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American Hibiscus Society’s annual show and sale returns next Saturday

By Staff | Apr 21, 2022

Mango Moon hibiscus

The oldest, largest, and best-attended among the Sunshine State hibiscus shows is returning next weekend to Fort Myers.

The James E. Hendry Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society will hold its 69th annual Hibiscus Show/Plant Sale on April 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. at First Assembly of God church.

“The event will showcase hundreds of different hybrid hibiscus blooms in a variety of colors and forms which will be judged in several different classes including amateur, collector, open collector, commercial, miniatures & seedlings” said society President Jack Bernatz in a statement.

In addition, more than 500 hybrid hibiscus plants will be for sale. Free raffle tickets will be given away every 30 minutes for gift certificates from various local establishments and businesses.

Organizers say this is the best opportunity Southwest Floridians have to add to their hybrid hibiscus collection. This showy and colorful plant grows abundantly in Florida’s tropical climate.

“The flowers, the blooms, are absolutely stunning,” said Cathy Dunn, board member of the society. “These are tropical hibiscus, which are very hybridized and special. They’re beautiful blooms that really brighten up your yard and are unusual.”

Dunn, a master gardener in her own right, said the selections to be found at the show are extremely unique and not often up for sale. These are not plants that can be found at big box stores, or even most nurseries.

Hybrid hibiscus plants for sale at this show include: A Mother’s Dream, Avery’s Candy Corn, Black Jack, Blackberry Jam, Bold Idea, Cajun Paprika, Cajun Rising Moon, Cherry Blue, Cherry Snow, Chocolate Dream, Cocoa Royale, Connie Roush, Creole Belle, Creole Lady, Crossfire, Crown Jellyfish, Dark Princess, Fiesta del Sol, Fifi, Green Elf, In Love Again, Indigo Sunset, Joan of Arc, Kilimanjaro, Lanas Paradise, Love Pat, Magnifique, Mango Moon, Me Oh My Oh, Midnight Tryst, Mis Vale Del Rio, Nectar Pink, Orange Capitolio, Pink Pride of Hankins, Purple Magic, Quasar, Randy Henson’s Legacy, Red Capitolio, Rim of Fire, Rum Rascal, Simple Pleasures, Stolen Kiss, T. Orange Rainbow, T. Star Queen Nebula, T. Taui, T. Ursulla’s Gift, Tamibon, Voodoo Queen, Whipped Cream and White Pride of Hankins.

“These plants are really not generally available to the public,” Dunn said. “These are raised by hybridizers. This is a great opportunity for people to be able to purchase these flowers and have them in their gardens.”

The show also is a great educational opportunity for attendees to learn more about these eye-catching flowers. Members of the society who are experts in the care and growing of hibiscus will be available to provide advice. Should members of the public have questions regarding how the blooms are judged, there will also be several senior American Hibiscus Society judges on-hand to provide answers.

“You’ve got all of these master hybridizers within our chapter who actually produce hybrid hibiscus themselves,” Dunn said. “They know all about growing the flowers, what conditions are needed in the garden, the variations, the way to prune them. They’re available to help — and that’s what’s really valuable.”

Anyone who desires to learn more about how to grow, graft and hybridize this attractive tropical flowering plant can do so by joining the James E. Hendry Chapter, AHS at the show. Members of the club also receive a discount at the show.

Dunn, who has been a member of the society for two years, said this event is what got her involved in the society. She said as soon as she and a friend arrived, they joined instantly.

“It’s unbelievable to see the blooms, the way they arrange them, and the way they are displayed,” Dunn said. “You can look directly down on the bloom and it’s magnificent. The colors, the different sizes, there’s so many varieties and everybody can find something they love. It’s very encouraging to try and grow these when you see them, because you want to have them in your garden — especially if you’re a Southwest Florida gardener and you like to have tropical plants.”

Dunn said she’s expanded her knowledge of the garden during her time with the society, and has built great relationships with its members.

“I have to say that the people in the group are so friendly,” Dunn said. “They are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They’re very welcoming and eager to share their knowledge. They’re enthusiastic about what they’re doing.”

Parking and admission to the show is free. For more information on the James E. Hendry Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society, visit www.hendrychapterhibiscus.com. The society meets at The Berne Davis Botanical Garden (2166 Virginia Ave., Fort Myers) on the second Sunday of each month at 1:30 p.m. The next meeting is June 12.

First Assembly of God is at 4701 Summerlin Road in Fort Myers.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj