See the flamboyant colors and plush petals of Louisiana-grown Cajun hibiscuses at Metairie show and sale | Entertainment/Life

Greg Stevens

It’s tricky not to adore the exotic-seeking hibiscus. But if it normally takes a small a little something extra than the ubiquitous yard bouquets to lure you to the hibiscus display Sunday in Metairie’s Lafreniere Park, consider these two specific sights:

About 1,000 Cajun hibiscus vegetation will be out there for sale, stated Sandra Barr, secretary of the New Orleans Chapter of the American Hibiscus Modern society. The Louisiana-made hybrids are most identified for their significant multihued blooms with swirls of color and contour.

And on hand at the demonstrate will be a person of the creators of the Cajun hybrids, which have been bred at Dupont Nursery in Plaquemine by the late Robert Dupont Sr. and the Rev. Robert Gerlich.

Gerlich, a longtime instructor at Loyola College New Orleans who now performs in Boston, probable would not be on the lookout for recognition at the clearly show, but he’ll be there checking out and handing out suggestions.

A leader in the team since its mid-’90s commencing as the New Orleans Hibiscus Club, he’ll however know several of the customers current and explained they are made use of to throwing guests with issues his way. “See Father Gerlich about there,” he claimed, incorporating jokingly: “I am going to glance like the raccoon that has been trapped by the hunting hounds.”

Gerlich is however associated in hybridizing new Cajun hibiscuses with the Dupont spouse and children, together with his authentic partner’s son Robert Dupont Jr., who now runs the nursery, and grandson Jeffrey Dupont.

With his transfer to the Institute of Highly developed Jesuit Scientific studies at Boston Higher education, even so, Gerlich’s get the job done has slowed. When there are much less new crops than normal, “We have these a backlog of great factors that we require to develop and get out there,” Gerlich explained.

“In the pipeline are a couple of dozen promising candidates to multiply. Every single 12 months, we glimpse and say, ‘Let’s hold this, get rid of that.’ We’re attempting to select the most fascinating. … We check out for a lovely flower and a stunning bush.”

From there, it is really a subject of amount.

“We plant 2,000 to 3,000 seedlings every calendar year,” stated Robert Dupont Jr. “You get a single plant and start multiplying it into five or six, then five or 6 from every of people, and finally you have more than enough to provide.”  

When the identify Cajun hibiscus is trademarked and the plants are patented, there are other certified propagators in Florida.  

About 300 versions have been established, Gerlich explained, but not all are even now in creation. His favorites combine placing colour bands with the perfect sort. “For me, it’s the general overall look of flowers.”


WHAT: The yearly occasion set on by the New Orleans Chapter of the American Hibiscus Modern society

WHEN: Open to general public at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Wherever: The Basis Heart in Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie

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