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Fun Facts About Hibiscus

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

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 alohaoutlet.com.jpg
    Is she available? The flower will tell! Source: alohaoutlet.com

    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.

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    Hibiscus flowers float on the Ganges as a offering to Kali. Source: http://www.wikiwand.com
  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.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “Fun Facts About Hibiscus

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

  2. Pingback: The Hibiscus Trio – Laidback Gardener

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