Hibiscus Hybridizing Program of Charles Black

Exotic Hibiscus 'Simple Pleasures' & Charles Black
Charles with one of his most
successful hybrids, 'Simple Pleasures'
Charles Black has loved hibiscus for many years, and initially set out to find a way to commercially grow varieties hybridized by other people. He began by collecting 1000 cultivars from all over the world, then worked on ways to promote and propagate these beautiful flowers. He soon discovered, however, that too many hibiscus cultivars were selected for their beautiful flowers only. Hybridizers tended not to concern themselves with the quality of the plant, the quantity of blooms, or the problems with propagating. He found too many flowers on spindly or weak bushes that flowered only sporadically and were very difficult to propagate. It was this frustration that pushed him into hybridizing for himself. He was determined to work on hybridizing hibiscus that have every possible desirable quality as both plants and flowers.

Through his years of hybridizing, Charles' hibiscus cultivars have steadily improved in both quality and quantity. Hibiscus lovers who have followed his progress have seen some of his earlier hybrids disappear and be replaced by similar flowers with much stronger bushes and more prolific blooms. Charles has produced literally thousands of hybrids, and out of these thousands, he has found about 150 so far whose quality of both bush and flower have met his high standards. Each year, some of the poorer of even these cultivars are dropped and replaced by bigger, better, sturdier, more insect resistant, more prolific, and more reliable cultivars. He relentlessly refuses to propagate hibiscus that do not meet high enough standards of both quality and beauty.

Hibiscus 'Frosted Plum'
Frosted Plum - A Beautiful Flower on a Floppy Bush



Here, at the left, is Frosted Plum. It blooms with a beautiful, lavender flower, but its bush grows very rapidly, the branches fall over, and the flowers hang down - what we call a "floppy bush" in hibsicus lingo. So Charles Black set out to hybridize a hibiscus that blooms with the same flower, but with a stronger, sturdier, more upright bush.

Exotic Hibiscus 'Burnished Plum'
Burnished Plum - Similar Flower on a Strong, Upright Bush



At the right, is Burnished Plum, an offspring of Frosted Plum. Charles crossed Frosted Plum with Burnished Gold to give the new cultivar the strong, upright bush of Burnished Gold. The result is a beautiful flower in shades of blue that grows on a much improved bush.

For a complete list of all Charles Black cultivars currently being grown at HVH, click here.

The Hidden Valley Hibiscus website and Online Store exhibit only those hibiscus cultivars that have been tested by HVH and that Charles considers of high enough quality to be part of our HVH collection. This list will change over time, as he creates new cultivars of ever higher quality. Watch for the changes!