27 Rare Kinds of Hibiscus That Will Take Your Breath Away

Step into the world of Hibiscus, where the trumpet-shaped, vibrant flowers captivate your senses. With over 200 species ¹ to explore, these tropical and subtropical wonders span stunning colors and patterns. Known for their dramatic pistil protrusions, hibiscus plants grace gardens with exotic flair.

We’ll explore rare kinds of Hibiscus that you may have never heard of. Some even have fascinating uses, such as being an ingredient in shoe polish!

27 Rare Kinds of Hibiscus Plant Varieties

Some hibiscus plants might be harder to find in your area because they are more prevalent in other parts of the world. But you can mix and match them to create a tropical paradise in your garden this year, with colorful displays during spring and summer.

1. Abelmosk

musk mallow hibiscus flower

Abelmosk, also known as Musk Seed, Kaasturi, or Musk Mallow, is a special hibiscus plant that originates from India. It grows annually and can reach a height of two to six feet.

One of its unique features is its robust and musky fragrance when its flowers bloom. Not only is Abelmosk an attractive plant, but its seeds, young shoots, and leaves are also edible and can be added to a healthy diet. Additionally, homeopaths often recommend the flower for treating urethritis and gonorrheal cystitis.

2. Aphrodite

Aphrodite hibiscus

Aphrodite is a unique hibiscus plant known for its large, dark pink flowers with a bright yellow center. It blooms from mid to late summer when planted in an area with a mix of shade and sunlight.

The six to eight-inch wide fuchsia flower stands out against the plant’s dark green foliage. It can grow in almost any soil and blooms every August. A cross between Vin Extraordinaire and Space Oddity, Aphrodite typically grows between two and three feet tall.

3. Berry Awesome

https://youtu.be/xp3XDQxB_jA

Berry Awesome is a rare and stunning hibiscus plant that was named the 2019 Proven Winner Perennial of the Year by Walters Gardens in Michigan ³. Its vibrant hot pink petals with a crimson center create seven- to eight-inch blooms that make your garden stand out. In addition, the Hibiscus has deep green foliage that provides a beautiful backdrop to the flowers that appear from July through September.

The plant grows up to four feet in height and width, creating a dense and compact shrub that looks great in a flower border or pot. Additionally, it’s winter-hardy, making it easy to care for year-round.

4. Blue Bird (Hibiscus Syriacus)

blue bird hibiscus

Blue Bird, also known as Hibiscus Syriacus, is a unique and compact hibiscus that produces bluish-purple flowers. It is a versatile and low-maintenance perennial that grows up to 3-4′ tall and is perfect for creating hedges or adding beauty to any garden.

The dark green foliage and gently ruffled blooms make it popular for cottage and classic gardens. This rare kind of Hibiscus is also drought-resistant and can thrive in low soil conditions. With its hardiness, it can survive in zones five to nine, making it an excellent choice for any garden.

5. Blue River II

Blue River II  hibiscus

The Blue River II is a lovely hibiscus plant that’s easy to care for. It grows best in soil rich in organic matter and gets plenty of sunlight. This plant can grow quite tall, up to 12-15 feet, making it perfect for creating a dramatic effect in your garden.

The flowers of this plant are white and have a hollyhock-like appearance with five petals. While each flower only lasts for a day, they bloom in succession from midsummer to early fall, giving you a continuous display of beauty. The flowers contrast beautifully against the plant’s pale green foliage.

6. Brackenridgei (Brackenridgei)

Brackenridgei hibiscus

Hawaiian Hibiscus, also known as Brackenridgei, is a rare and beautiful plant that is the state flower of Hawaii. This Hibiscus produces stunning golden and vibrant blooms, making it a showstopper in any garden. It can grow up to 30′ tall, but 15-foot shrubs and trees are more common.

