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Products > Hibiscus saintjohnianus
Hibiscus saintjohnianus - Hawaiian Orange Hibiscus
Image of Hibiscus saintjohnianus
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Pacific Islands
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: [H. kokio ssp. saintjohnianus]
Height: 12-20 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Hibiscus saintjohnianus (Hawaiian Orange Hibiscus) - A shrub or small tree that can grow to 20 feet tall with dark green 2 to 3 inch long elliptical leaves and with individual 2 inch wide orange flowers. This hibiscus comes from a small area between 500 and 3,000 feet in elevation on the northwest side of the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, where it grows in moist forests, cliffs and canyon slopes. It was known as Hibiscus saintjohnianus or Hibiscus roetae, but was reclassified as a subspecies of Hibiscus kokio with the subspecies kokio differing by having hairy leaves and stems, long bracts on the calyx, and red flowers. The subspecies kokio is known to grow on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and possibly Hawaii while the subspecies saintjohnianus is native only to northwestern Kauai. DNA evidence has supported the evidence to elevate Hibiscus kokio ssp. saintjohnianus back to full species status as Hibiscus saintjohnianus, though some botanical databases still list it as a subspecies of Hibiscus kokio. We also grow another endemic Kauai hibiscus, the red flowering Hibiscus clayi. The name for the genus comes from 'hibiscos' ,the Greek name for mallow. and the specific epithet honors, Dr. Harold St. John (1892-19991), a professor of botany at the University of Hawaii and one of Hawaii's most well known botanists. The St. John Plant Science Laboratory building on the Manoa campus of the University of Hawaii, which houses the botany department, is named after him. The previous specific epithet comes from koki?o, the Hawaiian language name for the native hibiscus. Other common names for this plant include St. John's Hibiscus, St. John's Rosemallow, Koki'o, Koki'o 'ula , Koki'o 'ula'ula and Maku. We thanks our salesman Matthew Roberts for sharing the cuttings of this plant from his Santa Barbara garden with us. 

Information about Hibiscus saintjohnianus displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.