Hibiscus, Gympie's autumn plant of choice
WHEN you think of plants that could survive a harsh sub-tropic winter, hardy succulents and robust natives spring to mind.
The last plant you would think to be able to go the distance in the cooler months around Gympie would be one of the most iconic and colourful species in the world.
Normally associated with tropical themes, the Hibiscus flowers in thousands of colours.
Local Hibiscus grower Jeff walker has been in business for decades and boasts more than 1100 different varieties of the plant at his Robert Rd farm.
Mr Walker said autumn was an ideal time to pick yourself up a flowering Hibiscus.
"They will keep growing,” Mr Walker said.
"However, they don't like the frost.
"We normally plant them in spring and leave them in their pots until they flower in Autumn.”
The veteran grower said The Gympie climate was ideal for the plant as the chance of a severe and deep frost during winter was minimal.
As well as Hibiscus, lots of native plants have their main flowering season during the cooler months.
Grevilleas, Banksias, and Correas (native fuscia) all come into their own from May to September.
However, for the colourful and underrated Hibiscus, Mr Walker said the trick to a healthy plant in the cooler times of the year was ground preparation.
"Your ground preparation has got to be early,” he said.
"I usually do my fertiliser and manures, dig it in and wait for a couple of months before I plant into them.”
Mr Walker and his Hibiscus display was just one of dozens of exhibits at the Gympie Garden Expo held over the weekend at The Pavilion.