One of the fantastic things about this plant is that it blooms earlier in the year, from early spring through mid-summer. Hawaii is home to seven native species of Hibiscus, all of which thrive in the warm and humid climate of the islands. So adding Hawaiian Hibiscus to your garden is an great way to add some tropical flair.

7. Cannabinus (Kenaf)

Cannabinus hibiscus

The Cannabinus, known as Kenaf, is a unique plant known for its high fiber content used to manufacture jute. It produces a large, striking red blossom around three to four inches across and blooms in early summer or spring.

The Kenaf thrives in well-draining soil and prefers a sunny spot. It is an excellent addition to any garden as it not only adds color but also has practical uses.

8. Champagne

Champagne hibiscus

Champagne hibiscus bushes have large, solitary flowers that can grow up to eight inches in diameter. The flowers come in various shades of red with a small red center.

This rare hibiscus hybrid was created by crossing ‘Rainbow Christie’ and golden brown ‘Muffin Man’ plants. The flowers have a smooth, even texture and look silky.

9. China Rose

china rose flower

China Rose is a versatile China shrub that can withstand frost and thrives in the tropics. Although some may be surprised to learn that the flowers are used as a natural shoe polish, it’s important to note that they also come in various vivid hues, including red, pink, yellow, and orange. 

The plant can grow up to 25 feet tall and produce blooms varying in size from three to four inches long. Furthermore, single-petal and double-petal varieties are available, and the flowers boast elongated columns containing the stamens. 

10. Coccineus (Texas Star Hibiscus)

Texas Star Hibiscus or Hibiscus coccineus is a native plant of the Southeastern United States, particularly in wetland areas. It can reach up to 8 feet tall and produces large, deep red flowers that measure up to 6 inches wide.

Coccineus prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. While it can withstand periods of drought, it is not frost-tolerant and may require mulching to protect its roots during winter.

As a wetland plant, it is an attractive option for creating rain gardens or in areas with poor drainage. It is also known to attract various pollinators, such as hummingbirds and bees.

11. Exuberance

Exuberance is a hybrid hibiscus plant that produces large, colorful blooms between seven and nine inches wide. The flowers come in vibrant hues like oranges, yellows, pinks, and reds.

This hybrid Hibiscus was created by combining the Fireball and Saffron plants, which were medium-sized and colorful and served as the genetic foundation for Exuberance.

12. Flower of an Hour (Hibiscus trionum)

Hibiscus trionum, also known as the Flower of an Hour, is a lovely and rare variety of Hibiscus that can grow up to four feet tall. With its beautiful yellow or cream-colored flowers and striking red centers, this plant will surely add elegance to any garden or home.

13. Furcellatus

Hawaiian Furcellatus

The Hawaiian Furcellatus is a hibiscus shrub that can grow up to 6 to 10 feet tall and is great for landscaping in hedges or containers. It can grow well in damp soil, such as beside streams, and produces stunning purple and pink flowers that bloom all year round.

These flowers contrast the heart-shaped leaves and green foliage, making them an excellent addition to any garden.

14. Giant Rose Mallow

Giant Rose Mallow

Giant Rose Mallow is a rare hibiscus plant with wider leaves and can grow much taller than the Hibiscus Moscheutos. Its flowers are often a lovely shade of pink and bloom in succession from midsummer until the first frost in fall. The plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight and wet, healthy garden soil.

15. Hawaiian Hibiscus

Hawaiian Hibiscus

Hawaiian Hibiscus refers to seven rare species of Hibiscus native to Hawaii. These plants have large, vibrant-colored petals and are known for their fast growth and long-lasting nature compared to other hibiscus varieties once planted.

16. Insularis (Phillip Island Hibiscus)

Phillip Island hibiscus

Insularis, also known as the Phillip Island hibiscus flower, is a rare type of Hibiscus native to an island located off the coast of Australia. It has a unique starfish shape and prominent stamens.

This plant is highly endangered and has a tropical habitat in its native range. It has an unusual growth pattern, developing two bunches in the wild. If you want to build a hedge or privacy screen with it, you’ll need to provide sturdy support.

