“I need a plant that will be huge in July and August,” she said, looking out her kitchen window at the back patio. “But it can’t be there at all in the wintertime.”
“Why?” he said, putting his coffee cup down onto the table.
“Because in the winter I want to be able to look out over the entire yard from this window,” she replied. “I want to see the shape of the cherry tree and the birdfeeder hanging from its branch. And I want to see the snow on all the shrubs that are behind that tree. Come look.”
He got up from the kitchen table and joined her at the window.
“It is a pretty tree,” he agreed, “in its own quirky way.”
“Yup,” she nodded, “it is. But after it blooms I don’t need to see it from this window all summer when we’re not feeding the birds. But when we sit outside, I want a plant that’s about six or seven feet tall in the bed next to the patio. I want to have privacy so that the neighbors can’t look out their kitchen window and see us. When I’m sitting there I want to see greenery, not the house next door.”
“Is there such a thing as a plant that’s so large in the summer but goes away in the winter?” he asked.
“There are millions of plants,” she responded. “There has to be at least one that’ll do this.”
He walked into the office and turned on his laptop.
An hour later, he returned to the kitchen, carrying his computer. “Check it out,” he said. “It’s called Hibiscus ‘Raspberry Rose.’ It not only grows seven feet tall and eight or more feet wide, but it has pink flowers in August and September that attract hummingbirds. And in October it dies to the ground.”
“You are a Googling genius,” she declared.
Name: Hibiscus ‘Raspberry Rose’ aka Raspberry Rose Mallow
Type of Plant: This is a tall perennial hibiscus that is hardy in Zone 4a to 9b. (This basically means that it’s hardy in a warmest parts of Zone 4 to the coldest parts of Zone 9. A pretty large range all in all.) Not only tall, but wide too. ‘Raspberry Rose’ grows 7 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide…so it goes from nothing in the spring to a very large shrub by the fall.
‘Raspberry Rose’ flowers in the late summer into early September. The blooms are about 8” wide and a clear, bright pink. Every day, new flowers open.
Why I love this: A large, dramatic plant with large flowers that’s reliable and showy? What’s not to love?
A Word to the Wise: Unfortunately in this day and age when an abundance of smaller, more compact plants are being introduced into the marketplace some of these very big varieties are hard to find. But there are many who have a need for just such a plant. I bought mine several years ago at Hyannis Country Garden. Plant Delights lists it on their website but says it’s “sold out”…I’d suggest contacting Plant Delights to say that they need to propagate more.
Note: this is a hybrid plant and I don’t know if it comes true from seed or not. It has self-seeded in my gardens but so far the “children” aren’t as tall as the parent plant. So beware of those places online that are selling ‘Raspberry Rose’ seeds. I’m not sure if they are selling seeds for the hybrid or from the hybrid and it makes a difference. You might not be buying the same plant…