than many other deciduous shrubs; just as you’re worrying that your lovely hibiscus might be dead – the buds burst.
H. syriacus Sugar Tip was discovered in Missouri in 2001. It was spotted as a sport of H. syriacus ‘Lady Stanley’, first introduced in 1875, which has darker, less double flowers and plain green leaves.
You can order H. syriacus Sugar Tip from Gardening Express.
*The correct styling for this plant is Hibiscus syriacus 'America Irene Scott' = Sugar Tip
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **
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