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Experience the Psychedelic 'Fifth Dimension'

July 20, 2011

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Fifth Dimension' came to Longwood's research greenhouses back in the late 1990’s when we were working on improving the vigor of the hibiscus display in our Rose House.  I soon fell in love with this psychedelic plant! At first, it amazed me with its showy yellow flowers with silver centers.  Seeing silver on a flower stopped me in my tracks immediately!  It was mind altering.  Closer observation of this plant expanded my awareness to an even more amazing dimension. One day I noticed that the newly opening flowers were not yellow with a silver throat, but orange with a bronze throat.  Around noon, the trippy flowers morph from orange/bronze to yellow/silver. How groovy is that? It’s like having two kinds of flowers on the same plant. When I told my photographer friend, Matt, about this amazing transformation over time, he decided to do a time lapse photography shoot, to capture the color change.  He did an amazing job.  I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do.

You can experience the 'Fifth Dimension' in person at Longwood. The plant is on display in the Rose House and blooms throughout the year. On a side note, we were able to improve the vigor of the hibiscus in the Rose House by grafting all of our hibiscus cultivars onto the vigorous rootstock, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Pride Of Hankins'.  I will let you in on a little secret: if you look closely at the hibiscus plants in the Rose House, you can see the graft union near the base of the plants.  Sometimes it is a clear line across the trunk, and sometimes it is more subtle—with only bark texture designating that there are two different plants joined together.