17. Luna Pink Swirl

Luna Pink Swirl

Luna Pink Swirl is a tenacious perennial plant that produces large white or pink flowers with dark red centers. It can grow up to 8′ tall with a blossom diameter almost as large.

This plant thrives in rich, consistently wet, well-drained soil but should be provided extra care since it can be susceptible to a deadly fungus. The flower petals are bright pink on one side and fade to a softer shade on the other, making it a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds.

18. Luna Red

luna red hibiscus

Luna Red is a perennial plant that produces large white or pink flowers with dark red centers. The plant can grow up to 8′ tall with a blossom diameter nearly as large. It thrives in consistently wet, well-drained soil but is susceptible to a deadly fungus and requires extra care.

The flower petals are bright pink on one side and fade to a softer shade on the other. This plant is attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

19. Mango Liqueur

Mango Liqueur is a type of hibiscus plant that produces vivid red, fluffy flowers with a yellow gradient on the border, making them a fantastic variety of Hibiscus. There is also a hybrid plant called Creme de Cacao Muffin Man, named for its fluffy white flowers.

20. Moscheutos (Rose Mallow)

Moscheutos Hibiscus

The Moscheutos, also known as Rose Mallow, is a perennial shrub growing up to eight feet tall and produces stunning red flowers with a mix of colors. The flowers have a white or white-and-maroon base with a maroon or rose hue in the middle.

They are part of the Malvaceae family and have dark green foliage with golden anthers. The flowers are about 12 inches in diameter and have a long blooming period from summer until the first frost.

21. Mutabilis (Dixie Rose Mallow)

Mutabilis is a rare hibiscus

Mutabilis is a rare hibiscus that goes by Dixie Rose Mallow and Confederate Rose. The plant has green or white foliage and produces double-bloomed flowers, which can add color to any garden.

The flowers are four to six inches wide and bloom from summer to fall. They start off primarily white and pink but eventually turn a brilliant red. This plant thrives in moist, well-drained soil and prefers partial to full shade.

22. Rock Hibiscus (Hibiscus denudatus)

Rock Hibiscus (Hibiscus denudatus)

The Rock Hibiscus is a rare shrub native to United States and Mexico and the typically grows in rocky areas. It has thin, triangular-shaped gray leaves and can thrive at altitudes up to 3000 feet .

The plant produces five-petaled flowers with a diameter of up to three inches, which can come in shades of pink, dark purple, or white.

23. Rosa-Sinensis (Chinese Hibiscus)

Chinese Hibiscus

Rosa-Sinensis, also known as the Chinese Hibiscus, is a popular tropical plant often associated with Hawaii. It produces brilliant red flowers that are visually striking. While the plant’s origin is unknown, its 24-hour-lasting flowers suggest an Asian origin.

Although the flowers are short-lived, this plant blooms throughout a long growing season and is attractive to butterflies and birds. It is often found in tropical areas and used for shoe polishing.

24. Rose of Sharon

rose of sharon hibiscus

Rose of Sharon, also known by the botanical name Hibiscus Syriacus, is a tough plant that can easily be grown as a shrub. It is popular in South Korea due to its long blooming season from late summer to the first frost. The plant produces purple, white, and other colored blooms. It can grow 5 to 15 feet tall and has oval leaves with sharp teeth. The flowers have three to five-inch long petals surrounded by dark green foliage. Proper trimming is essential for achieving large blooms.

25. Sabdariffa (Roselle)

Sabdariffa, also known as Roselle, is a well-known hibiscus plant cultivar used for culinary purposes. It has attractive white flowers that open from blood-red buds and is commonly found in herb gardens worldwide.

In addition, the Roselle plant is used in popular Jamaican alcoholic beverages for its therapeutic benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and relieving constipation . It is prepared as tea in Central America and served with sugar and lime.

