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Hibiscus – Giant Mallow – Mallow – Rose Mallow –

There are about 220 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, trees, annuals and herbaceous perennials, in this genus.  They are widely distributed in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions, where they occur in a variety of habitats, including stream side, moist woodland, and dry, rocky sites.  They have alternate, smooth edged or shallowly to palmately lobed, sometimes toothed leaves, and are grown for their showy, 5 petaled, mainly funnel shaped, held solitary or in clusters, borne over a long period from spring to autumn.  The flowers are red, pink, purple, blue, yellow or white and sometimes have contrasting marks at the bases of the petals, and prominent, colorful stamens.  Grow in a sunny mixed, herbaceous, or shrub border.  Some perennials may be grown as annuals or hedges.


Rose Mallow Rose Mallow


Outdoors, grows in humus rich, moist but well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil in full sun.  Hibiscus need long, hot summers to flower well.  Trim after flowering to maintain shape.  Most are drought and frost tender.

Prone to rust, fungal leaf spots, bacterial blight, Verticillium wilt, viruses, stem rots, root rots, whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, mites, Japanese beetles, and caterpillars.

Giant Mallow Giant Mallow
Giant Mallow All White Giant Mallow All White

H. acetosella – H. eetveldeanus - This upright, bushy, fast growing annual or short lived, woody based perennial from Central and Eastern Africa grows 2-5′ feet tall and 3′ feet wide.  It produces long stalked, broadly ovate, unlobed or 3 to 5 lobed, often red flushed, mid green leaves, to 12″ long.  From late summer to autumn it bears solitary, axillary, funnel shaped, yellow or purple-red flowers, 2 ½-4″ across, with deep purple centers.

Giant Mallow Pink Giant Mallow Pink
Giant Mallow Tree Giant Mallow Tree

‘Coppertone’ – H. ‘Red Shield’ – produces iridescent maroon-purple leaves, grow as an accent or bedding plant.

Zones 10-11

H. arnottianus – Hawaiian White Hibiscus  - This fast growing, rounded, usually fairly open, evergreen, large shrub or small tree from Hawaii grows 10-25′ feet tall and 6-20′ feet wide.  From arching branches it carries oval, smooth edged or toothed, leathery, mid green leaves, to 10″ long.  In summer it bears 5 petalled, solitary, lightly scented, funnel shaped white flowers, 4-7″ across, with pink veins and central sheaves of red stamens, and may last only up to 2 days.

‘Wilder’s White’ – has free flowering pure white flowers cultivar

Zones 14-15

H. calyphyllus - This fast growing, woody based, evergreen perennial or shrub from Tropical Africa grows 6-10′ feet tall and 5-6′ feet wide.  It produces young shoots and leaves that are covered with soft, star shaped hairs.  The broadly ovate, smooth edge or shallowly 3 lobed, occasionally 5 lobed, rich green leaves to 5″ long, have pointed to rounded teeth.  From spring to autumn it bears axillary, solitary, funnel shaped, short lived, sulfur yellow flowers, 3-5″ across, with maroon or brownish red eyes.  Plants not always long lived.

Zones 14-15

H. cannabinus – Indian Hemp – Kenaf – This erect, almost unbranched, fast growing, minutely spiny stemmed annual or short lived, woody based perennial is possibly from Indonesia and grows 3-11′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide.  It produces long stalked, ovate, dark green upper leaves, to 6″ long, are palmately 3 to 7 lobed, leaves, lower down the stems are unlobed.  From summer to autumn it bears axillary, funnel shaped, pale yellow, occasionally purple-red flowers, 3-6″ across, with crimson-red centers, are held singly or in few flowered racemes.

Zones 10-15


H. cisplatinus – This is a spiny shrub from Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil and grows to 10′ feet tall.  The leaves are dark green, with up to 5 lobes, up to 6″ long and somewhat variable in shape.  It bears curious, rectangular petalled flowers, which are large, and rose pink with each petal being longitudinally veined in a darker pink, sometimes with a violet-purple base.

Zones 10-11


H. coccineus – This tall, woody based perennial found from marshes of Georgia to Florida grows 10′ feet tall and 4′ feet wide.  It produces linear-lance shaped, palmately 3, 5, or 7 lobed mid green leaves, 4-8″ long.  In summer and early autumn it bears solitary distinctively shaped petals each petal narrowing to a slender basal stalk, and are deep red, to 8″ across.

