I hope I am not becoming a pest with my constant questions, but I do need you this time. I followed your instructions on hybridizing and planting, and I planted more than 400 seeds over the summer. Almost all of the seeds came up and as you suggested, I planted them at different intervals around my patio, in rows six inches apart. Since I have nothing to compare my blooms with, they are all as you say, "Show Winners". If a neighbor stops by and likes a plant, we dig it up and pot it and there's another hibiscus fan in the making.
Since the Mayor is one of my neighbors, I occasionally gave him a plant. That may have been a mistake! He approached me the other day and after going on about how he and all hands at the City Hall thought that there was no prettier flower than the hibiscus, he suggested that we create a hibiscus bed in front of City Hall so that the whole town could appreciate this beautiful flower. Now, this is where you come in, fellow AHS member. The Mayor advised me that the area to be planted will face south. It is about 30 feet across the building and over 25 feet deep. The building is two stories high, meaning that the plants nearest to the building would be getting quite a bit of shade. The plants would have to be selected so that taller plants would be in the back and smaller ones near the street. This is where I need your advice. How many plants will I need and where can I get them?
I cautioned my friend as follows:
Get Everyone Involved
Be sure that the person in charge of your Parks Department is on board and is as enthused as your are to please the Mayor. If your town has a gardening club, try to get some of the members involved in maintaining the bed. Offer to name one of your pretty seedlings after the club and ask the city maintenance shop to create a little sign thanking the club.
If you have either a gardening store in your town or a rose grower, get them interested. They can tell you about new insect sprays and fertilizers that can be used for the new bed. If you find that different people are showing up to give a hand with the bed, see if you can work these people into a little support group that meets once a month to do those things the city doesn't do.
Ask a member of a North Florida chapter of the American Hibiscus Society (AHS) if they can speak to your group. There are very few publications about the growing of hibiscus. Check with the AHS for a list of publications and growers. When a new variety of hibiscus is registered with the AHS, the growing habits and height of the plant is given. However, this is not distributed to the members.
Planting a Hibiscus Bed
In general, hibiscus should be planted 36-40 inches apart from each other. Make sure the soil from the plant you are taking from the container and putting in the bed has sufficient fertilizer until the plant gets started. Water the newly planted bed daily in the first week, then taper off. For more information, see The New Tropical Hibiscus Handbook.