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Fun Facts About Hibiscus

The ever popular hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is more versatile than we usually think. Source:

The Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is among the most widely grown houseplants in the world and is no less popular as a flowering shrub for outdoor use in the tropics. And who doesn’t instantly recognize its huge dish-shaped flower that comes in such a wide range of colors?

But this popular plant is not just a pretty face. It also has its share of secrets, including the following:

  1. Hibiscus buds and flowers are edible, with a lemony taste, and are rich in vitamin C. They can be used in chutneys, soups, salads, curries, jams and jellies. Dried, they are also used in herbal tea.
  2. The Chinese hibiscus is the floral emblem of Haiti and Malaysia.
  3. A hibiscus flower normally lasts only one day, but will remain open for that whole day without needing to be placed in water, making it a greatif short-liveddecoration.

    20181220B KENPEI, Wikimedia Commons
    The variegation of H. rosa-sinensis.‘Cooperi’ is caused by a virus. Source: KENPEI, Wikimedia Commons
  4. The white or white and pink variegated foliage of some hibiscus, such as H. rosa-sinensis Cooperi, is caused by a virus that can be transmitted to other hibiscus plants through grafting. The virus is not considered harmful, but even so, variegated hibiscus bloom much less abundantly than varieties with entirely green leaves.
  5. Rubbed on shoes, hibiscus blooms bring back the natural luster of leather, hence the common name shoe plantor shoeblack plantin India.
  6. The Chinese hibiscus is used as a pharmaceutical plant in traditional medicine in China and many other Asian countries.
  7. 20181220C
    Is she available? The flower will tell! Source:

    In former times, Polynesian women used wear a hibiscus flower in their hair. If they wore the flower to the right, that meant she was looking for a partner. If she was married, she wore the flower on the left.

  8. A hibiscus flower can be used to determine the pH of a liquid. The flower turns dark pink or magenta in an acidic solution and green in an alkaline one.
  9. Colorful hibiscus flowers are often used as a natural dye.

    Hibiscus flowers float on the Ganges as a offering to Kali. Source:
  10. In the Hindu religion, the flower of the hibiscus represents Kali, the goddess of preservation, transformation and destruction. Believers traditionally give hibiscus flowers as an offering.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

2 comments on “Fun Facts About Hibiscus

  1. Pingback: The Hibiscus Trio – Laidback Gardener

  2. Lovely post. I? hibiscus. They grew everywhere on the island where I grew up. Thank you for the lovely reminder.?

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