It is the oldest, largest and best attended of all Florida's hibiscus shows. The James E. Hendry Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society will hold its 61st Annual Hibiscus Show/Plant Sale this Sunday at the Araba Shrine Temple in Fort Myers.
According to Show Chairman Wanda Schmoyer, the show attracts hundreds people every year - and participants from throughout Florida.
"They are coming from all over the state of Florida to win Best of Show ribbons," she said.
Pat LaCoste holds a James E. Hendry (top) and a Big Easy hibiscus blooms. The Cape resident will be entering blooms for this year’s Hibiscus Show.
"Many of these blooms are dinner plate-size and they will really knock you for a loop when you walk inside and see thousands on display."
Of her home gardening, she said, "I personally have over 180 hybrid hibiscus plants in my own backyard. The hybrids take a little skill to grow but once you learn it, all they need is food, water and sunshine."
The event will showcase hundreds of different hybrid hibiscus blooms in a variety of colors and forms which will be judged in several different classes including amateur, collector, open collector, commercial and seedlings.
Who: James E. Hendry Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society
What: 61st Annual Hibiscus Show and Plant Sale
When: Sunday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Araba Shrine Temple, 2010 Hanson St., Ft. Myers
Cost: Free admission and parking
"In addition, more than 900 hybrid hibiscus plants will be for sale."
There will also be free raffle prizes given away every 30 minutes.
The event runs from 1 until 4 p.m. There is free parking and free admission.
Members of the society who are experts in the care and growing of the hibiscus will be available to provide advice. Anyone who wants to learn more about how to grow, graft and hybridize the tropical flowering plant can do so by joining the James E. Hendry Chapter, AHS at the show.
Many members of the organization are from Cape Coral, including Pat La Coste.
" I didn't join until 2008, and was just feeling things out, so I did not enter the show until 2009," she said. "I ended up winning Best Amateur Single.
"I had my fingers crossed - most colorful and biggest one there in that competition, and didn't open until just a few hours before."
It was called "The Big Easy" - colored with burgundy, red orange, a goldish color and yellow gold, she said.
Her tips on growing?
"My personal tip is that you have to watch them all the time because they can get bugs and disease. We have a recipe you can make yourself - half a cup of liquid Dawn, 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup water. You mix that into a gallon sprayer and spray probably every week as soon as you see them, and not in the sun."
Organizers wanted to thank the sponsors who made the show possible through their generosity. They include Aterra Realty, Driftwood Garden Center, Edison National Bank, Fusion Welding, Dr. Jacob Goldberger, Greenscapes, Dr. John Kagan, Hooters, Orr Insurance Group, Pain Management & Spine Specialists, Riverland Nursery, Storm Shutter Warehouse and Tim's Tree Service.
The society meets at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Fort Myers, at 1:30 p.m. the second Sunday of each month but will be on hold until September The next meeting is Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1:30 p.m.
For more information on The James E. Hendry Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society visit hendrychapterahs.com.
The Araba Shrine Temple is at 2010 Hanson St. in Fort Myers.