Hibiscus Insularis - Philip Island Hibiscus
Hibiscus Insularis is also known as Philip Island Hibiscus, due to its’ being found in only ONE spot in the wild (can you guess where?)
This beautiful Hibiscus plant, a member of the Malvaceae family, is actually one of the rarest of its genus, being native only to Philip Island (a small island south of Norfolk Island in Australia) and was discovered in just two clumps of flowing shrub. Since its discovery, cultivation outside of its natural habitat has greatly increased the numbers of Hibiscus Insularis.
To cope with its self imposed exile, Hibiscus Insularis has developed unique methods of survival, and can even self pollinate. When a flower first appears on a branch it is female, but by the following day it has changed to male. Clever stuff! It is this survival method that has ensured this beautiful Hibiscus has kept going even though in its natural habitat it was severely damaged by foraging animals and feral pigs and sheep-these have now been removed, and the plant thrives cautiously in its natural habitat as well as being cultivated in botanical centres and in people’s gardens.
It is described as a tall shrub or small tree, reaching up to 2 and a half metres in height and has tiny, delicate green leaves from its shooting branches. The leaves take a while to mature, but when they do they are deep green, longer than their juvenile state, and lobed in appearance.
The flowers, when they first emerge, are pale green and creamy coloured, with a striking magenta centre, but as they age they darken to soft pinks and purples. Amazingly, Hibiscus Insularis will bloom for most of the year-10 months or so with the right conditions.
How To Grow Hibiscus Insularis
What are the right conditions, I hear you cry? Well, luckily for those who want to introduce this lonely beauty into their gardens, it is a very forgiving plant which will grow just about anywhere there is full sunshine and occasional shade. It likes to have rich, well draining soil, and will benefit from a natural, all round Organic plant feed.
Native to subtropical areas, your hibiscus won’t like to get too cold, so if you live in cooler areas then it may like to be covered by fleece or mulch in colder times of the year. It will also happily survive in a greenhouse or a large pot indoors.
Hibiscus Insularis In Your Garden
Philip Island Hibiscus is an evergreen, making it ideal for a hedging plant even when it is not in flower, and its long flowering season makes it a welcome addition to any garden.
This beautiful flowering shrub, which is a Critically Endangered species under Australian environmental legislation, is a wonderful plant to grow. Added to the attraction of its beauty, scent and pretty flowers, you can feel a small glow of satisfaction when it is established in your garden, as you will be helping to propagate this lovely endangered species. Well done!