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Products > Hibiscus clayi
 
Hibiscus clayi - Red Kaua?i Rosemallow
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Pacific Islands
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: [Hibiscus newhousei]
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Hibiscus clayi (Red Kaua?i Rosemallow) A long lived tall, dense and upright shrub or small tree to 10 to 15 feet tall with smooth edged shiny green leaves. This plant produces its showy dark red flowers with 2 to 2 inch wide flaring petals that are held near the ends of the branches year round in in its native Hawaiian islands but tends to bloom here in Santa Barbara spring through fall with peak in early summer (June & July). Plant in full sun with regular garden water. It is hardy to a light frost but best in coastal near frost free gardens. This is a nice garden plant or it can be kept as a container specimen. This plant was once more widespread on the island of Kaua?i in the Hawaiian Islands but because of cattle and wild pig grazing as well as habitat loss, it is now restricted to a few of the drier forests of eastern Kaua?i north of Kapa'a. It is federally listed as an Endangered Species and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The naming and conservation of this plant make for an interesting story. In 1928, Albert W. Duvel discovered several small hibiscus trees on Kaua?i that were damaged by cattle. Duvel had a landscaping business and he essentially rescued the plants by bringing them into cultivation. The plant was later determined to be a new species that Isa and Otto Degener first named in 1959 in their Flora Hawaiiensis (AKA New Illustrated Hawaiian Flora) with the name honoring Horace F. Clay, a horticulturalist and instructor of botany at Leeward Community College on O?ahu. Margaret James Roe, in her study of the genus Hibiscus in Hawaii, named H. newhousei as another species from Kauai, but the currently accepted treatment is that H. newhousei is a synonym of H. clayi. The name for the genus come from the Greek name for mallow. It is commonly called Red Kaua?i Rosemallow or Clay's Hibiscus but its Hawaiian name is Koki?o ?ula with "ula" meaning red. With its abundance of year-round flowers available, these flowers are often found in beautiful leis. We thanks our salesman Matthew Roberts for sharing the cuttings of this plant with us.  The information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Hibiscus clayi.