If you crave a taste of the tropics in the North, try growing hardy hibiscus plants. They often produce flowers of a size rare for plants that can survive cold winters. Perennials that serve as excellent foundation planting, hibiscus are a colorful addition to a garden. They can be planted in spring or fall (as long as there is no risk of frost) and grow quickly. The showy flowers—often referred to as "dinner plate hibiscus"—feature tissue-thin, ruffled petals in blues, pinks, reds, and whites. However, they're better suited to the landscape than to being cut and placed in a vase, where they'll last only a day or so.
Provide enriched, well-drained soil. Water deeply, regularly to maintain moist soil; does not tolerate dry conditions well. Fertilize in early spring and regularly during the growing season. Remove spent blooms for a tidy appearance, and pinch stems back to promote bushier growth. Can be hard pruned to the ground in late winter to early spring.