Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, "Rose of China" is believed to
be a native of Southern China, and is thought to have grown there
since before the 13th Century.
Hibiscus flowers eventually populated India and the Pacific Islands, and then onwards to Hawaii.
The flowers appeared in Europe in the 1700's and the United States in the 1800's.
Of the annuals, the African and Manihot are best known in the flower garden, being considered very showy plants
and quite distinct in appearance, which is not the case with the whole variety.
Of the perennial the most cultivated Hibiscus are
the white and pink, both magnificent plants, exhibiting large flowers about 5 inches in diameter, beautiful and
Hibiscus flowers usually only last for one day, opening in the morning and wilting late afternoon. To compensate
for this the buds grow quickly and are opening all the time.
The plants are propagated by seeds, or by dividing the roots, and should be planted in the border.
If the seeds are
sown early in the spring, they will frequently flower the first season and improve in size and beauty as the
plant advances, for the first five years, while it still retains its noble appearance.
Hibiscus flowers grow tall, and are best planted around the border, they need no further care after being
transplanted, than cutting off the flower stem when done flowering.
Some of the flowers are a little perfumed, but the vast majority have no fragrance at all.
Chinese porcelain was found to be decorated with Hibiscus flowers dating back to the time of the Ming Dynasty
(1368 - 1644).
Ancient Chinese silk tapestries were also adorned with the flowers. Dye was produced from the flowers and used
as a hair dye. It is also called shoe black paint.
It is the state flower of
Hawaii, and the flowers are worn in the hair and as garlands around the neck.
The flowers are edible and in the Pacific Islands they use them in salads.
Hibiscus flowers are widespread in Fiji and a most pictureque sight to see.
In 1956 The Hibiscus Festival was started. This is a very glittering occasion that is celebrated for one whole
week, every year, by the people of Fiji.