Missouri is well known for the August dearth. Temperatures tend to reach their record summer highs as kids head back to school and potted plants strain to make it to cooler September days.
One of the plants that doesn't seem to mind the heat is tropical hibiscus. We had them growing in our garden when we lived in Brazil. After graduating from college, I adopted my first red tropical hibiscus and have had a number of these southern hemisphere plants in pots since then.
In addition to blooming when little else has the energy to do so, tropical hibiscus are relatively easy to care for. It helps that they also tend to bloom in January, quickly brightening dismal winter days.
The key is, to say again, they are in pots. They spend cold months inside my house, then move outside spring through fall to green up my outside deck.
Tropical hibiscus are available in a variety of colors. The double-blooming varieties are pretty but not easily accessible to visiting hummingbirds so I tend to favor the single varieties.
They require more acid conditions so offering them the correct fertilizer keeps them happy during stressful weather conditions.
If you want to add a potted tropical hibiscus for winter color, start looking for garden sales now. These tend to be one of the last plants to get discounted but it's worth the wait. Some can be pricey.
Tropical hibiscus also make wonderful gifts so think about brightening someone's day in fall.
They tend to be sold as little bushes but I prefer to prune them into a tree form.
One of my newer varieties is an orange bloom, much smaller than the tropical hibiscus trees I have lived with over the decades. I kept that tropical hibiscus as a bush to help highlight the smaller flowers against a green back drop.
My last tropical hibiscus find were single yellow-flowering blooms with a deep burgundy throat. I bought two on sale at the end of the summer season last year knowing they were yellow but not knowing about the striking burgundy center.
My hummingbirds love these tropical hibiscus trees. The burgundy center must look like a nectar bulls eye to them!