Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lord Baltimore Hibiscus, Sterile or Not ?

All summer long I've been driving by a local bank parking lot seeing these vibrant red flowers. The plants got taller and taller and the blooms kept coming. This past Sunday I had my camera and I swooped into the parking lot at the last minute. Gary said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I want to get a photo of the red flowers before the frost that's expected". When I walked up I saw the flower was a hibiscus. At home I looked up the flower and found out it was Lord Baltimore.Hibiscus, a hardy hibiscus.

Then I noticed hundreds of seed heads ripe for the picking. I decided to harvest a few and ran back to the car to get a bag. As I was picking them I thought about all the cameras in banks and wondered if I'd receive a visit from the police for taking seed heads. The end of the season is a perfect time to gather seeds. As I picked the seed heads I thought there's enough here to share with someone. I just know one of my readers will want some of these seeds. Gary of course was annoyed with me for this short detour taking seeds at the bank. Later I thought this is just the sort of thing he'll miss about me when I die. Not that I think about dying all the time but when you get to a certain age you wonder when the end will come.

The Lord Baltimore hibiscus, in the mallow family, stands almost eight feet tall and five feet around and is perfect perennial for the back of a border. The slightly woody and coarse growth habit is made up for with the profuse blooming habit. It blooms all summer long and the bright red flowers contrast against the dark green foliage. The five lobed serrated leaflets almost look like a maple leaf.

Later I came home and found out Lord Baltimore hibiscus, a hardy hibiscus, is a cross between four different hibiscus and is sterile. So I have a bag full of seeds and they're worthless for planting. Hybrids have their place but in this case the seeds won't germinate. My gentle reader I was thinking of sharing with you when I picked these seeds but you'll have to be satisfied with my good intentions instead.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE, I just read the plant doesn't form seed heads after blooming and this one has, perhaps it isn't sterile. Anyone want to try these seeds in the Spring to find out? Let me know and I'll send you a few. The seeds need to be planted in a moist location after all danger of frost is gone and patience is needed for germination. The middle two photos are borrowed from the net. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. They are pretty, I hope they do grow for you.

  2. HI Lori, thanks, I hope they grow as well, the red really stands out as I've been driving by, we shall see.

  3. Beautiful flowers. All the best. ~ Catherine

  4. Hi Catherine, thanks, they are spectacular in bloom and were blooming all summer long.

  5. Linda, I would plant them and see if they germinate. You might be surprised. We have had Hibiscus in our yard here in Texas, but of course I don't know what particular variety it was.

  6. so beautiful!! We inherited a similar gorgeous hibiscus in our backyard (we're also in Texas) that blooms all summer and is so lovely to look at -- it just takes your breath away in the morning. It's red, too!

  7. Hi Rian, thanks, I read a lot about this particular hibiscus coming from ones native in Texas; I will definitely plant them next Spring.

    Hi Teresa, thanks, this one is a lovely red and is very striking in the landscape, I noticed driving by the bank and so it must be spectacular to see up close when in full bloom too.


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