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Hibiscus are fast growing and long living plants that provide that classic 'tropical' feel to gardens.

Grown in Melbourne they will tend to struggle with the cold winters but if you provied them with the right conditions - ie north or west facing wall with shelter from frosts, then there is no reason why they shouldn't do well.

Plants will grow from between 2-4 meters in height. The most beautiful characteristic of this plant is its colourful flowers. The flowers will only last a day or two but from late spring to early autum they will flower profusly. The leaves will tend to yellow a little in the cold of winter here in Melbournebut a quick trim early spring will invigorate the plant back to producing new growth in summer.

I have found that if you plant them under the eves of your hous on the north side or under the canopy of a tree to protect them from frosts they stay green for most of the year, obviously there are varietys that are better sutied to Melbournes climate (check lables for growing conditions) but to me it is the Ruth Willcox", "Topsy" and "Hawiian Skyes" that scream "tropics" to me.

Hibiscus need sun and lots of it, also they are very heavy feeders as they are part of the cotton family of plants. So a poolside planting would be an optimal position for them in Melbourne - relfected light, mostiure and humidity.

Remember to feed them plenty - compost, blood and bone or liquid fertalizer keep the water up over the summer and you too can have a tropical oasis like our northern neighbours.