Many of the brightly coloured flowers mentioned in Caroline's article which are typical Mediterranean verandahs and balconies are originally from the sub-tropics. This becomes apparent when a sharp frost burns the foliage or indeed kills the whole plant. Even in the mild microclimate of Traude Gotsis' garden in Messinia, Greece, most Hibiscus rosa-sinensis varieties have to be given winter protection. Pictured below is a sample of Traude's collection, a number of which she has grown from seed.
Information about Hibiscus species can be found in two articles which have previously appeared in:
The Mediterranean Garden No. 29 July 2002 Hibiscus Species in a Greek Garden by Irmtraud Gotsis
The Mediterranean Garden No. 38 October 2004 The Queen of the Tropics by Irmtraud Gotsis
The hardiest Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the single red with a black throat
which is grown in standard form as a street tree in mild regions.
Other varieties are frost sensitive and will need winter protection where temperatures fall towards zero.
Variety from Florida
If Hibiscus fans want to get Hibiscus rosa-sinensis seeds in Europe they should look at the International Hibiscus Society website. Ulla Lengdobler, a German who speaks perfect English is the head of distribution for Hibiscus seeds from all over the world and has helped me find seeds of many exciting varieties.