Zones 6-15


H. diversifolius – Native Hibiscus – Swamp Hibiscus – This low growing, spreading evergreen shrub, from tropical Africa, Asia, Northern Australia and topical Pacific Islands grows 3-8′ feet tall, is usually grown as an annual.  Its stems are hairy, and its serrated palmate leaves reaching 6″ long are held on long stalks.  The flowers can be solitary or in loose terminal heads and appear in summer and autumn, with 5 pale yellow petals up to 2 ½” long, a maaro9on center and a purple staminal column.

Zones 10-12


H. heterophyllua – Austrian Native Rosella – Scrub Kurrajong - A free flowering, tall, open evergreen shrub or small erect tree native to Eastern Australia, growing 10-20′ feet tall and half as wide.  It has prickly branches and narrow, pointed, heavily veined leaves which on young plants deeply 3 lobed.  In the Southern part of its range, flowers are usually white or pale pink with a deep purple eye, borne in summer and fall.

Subsp. luteus – with yellow flowers is more usually in Northern parts of its range with darker centers

Zones 10-12


H. mosheutos – Common Rose Mallow – Swamp Rose Mallow – This strong growing, woody based, herbaceous perennial Native to Southern USA grows 8′ feet tall and 3-5′ feet wide.  From erect stems it carries broadly ovate to lance shaped, unlobed or shallowly 3 50 5 lobed, toothed, mid green leaves, 3-9″ long, white hairy beneath.  Widely funnel shaped flowers, to 8″ across, with spreading petals, are white, pink, or crimson, sometimes with crimson petal base3s, and held singly in summer.

‘Anne Arundel’ – grows 4′ feet tall and has deeply lobed, maple like leaves and saucer shaped, deep rose-pink flowers, 9″ across, with bright strawberry-pink eyes

‘Blue River II’ - is vigorous growing to 4′ feet tall and has blue tinged, deep green leaves, and flat, snow-white flowers, 10″ across

Disco Belle Series - cultivars are compact perennials growing 20″ tall, often grown as annuals and bears red, pink , or white flowers, to 9″ across.

Lady Baltimore’  – grows 4′ feet tall and has glowing pink flowers, 6-8″ across, with red eyes, from mid summer to autumn

Lord Baltimore’ – grows 4′ feet tall and bears many brilliant red flowers, 10″ across, with ruffled, overlapping petals from mid summer to autumn.

‘Southern Belle’ - grows 4′ feet tall and has toothed leaves and bears deep rose, red, pink, or white flowers, 10″ across.

Zones 5-10

Giant Mallow Pink Flower Giant Mallow Pink Flower


H. mutabilis – Confederate Rose Mallow – Cotton Rose - This erect to spreading, usually freely branching, deciduous or evergreen, large shrub or small tree from China grows 6-15′ feet tall and 5-8′ feet wide.  From stems covered in soft, star shaped hairs it carries broadly ovate to rounded, palmately 3 to 7 lobed, serrated leaves, to 7″ long, are rich green above, and covered with star shaped hairs beneath.  From spring to autumn it bears funnel shaped, single or double, white flowers that age to deep pink flowers, 3-5″ across, sometimes with darker pink bases, are held singly or in few flowered, terminal cluster.

‘Alba’ – is smaller flowers, double white variety

Plena’ – has rounded double flowers which open white and turn a deep rose-red

Raspberry Rose’ – is a vigorous grower with very large raspberry-colored flowers

Zones 10-11


H. pedunculatus – Dwarf Pink Hibiscus – This native to Southern Africa is a perennial herb or subshrub, growing 4-6′ feet tall.  It has variable leaves, up to 3″ across, with 3 to 5 rounded lobes.  It bears nodding solitary flowers with 7 to 9 segments, the staminal column and 2″ long petals are pale or deep rose purple or lilac in color.

Zones 10-12



H. rosa-sinensis – China Rose – Chinese Hibiscus  – Hawaiian Hibiscus – Rose of China – Shoe Black - This rounded, bushy, evergreen, large shrub or small tree is probably native to tropical Asia grows 8-15′ feet tall and 5-10′ feet wide.  From hairless or slightly hairy shoots it carries oval to broadly lance shaped, glossy, deep green leaves, to 6″ long, with toothed edges.  From summer to autumn it bears solitary, 5 petalled, bright crimson flowers, 5″ across, with yellow anthered red stamens last a day, opening to the morning and withering by evening.  Flower color is very variable from crimson to orange, yellow, or white and there are single, semi double, or fully double cultivars.

