How to Grow Perennial Hibiscus

How to Grow Perennial Hibiscus

Perennial Hibiscus 'Hibiscus moscheutos'

These tropical wonders, with their dinner-plate-sized blooms and tropical appearance, may seem like an impossibility in our perennial landscapes. The truth is, they’re really astonishingly easy to grow!

Here are a few tips to remember when growing perennial Hibiscus:

  • They love water during the growing season! Hibiscus moscheutos is one plant you do not have to worry about overwatering. As long as they have leaves on them, you can absolutely drown them and they will be very happy. If they go dry too many times, their buds tend to yellow and drop off before blooming, so make sure you keep up a deep watering schedule during the summer and early fall.
  • They love sunshine! Pick the sunniest, hottest, most toasty spot in your garden for them, so they have enough sunshine to produce their huge flowers.
  • They go completely dormant during the winter. Like, dead sticks dormant. Typically I cut mine back to about 12” or so in the early spring, just so I remember where they are, but expect the new growth to come from the very base of the plant near the soil line.
  • They like to hit the snooze button in the spring. When all other perennials and shrubs and trees are leafing out, these guys will look deader than most doornails until we get into very warm weather (sometimes as late as mid-July!). Never fear, once they start growing, just pour on the water, and they reach their breathtaking heights extremely rapidly. If you get concerned about your dormant hibiscus, simply check the roots to make sure they are robust and firm, or the stem just below the soil line to make sure it has green when you scratch it. If the roots look good, and there’s till green under the bark, they’re perfectly fine. Then all it takes is a little bit of patience for these sleeping beauties to rise.
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June Gardening Guide




Your spring flowering shrubs need to be pruned shortly after blooming because during the summer these plants form flower buds for next year.

  • Lilacs can be cut back by about one third to reduce height, or thinned by removing older stems
  • Forsythias should have about a quarter to a third of their old (thick stems) wood removed down near the base
  • Azaleas do best with a light trim, and rhodies can take pretty much whatever you want to do
  • Rhododendrons cut down by more than half may not flower the next year, though this will definitely reduce and re-shape the plant. (We don’t recommend doing this to your rhodies, but sometimes drastic action has to be taken, e.g. when one has gotten out of control or if you’re going to paint the house)


For garden flower power, Watson’s still has lots of annuals, for both sun and shade conditions, that will bloom until frost and the summer perennials are coming on strong. For a long blooming perennial, look to Gaura, Echinacea (coneflower, many colors), or Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan). If you didn’t plant your dahlias in April or May don’t worry; Watson’s carries an assortment of already blooming dahlias. It is not too late to plant gladiola bulbs, either; they bloom about 60 days after you put them in the ground.


In your vegetable garden, look closely for aphids, they love fresh new leaves; use neem oil to control them. Also, watch for small green caterpillars that eat holes in leaves on any member of the cabbage family, which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustards, collards and cauliflower. Use Captain Jack’s Deadbug or Bacillus thuringiensis (“Bt”)—both are organic. And because we expect so much production from our vegetables, we need to offer them all the support possible—fertilize every 4 to 6 weeks with an organic vegetable fertilizer, and put out those soaker hoses!


Roses should be coming along nicely now; be vigilant for aphids there. If you didn’t cut your flowers to take indoors and enjoy, deadhead the plant when the flowers fade to encourage re-blooming and make the shrub look nice. Don’t cut off just the flower; follow the stem down and cut right above a leaf that has at least 6 little leaflets on it. This ensures that the new flowering branch that will grow out from that junction of leaf and stem is of large enough size to support a nice flower.


For our four-season garden guide, product recommendations, and more, download our 2020-2021 Magazine!

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All About Annuals



Our homegrown annuals are the bedrock of our business, and now is the time to be planting them in your garden. And there’s no better way to shop for spring color or ask questions of a friendly expert than to come on over and pay us a visit.

Each year, for as long as anyone can remember, Watson’s has planted and nurtured them for our customers. And as we’ve grown, so has the space devoted to Watson’s Grown. We now boast 85,000 square feet of growing space in four different grow houses. All that space is what makes for healthy growing annuals with robust foliage and beautiful blooms to meet our customers’ high standards. Today we grow the majority of the annual plants, planters and hanging baskets we sell throughout the season.

Taylor—Dan Watson’s oldest grandchild—was the one born with the natural green thumb. Taylor is an integral part of the growing team nowadays. He finds joy in discovering new ways to improve our growing operations while also experimenting with conifer propagation.

Now that we’re open again, you can find Dan and the rest of our Watson’s Grown team’s hard at work tending to our annuals and our lush hanging baskets.

See some of our annuals here … or gawk at our hanging baskets.

For more tips and inspiration, check out our 2020-21 Magazine, available now as an electronic download only.

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2020 Magazine is here!



The mixed baskets are lush and bright. The fuchsias are bountiful. The benches and aisles are full of beautiful blooms. Spring is well underway at Watson’s. And that also means the new 2020-21 Watson’s Magazine is here!

Thankfully, we’ve been able to tend to our greenhouses while keeping ourselves—and our customers—safe and well-supplied. With online ordering, local delivery, and curbside pickup, we’ve made sure you have what you need for your garden, without cutting corners.

The new magazine—available this year only as a digital download—has a lot of goodies in it as usual, from how-tos to product features to our ever-popular four-season growing guide.

  • Watson’s Grown – learn about our time-honored tradition of growing our own annuals
  • Self-Care – a short lesson in mini-rituals for some necessary pampering
  • Garden Design – see landscape designer Jacky Fausset’s plan for a naturalistic Northwest style
  • Soil Guide – get the dirt on everything from amendments to potting soils
  • And a whole lot more...

Life is for living, and so is Watson’s. That’s why we’re pleased to be back open for business. We’re still following public health guidelines and practicing safe distancing, but now you can come on in to browse our shop, just in time to fill your space with Spring color!

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May Garden Guide

May Garden Guide

May, the gardening month! Everything is growing or ready to grow, flowering or ready to flower, fruiting or ready to fruit …. You get the picture.

Now is the time to purchase that gorgeous hanging basket for mom or for your own house, plant dahlias and glads and all the glorious summer annuals such as geraniums, marigolds, begonias, impatiens and a thousand other color spots. Whether planting in containers or in the ground, be sure to feed your annuals, weekly with Miracle-gro or monthly with an organic fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Life.

Out in the yard, it’s a good time to fertilize rhodies, azaleas, and any trees, shrubs or perennials growing in containers. It also is a good idea to check your plants carefully for problems, such as aphids, fungal issues, or just something that doesn’t look right. Do bring in pictures and/or samples to us if you have questions about what something is or why it looks a certain way.

If you grow a lot of annuals and perennials in the ground, you have probably been scouting for slugs and scattering Sluggo, be sure to re-apply at regular intervals (about every 2 to 3 weeks, depending on rainfall). Once your plants are settled in, May is a good time to mulch or bark your beds. We don’t carry bulk soil products, but we do have a nice selection of bagged bark, topsoil mixes and compost which are perfect for smaller projects and for ease of application.



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