Hibiscus (hi-BISK-us) is a clan that includes shrubs, trees and both perennial and annual plants. All are valued as ornamental plantings for yards and gardens because of their showy flowers and general sturdiness. Unlike most other shrubs and plants, they bloom in the heat of the summer, adding welcome color to the landscape at this time. One of the most familiar of the hibiscus plants is the Common Rose Mallow whose enormous flowers demand attention wherever they grow. It is a decorative, dependable perennial plant, blooming freely year after year.
Size: Rose mallow plants grow from 3 to 6 feet. Dwarf varieties will be about 2 feet tall. These plants grow vigorously and need plenty of space to spread.
Foliage: Rose mallow leaves and their cane-like stems are medium green and hairy. The leaves are basically oval shaped, although some are rounded, with teeth along their edges. Upper leaves are deeply lobed. In most types of rose mallow, the foliage does not grow all the way up the stem to the showy blossoms, serving as an effective background for the floral display.
Flowers and Fruit: Rose mallow flowers appear in mid to late August and last until frost. Broadly saucer-shaped, they range from 5 to 6 inches across, some hybrids types actually reaching 8 or 9 inches. These blossoms have 5 slightly over lapping petals. They range in color from white into shades of pink, to deep red, many paler ones having contrasting deep red centers. These plants self-sow readily once they are established.