‘Agnes Galt’ - is vigorous and upright, bushy and free flowering, it bears rose-pink flowers, 5-7″ across, lighter red on the petal margins, with deep rose-pink veins and stamens, and yellow anther.

‘Bridal Veil’ – has large pure white flowers

Cooperi’ – grows 3-6′ feet tall and is compact, with lance shaped leaves marbled olive green and small white sometimes tinted pink, and bearing red flowers

‘Crown of Bohemia’ - has double, gold-yellow flowers, flushed bright reddish orange in the centers, with reddish orange stamens.

‘Dainty White’ – H. ‘Swan Lake’ – H. ‘White La France’ – has white flowers, 4″ across with petals edged creamy pale yellow, and white stamens.

‘D.J. O’Brian’ – has medium, double orange-apricot flowers with the outer petals fading to coppery salmon and inside to buff

‘Fantasia’ – ‘Dainty Pink’ – ‘Pink La France’ - is free flowering, bearing strongly veined, reddish pink flowers, 4″ across, with pink or white stamens, the outer petals are slightly fringed, edged white, with creamy white central zones

‘Fiesta’ - bears large, deep apricot-orange flowers, 7″ across, with finely waved petals, bright red and white centers and cream stamens

Kitchen’s Yellow’ – bears yellow flowers, 5-6″ across, with white centers and yellow stamens.

‘Mrs. James E. Hendry’ – ‘Full Moon’ - has double, lemon-yellow flowers, 6″ across, with white eyes and white veins, and deep yellow stigmas

‘Scarlet Giant’ - bears scarlet flowers, 5-7″ across, with red and yellow anthered stamens

‘The President’ – is erect and bushy bearing slightly ruffled, rich red flowers, 6-7″ across, with darker red centers, stamens and veins, the petals have cream markings at the bases.

Zones 14-15


H. sabdariffa – Jamaican Flower – Jamaica Sorrel – Red Sorrel – Rosella – Roselle Sorrel – This species is grown worldwide, it is frost tender and native to tropical Northern Africa.  It forms an erect annual, biennial or woody perennial 8′ feet tall, though it is normally much shorter.  Its small serrated leaves, up to 6″ long, are divided into 3 lobes, and small flowers, are held single or in short pendent racemes, appear in summer.  The flowers have 7 to 10 segments, a red and fleshy calyx, and recurved petals around 2″ long, which are light yellow with a purplish red base and staminal column.  Fiber is derived from the stems, while the acidic fruit tastes similar to plums and is used for making sauces and jellies.

Zones 10-12


H. schizopetalus – Coral Hibiscus – Fringed Hibiscus – Japanese Hibiscus – Japanese Lantern - This tall, slender, evergreen shrub from tropical Eastern Africa grows at least 10′ feet tall and 3-6′ feet wide.  From arching or pendent branches it carries oval, toothed, mid to deep green leaves, to 5″ long.  In summer it bears long stalks that carry, pendent, pink or red flowers, to 3″ across, each with a long staminal column, pink stamens, and deeply irregularly fringed, reflexed petals, held singly

Zones 13-15


H. sinosyriacus - This spreading, deciduous shrub from Central China grows 8′ feet tall and 10′ feet wide.  It produces broadly ovate, shallowly 3 lobed, mid green leaves, to 4″ long.  From late summer to mid autumn it bears solitary, trumpet shaped white flowers, to 3 ½” across, with red centers and yellow anthered and white stamens.

‘Autumn Surprise’ - has white flowers with petal bases feathered cherry-pink

Zones 6-9


H. splendens - This drought and frost tender native of Queensland, Australia is a rounded evergreen shrub or treed that grows 20′ feet tall and 6′ feet wide.  It has an open crown and elegant velvety branches that carry heart shaped leaves, measuring approximately 7″ long and 5″ wide, are often divided into 3 to 5 lobes.  In spring and summer it bears large, off white to rose pink flowers with a crimson base, up to 6″ across.  In its native habitat it is prone to grasshopper attack.

