For most situations, we would not recommend installing this plant in new gardens, landscapes, or plantings in southern California.
Our top recommendations to consider instead of this plant include pink-flowering sumac, island bush poppy, Sunset manzanita, and Concha ceanothus.
This plant profile is included in this site as a reference for two primary reasons:
- If you already have this plant in your landscape, this information can be used to know how to care for it.
- If you already have this plant in your landscape, you can use this information to learn which of our recommended plants have the same recommended watering needs, making them potential choices for grouping together if you will be adding new plants to the existing area.
In general, instead of this plant, we recommend planting appropriate California native plants whenever possible.
In addition to their beauty, California native plants offer the most additional benefits beyond just low water use, including habitat for the birds, butterflies, and pollinators who evolved here with them. This adds value and beauty in your landscape beyond just a pretty plant, allowing the landscape to actively contribute to the environment instead of just using less water. You can find our top recommended native plant choices on our Plant Finder by selecting “California Native” and learn more about California native plants here.
To learn what exactly California native plants are and how they are different from other low water plants, visit this link.
For visual interest or other reasons, some people may also want to mix in other non-native low-water demanding plant choices even though they do not have the same ecological value as native plants. For that reason, we feature a number of non-native waterwise selections on this site as well. However, we see native plants as the best “go to” for most landscape or garden choices! We encourage people to consider planting at least 50% of their landscape to native plants. See our Garden Designs section or visit our Waterwise Demonstration Garden in Montclair for plenty of inspiration.
The Santa Cruz blue hibiscus commonly grows into a medium size shrub 6-10 ft. high, equal in width. It is also available from nurseries as a small patio tree for use in large containers and raised planters. Its pale green leaves are deeply lobed and create an open foliage appearance. In comparison to the blue hibiscus species, the Santa Cruz cultivar produces deep purple-blue flowers from spring through summer.
It tolerates many types of soil, but good drainage is essential. It prefers a sunny exposure and grows well with moderate moisture in winter and spring, less water is important in the summer. Too much summer water leads to excessive growth and short-lived performance; pruning in late fall can help maintain good branching and foliage character.