by Britta Soderqvist, Estates Plant Curator
Fringed Hibiscus, Hibiscus schizopetalus
The fringed hibiscus is a fast-growing shrub native to Africa. Like other hibiscus, it has five petals and a long stigma, but the petals of this plant are divided and the whole flower hangs down, creating a unique, lantern-like effect.
Our records show that Mina and Thomas Edison enjoyed the beauty of the fringed hibiscus, purchasing at least one plant for the Estates in 1908. Hummingbirds are known to visit the flower and it’s likely that is one of the reasons the Edisons, both avid bird lovers, planted it on their grounds.
Fringed hibiscus will grow in full to part sun although a full day of Florida’s summer sun is probably too much. During drought, water heavily once a week. Individual flowers will bloom for just one or two days but the plant should be in bloom during most of the warm months. The shrub may reach ten feet in height and spread five to six feet on average. Mature plants should recover from a light freeze. Fringed hibiscus may also be grown in pots or hanging baskets.
You can see our mature fringed hibiscus behind the large bougainvillea near the Moonlight Garden. Plants in six inch pots are available for $12 at the Estates Garden Shoppe.