Hardy Hibiscus - Rose Mallow



Although these plants go under the name of Hardy Hibiscus they are not a true hibiscus but part of the mallow family although the flowers certainly look like hibiscus.

They are simple to grow and make a spectacular addition to any sunny part of the garden.

They are perennial, winter hardy in the Chicago area and seem to be free from insect problems and diseases. At least that has been my experience over the years.

In most cases I have purchased them as plants, rather than growing them from seed, with one exception.

They like a sunny spot although they will tolerate a certain amount of shade and they should not be allowed to dry out. During the growing season I feed them weekly with a high phosphate fertilizer such as Schultz Bloom Plus. All plant foods have three numbers such as 10-54-10. The middle number is the phosphate content and you need a high number there such as 50.


The plants will grow quite tall and will need staking. The one in the picture above is "Lord Baltimore" and is six and a half feet tall with red flowers that are eight inches across.


The other tall varieties I grow are "Lady Baltimore" which is a pink flower and "Kopper King" (No that is not a spelling mistake) which has a white flower with a red center.


Kopper King


In the fall when the leaves have died down, I cut the stems down to about four inches above the ground and late next spring when the ground has warmed up new shots will appear.


Pink Swirl


The one exception as noted above is a variety called "Pink Swirl."  This I grew from seed in 2006 and is a shorter variety growing about three feet tall with a more bushy growth pattern with pink flowers about five inches across.

One final note I have found the tall varieties do not need dead heading as the seeds do not set.

Enjoy your hibiscus...for many years to come.


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