Novel winter-hardy hibiscus hybrids introduced to US market

Hibiscus Cordon Bleu from Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus – photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Hibiscus Cordon Bleu from Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus – photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

AgriLifeToday, a bulletin of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announces that the 2018 Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus collection by Texas A&M AgriLife Research debuts this weekend in the US with 11 cultivars winter-hardy hibiscus hybrids commercialized by Texan J. Berry Nursery in Grand Saline.
“For the first time ever, in collaboration with J. Berry Nursery, we have developed a number of compact cultivars with novel flower colors ranging from the illusive blue, through various shades of red, coral, magenta, purple, silver and dual colors,” says Dr. Dariusz Malinowski, plant physiologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon in AgriLifeToday.
It started in 2010 with ‘Blue Angel’
Malinowski and his team were the first to introduce a blue color to the winter-hardy hibiscus. In 2010, they released a hybrid cultivar, ‘Blue Angel’, that was considered as a breakthrough achievement in the breeding efforts to create novel flower colors in this species. Based on the genetics of ‘Blue Angel’, Malinowski has developed about 20 winter-hardy hibiscus hybrids with improved blue color, flower size and plant growth. “Three of these blue-flowering hybrids are included in the 2018 Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus Collection”, he says.
“This spring, J. Berry Nursery will conduct an introductory sale of several of our hibiscus hybrids in selected retail stores. The whole series has been named Summer Spice and the names of the individual cultivars have been chosen to describe the unique characteristics of these beautiful additions to the summer gardens.”
Nine varieties offered for sale in spring 2018
Hibiscus Ambrosia from Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus – photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Hibiscus Ambrosia from Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus – photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

There will be nine varieties offered for sale in spring 2018. The cultivar ‘Plum Flambe’ will be available in late summer,” adds Malinowski. “We have achieved enormous success with creating novel flower colors in the winter-hardy hibiscus in a very short time, in just seven years of our research. We still are developing even more attractive colors of flower and foliage, and these new hybrids will soon complement the Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus collection.”
Colors
Hibiscus Creme de la Cocoa- from Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus – photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Hibiscus Creme de la Cocoa- from Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus – photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

The 2018 Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus collection will offer the following cultivars: ‘Amaretto’, coral-salmon, ‘Ambrosia’, fuchsia with white eye, ‘Bleu Brulee’, sky blue, ‘Brandy Bleu’, blue, ‘Cordon Bleu’, blue, ‘Crème de la Crème’, white with serrated petal edges, ‘Crepe Suzette’, bright pink, ‘Grape Sorbet’, purple, and ‘Plum Flambe’, light plum.
Two more cultivars, ‘Crème de la Cocoa’, very dark red, and ‘Pink Champagne’, folly red, will be offered for sale in spring 2019. In addition to these flower colors, Malinowski says the new cultivars have compact growth and are adapted in Texas plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.