There’s something about hibiscus that always reminds me of the Tropics. Many houseplant fans have already included a hibiscus or two in their collections. Whether a standard in a tree form or a smaller sample in a pot, they are definitely popular with anyone who sees them.
A lot of people are unaware that we also have a hibiscus that will overwinter in our gardens right here in Canada – hibiscus moscheutos, more commonly called rose mallow.
Rose mallow is native in North America and grows in Hardiness Zones 4 to 8. In nature it is found in damp, moist, swampy areas in full sun. Their blossoms are some of the largest to be found in nature, often reaching a size of up to six inches (15 cm).
Rose mallows have now been hybridised for new colours, including white, pink, cranberry and red. The flowers often have a contrasting eye at the centre and are very showy from a distance. Some plants even have beautiful dark purple leaves to contrast with the flower, making it a true specimen plant if not a show stopper.
A warm, sunny location is where rose mallow will thrive although it will need additional watering during dry spells. It begins to bloom in late August to the delight of hummingbirds and the flowering lasts until the first hard frost. The plant dies right back to the ground, leaving a few twigs that can be pruned off in the Spring so you can remember where it was planted.
Like all late season blooming plants, rose mallow gets out of bed late in the Spring, often requiring a full week of 20 degree weather before the new shoots will appear.
Easy to grow, disease and insect free, rose mallow is an exotic for our climate!
Garth Davey, July 2021
Questions? Email Garth at Questions@kbfarms.ca
Photo Credit: “Hibiscus Ballet Slippers” Proven Winners