SUMMERIFIC® ‘BERRY AWESOME’
Grow Dinner Plate-Sized Blooms!
- Giant 7 to 8-inch ruffled blossoms
- Berrylicious lavender pink hues
- Attracts pollinating bees and hummingbirds
- Thrives in sun, heat and humidity
- Huge bang for your buck!
- 4′ tall x 4.5-5′ spread
- Perennial in USDA Zones 4-9
- Great in landscapes
Meet one of the most robust perennials in existence. Growing nearly an inch per day, ‘Berry Awesome’ perennial hibiscus emerges in late spring every year to form a huge, shrub-like mass of deep midnight green foliage. Plump purple buds pop open to reveal giant blossoms every day beginning in midsummer, lasting until fall. Find a sunny place where the sprinkler reaches or a low spot where rain tends to pool, then watch this magnificent perennial thrive.
HOW TO GROW SUMMERIFIC® ‘BERRY AWESOME’
Hibiscus needs two things to thrive: abundant sunshine and water. Make sure you choose a place where your sprinkler or hose will reach. The end of your downspout or a low spot in your landscape where rain tends to pool after a heavy downpour would be a perfect spot for a perennial hibiscus.
It’s best to plant this perennial before the heat of summer arrives. Start looking for one at your local garden center in early summer. Early fall is another good time to plant hardy hibiscus.
This perennial has a larger root system than most. It’s not so large that it will ruin your foundation, but it’s big enough that you will need to dig a large hole, so find a good shovel before you start. Dig the hole about twice as wide but just as deep as the container it is growing in. Add some water to the hole to moisten the soil before you set the plant in place. While you’re at it, water the plant in the pot one more time. Moist hole + moist plant = great results.
Don’t worry if you have clay soil–this plant has strong roots that will grow right through it. If your soil is mostly sandy and tends to dry out quickly, add several handfuls of humus, compost or aged manure when you backfill the hole. It will provide extra nutrients and water-holding capacity to the soil.
If the roots are densely circled around when you take the plant out of the pot, loosen them up a bit to break the “root memory”. This will encourage them to grow outward instead of continuing to grow in a circular pattern.
Set the plant in the hole, making sure that the top of the rootball is level with the top of the surrounding soil. Then backfill the hole with the soil you dug out and any amendments you may have added. Press it down with your hand firmly to eliminate any big air pockets around the roots.
Lastly, water the plant again to help the soil settle. Spread some mulch around the base of the plant, taking care to keep it from touching the plant’s stems. The mulch will help to retain soil moisture and protect the roots during winter.
The most important thing to remember about growing hardy hibiscus is that it does not like to dry out. Don’t wait until the plant wilts to water. Yellowing, droopy foliage and flower buds that fall off before they open are a sign that the soil is too dry.
This is one of the last perennials to emerge in spring, but it more than makes up for its late start with incredibly vigorous growth–as much as an inch per day! In the Midwest, it may emerge in late May but will be in full glorious bloom by mid-July. In the South, it will emerge and bloom much earlier.
In spring before the new growth appears, use a strong pair of loppers or a saw to cut the woody stems down to 4-6″ above the ground. The new growth will all come from below the ground, so there’s no need to keep last year’s stems.
When it starts to grow in spring, scratch a slow release fertilizer formulated for perennials into the soil around the base of the plant. You could fertilize again in midsummer if you wish, but it is not necessary.
Other than pruning the entire plant back in spring, no pruning is needed for hardy hibiscus. The spent blossoms will dry up and fall off on their own, leaving bright chartreuse bracts in their place. You could pick off the spent flowers to improve its aesthetics, but that will not prolong the bloom time.
The main pest that affects perennial hibiscus is Japanese beetles. If they are a problem in your area, check your local Extension office website for ways to combat them.
Create a kaleidoscope of color in your sunny landscape by pairing Summerific® ‘Berry Awesome’ perennial hibiscus with other sun loving plants that prefer moist soil.
Plant a grouping of shorter ‘Pardon My Purple’ bee balm perennials in front that will bloom around the same time as ‘Berry Awesome’.
Flank the sides with Prairie Winds® ‘Cheyenne Sky’ ornamental grasses whose deep burgundy color will complement the bright lavender pink blossoms.
Create a dramatic backdrop with the tall, dark, lacy foliage of Black Lace® elderberry. These are just a few of many plants that will grow beautifully with Summerific® ‘Berry Awesome’. If you’d prefer to let it take center stage during its midsummer to fall bloom time, look for companions that bloom earlier in the season.