Zones 10-12


Blue Hibiscus Blue Hibiscus

H. syriacus – Rose of Sharon – Blue Hibiscus – Shrub Althea – Syrian Hibiscus  – This erect, deciduous shrub, evergreen in warmer climates is found from China to India and grows 12′ feet tall and 6-10′ feet wide.  It is the hardiest of all Hibiscus.  From smooth gray branches it carries ovate to diamond shaped, shallowly to palmately 3 lobed, coarsely toothed, dark green leaves, to 4″ long.  From late summer to mid autumn it bears large, single or double, trumpet shaped, dark pink flowers, to 2 ½” across, with dark red centers and yellow anthered white stamen, are held singly or in pairs.

‘Alba Plena’ – grows 5′ feet tall and bears double white flowers which have a darker center

‘Aphrodite’ – bears deep rose-pink flowers, each with a dark red eye

‘Ardens’ – with large mauve flowers with crimson centers

‘Blue Bird’ – ‘Oiseau Bleu’ – grows 5′ feet tall and has single, bright blue flowers, to 3″ across, with small red centers

‘Coelestis’ – grows 10′ feet tall and bear single lilac-blue flowers with a red centers

‘Diana’ - grows 5′ feet tall and bears very large, single white flowers, to 5″ across, with wavy edged petals

‘Hamabo’ – has large light pink, single flowers with a red center that radiates at the edges into fine red streaks.

‘Helene’ - bears white flowers with bases flushed reddish purple

‘Hino Maru’ - grows 6′ feet tall and bears single pure white flowers upo to 6″ across

‘Lady Stanley’ – ‘Elegantissimus’ – has double white flowers, flushed pink and dark red in the centers

‘Meehanii’ – ‘Variegatus’ – has leaves edge creamy white and lilac-mauve, maroon centered flowers

‘Minerva’ – grows 8′ feet tall and 7′ feet wide and bears many pink tinged, lavender flowers, 4-5″ across, with dark red centers, from summer to autumn

Pink Giant’ – has large, clear pink flowers with dark red centers

Red Heart’ – bears white flowers with dark red centers

‘Rosalinda’ – has semi double flowers of deep purple with red centers

White Supreme’ - has semi double white flowers with crimson center and rose pink on the outside of the petals.

‘William R. Smith’ – bears large white flower, to 4″ across.

‘Woodbridge’ - grows 6′ feet tall and bears large, rich pink flowers, to 4″ across, with dark pink centers.

Zones 5-9

H. tiliaceus – Coast Cottonwood – Cottonwood Tree – Mahoe – Mangrove Hibiscus – Mau – Purau – Tree Hibiscus – Sea Hibiscus - This species of Hibiscus is widely distributed across seashores of Indian and Pacific Oceans and is an evergreen shrub or small tree, growing 25-30′ feet tall.  It has widely spreading habit and smooth gray bark on gnarled picturesque trunk.  Rounded, soft smooth, leathery, green leaves, up to 6″ in length, are whitish, hairy underneath.  It bears solitary clear yellow or white flowers, with 5 overlapping petals reaching 3″ long, have a crimson throat and staminal column, which turn orange as the flowers fade.  The flower appear in summer, and turn dull red before falling at the end of the day.  It is salt tolerant and drought resistant but it is frost tender.

Zones 10-12

H. trionum – Bladder Ketmia – Flower-of-an-hour - This fast growing, erect to spreading, hairy annual or short lived perennial grows 30-36″ tall and 24″ wide.  It produces ovate, palmately 3 to 5 lobed, toothed, dark green leaves, to 3″ long, the central lobes longest, leaves lower down the stems are unlobed.  From summer to early autumn it bears trumpet shaped, creamy yellow flowers, to 3″ across, with brown centers and dark purple stamens, are held singly, they are followed by inflated, bladder like seed capsules.

Zones 10-11

H. waimeae – This evergreen, spreading, small tree grows 10-15′ feet tall and 6-10′ feet wide.  From shoots clothed in soft, star shaped hairs it carries broadly ovate to rounded, toothed leaves, to 7″ long, are rich green above, gray downy beneath.  From late spring to late summer, it bears solitary, richly fragrant, funnel shaped flowers, 5-8″ across, opening white, then fading to pink, with crimson stamens.

Zones 14-15

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