The beautiful hibiscus flower is loved around the world. Several species of hibiscus grow well in North Carolina as the hardy hibiscus thrives in zones 6-8 and, unlike their tropical cousins, require little winter care. Greensboro is zone 7 on the USDA hardiness zone scale. Hibiscus flowers are edible and many cultures boil the flowers to make hot and cold beverages. The drink is a mild diuretic with some health benefits. So, if you've made a commitment to planting edibles, this is a plant that would add beauty in your yard and make a nice beverage to serve. While dried hibiscus is a delicacy in Mexico, we think we'll stick with growing its relative in the mallow family, okra* for our dinner table.
The above specimen was found growing next to the mailbox in the Forest Oaks home we featured yesterday. The flowers on their plant are 6-8" in diameter and make a showy display in the front yard of this golf course community. Sometimes you hear them called saucer or flying saucer hibiscus.
A reader asked us to identify the large-leafed plant next to the porch in yesterday's photo. It is an elephant ear leaf, a member of the taro family and, in some cultures, parts of it are eaten. As always, before you start eating out of your yard, research the culinary aspects carefully to avoid any parts of a plant that may be toxic. We're fairly confident that the Forest Oaks family in yesterday's home are growing all of these plants for their beauty. If you get a moment, photograph your summer yard. In Greensboro, fall is nipping at our heels.
*see our okra patch here.