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Chances are this will be a duplicate, and I can't post photos yet, so apologies in advance...

We have a small tree in our new backyard in SW FL. It's partially hidden behind a sea grape plant that will be removed as soon as I can. The tree in question is maybe 10 feet tall, fairly stringy (for lack of a better word). There are two main trunks, but each is only a couple of inches (if that) in diameter. The branches are long and thin, the leaves about 1 1/2" long, smooth and shiny. At the end of many branches is a single red flower. From a distance, it looks like a parachutist hanging around - there is a single long stamen (I think) about 3 inches long, and the petals are feathery, and curving back up towards the sky. There have been flowers since I think at least around June when we moved here.

Many thanks!

Thank you, Niall C, for the photo tip. Here's a photo of the flower and the main trunk of the tree:

enter image description here

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This is a hardy hibiscus which grows throughout Florida and is described in some detail here. A definitive way to identify it is that the flowers only last one day and then collapse and drop off several days later.

Your plant is most likely to be a hybrid and it is difficult to identify the cultivar. They are relatively trouble free and tolerate wetter soils than many other flowering shrubs will.

EDIT: @unkfrank you can't go wrong with removing one third of the old growth this year. Either at the base to encourage new growth from there or somewhere along the existing stems to get it to bud out. Try this out and observe what happens in the spring. It is a very common habit for newer growth to flower more. The confusion over when and what to prune is due to the many cultivars and species. The best way is to investigate....

  • Thank you, kevinsky! You got me pointed in the right direction, and it looks like what I have is a Coral Hibiscus Hibiscus schizopetalus – Coral Hibiscus – unkfrank Aug 22 '13 at 17:01
  • Tried to edit my comment, but took too long... Now to figure out exactly how to maintain it - of the 6 sites I've read, 3 say prune often, as new flowers come from new wood, and 3 say prune every 3 to 4 years, as pruning can eliminate flowering as the flowers are more likely to grow from previous year's wood. – unkfrank Aug 22 '13 at 17:14

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