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Don't Be Taken In by Hybrid Hibiscus Seed Scams on eBay

I was on eBay this morning and remembered someone talking about all the cheap seeds you can get from China. First off, I don't know of anyone who has had luck with seeds from China, and I wouldn't order any. When I look at the reviews,
they are rarely good, mostly saying the seeds never arrived or wouldn't grow, which is no surprise.

Also, I know most of you know this already, but for the newbie gardeners who may be tempted, those gorgeous hybrid tropical hibiscus seeds are a scam. Those specialized hybrids won't come true from seed, and will probably not come up at all. Tropical hibiscus aren't easy to grow from seed unless you have specialized equipment or a greenhouse. Actually, they aren't easy to get seed from at all, unless you're a breeder, and I don't know of any tropical hibiscus breeders in China. They are so cheap, and I know it is sorely tempting, but please don't be fooled by them.
The only hibiscus that grow easily from seed are

Hardy Hibiscus
Hardy Hibiscus (H. Moscheutos aka Dinner plate, Luna, Frisbee, Lord Baltimore, Swamp hibiscus, etc.)

H. syriacus aka Althaea or Rose of Sharon


Perennial Hibiscus (Confederate rose (H. mutabilis), Cranberry hibiscus (H. acetosella), Roselle or Sorrel (H. sabdariffa aka FL Cranberry), Texas Star (H. coccineus), etc.

Confederate Rose
H. sabdariffa
There are some tropical hibiscus trees like Mahoe that grow from seed, but they won't grow up here in zone 9a, and they are extremely invasive in S. Florida. 

Tropical hibiscus are easily grown from cuttings, so get some from your friends and don't be fooled by online scammers.


Unknown said...

My comment, from personal experience, is that you should be very careful about ordering ANY seeds from eBay. Over the years, I've encountered problems with very poor (if any) germination (due to old seed), misrepresented items (example: canna seeds represented to be "Lucifer" hybrid, which turned out to be the species Canna generalis) and other issues. I've learned my lesson. From now on, I'm ordering seeds only from reputable mail-order firms.

Simply Deb said...

@Michael Fitzgerald I'm so sorry it took so long for me to reply. I somehow approved this comment, but didn't respond, which is unlike me. Of course, April is an extremely busy time around here, but again, I apologize.

Yes, you do have to be careful. What I try to do is find sellers who are selling seeds from their own yards and ask them questions before I buy from them. If they respond and are willing to be open with me, I buy. If not, I don't.

As for buying hybrid seeds, most hybrids will not come true from seed. I never buy a hybrid seed from anywhere but a trusted seed comepany. They have ways of making their hybrid plants produce cloned babies from seed, otherwise, they are more than likely to revert to the species. As for cannas and other bulb/corm/tuber plants, I just buy the bulb, corms or tubers. That's the only way you can be sure you get what you paid for. Again, only buy from trusted sellers.