26. Secret Heart

Secret Heart is a rare hibiscus plant with a two-toned pink bloom and a striking red core. When planted in alkaline soil, it produces larger blossoms. The flower starts as pink and red in colder weather and changes to a full blue bloom in warmer temperatures.

The flower is primarily blue with a warmer pink margin. The plant’s foliage comes from the Creme de Cacao mother, while the blue hue and red berry core are from the Rocket’s Red Glare father.

27. Tiliaceus (Coast Hibiscus)

tiliaceus hibiscus

The Tiliaceus, also known as the Coast Hibiscus and a member of the Mallow family, is a shrub that can grow to a mature height of 10-20 feet. Coast Hibiscus’ young branches, flowers, and buds are covered with short shaft hair.

The plant produces striking yellow flowers with a red center held aloft by flexible, long stalks. The foliage is heart-shaped, dark green, and has a gray-to-white coloration. The large and impressive flowers make for a visually stunning addition to any garden.

5 Main Types of Hibiscus

If you’re a fan of hibiscus plants, you’re in luck – there’s a whole world of varieties to explore! There’s something for everyone, from annuals and perennials to tropical and hardy types.

So, know the rare kinds can be in one of five main types of Hibiscus:

1. Annual Hibiscus

One popular hibiscus variety is the Annual Hibiscus. Don’t let the name fool you, though – it only blooms once a year. In warmer climates, you might spot the rare Red Leaf or Chinese Hibiscus, which people often grow in pots. These plants can be found in various stunning colors, from vibrant reds to a spectrum of hues.

2. Perennial Hibiscus

Perennial hibiscus plants come in many shapes and sizes, from small groundcovers to towering trees. Some rare species include Scarlet Swamp Hibiscus, Confederate Roses, and Rose Mallow, which can be either tropical or hardy. Among them, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the most common.

3. Tropical Hibiscus

The tropical Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, shares certain characteristics with the native species of Hibiscus found in southern Florida and Louisiana. This variety is the most commonly seen and comes in various sizes and colors for you to choose from. The plant produces enormous, flamboyant blooms that can be a riot of color and are perfect to add a tropical flair.

4. Native Hibiscus

Native Hibiscus, or Rose Mallows, is a unique variety native to the southern United States, with about 35 species ². One well-loved example is the Florida Scarlet Rose Mallow, which can grow up to eight feet tall! Although these plants are usually found in marshes, they can thrive in drier conditions. Sometimes, you might hear people call them Marsh Hibiscus.

5. Hardy Hibiscus

The Hardy Hibiscus is an evergreen shrub that can be as beautiful as its tropical counterparts. Look for the Rose of Sharon, which can have purple, white, or pink flowers and other big, attention-grabbing blooms.

Bottom Line

These rare kinds of hibiscus varieties will give your garden, deck, or patio a splash of color and a touch of the tropics. Creating a stunning custom appearance throughout the growing season is simple by combining various kinds.

References

1: Hibiscus – New World Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Hibiscus – New World Encyclopedia. https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hibiscus

2: Hardy Hibiscus or Rose Mallows for Iowa. (n.d.). Hardy Hibiscus or Rose Mallows for Iowa | Horticulture and Home Pest News. https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2018/07/hardy-hibiscus-or-rose-mallows-iowa

3: Inc., W. G. (n.d.). Hibiscus “Berry Awesome” PP27936 CPBR5647 | Walters Gardens, Inc. Hibiscus “Berry Awesome” PP27936 CPBR5647 | Walters Gardens, Inc. https://www.waltersgardens.com/variety.php?ID=HIBBA

4: Southwest, T. A. (n.d.). Western USA wildflowers: Paleface Rock Hibiscus, Hibiscus Denudatus. Western USA Wildflowers: Paleface Rock Hibiscus, Hibiscus Denudatus. https://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/wildflowers/hibiscus-denudatus.html

5: Roselle – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (n.d.). Roselle – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/edibles/vegetables/roselle.html

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.