Hibiscus herbaceous or Swamp Mallow: A majestic flower for your pot, yard and garden
Hibiscus herbaceous or Swamp Mallow is a native to North America, the oversized flowers feature tissue-thin, ruffled petals in shades of pink, red, magenta, white and many other colors. Hibiscus herbaceous can be planted in spring when there is no risk of frost. The plants will grow quickly, erupting each summer with blooms the size of dinner plates.
Flowers are big, bold and tropical-looking, and come in white, pink, plum, red and bicolors. Foliage may be green or red depending on the cultivar. They do best in full sun – six hours or more of direct sun – and being swamp plants, they prefer moist soil.
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How to Grow
Hardy hibiscus species are usually found in the wild near wetlands or rivers, which explains their love of moist, relatively rich soil. In general, they prefer medium to wet, well-drained soil and do best in soils that aren’t overly heavy, while performing poorly in sandy, dry soils.
Hardy hibiscus plants require nutrient-rich soil to produce their luscious blooms. Sandier and less rich soils may require fertilizer up to four times per year, until you build up nutrient levels.
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- Keep well-watered until established
- Mulch well, especially during the hottest and coldest times of year
- Apply phosphorus-rich fertilizer in spring, unless soil is already high in this nutrient
- Protect from cold winds in cooler climates
- Although tolerant of wet soils, plant in well-draining soil and avoid waterlogged areas, which can cause root rot
- Full sun is ideal, though plants will welcome light shade in particularly sunny and hot climates
Hardy hibiscus plants are surprisingly easy to care for considering their bountiful, delicate blooms—if they receive enough sunlight and water. They do well as container-grown plants, too, allowing you the opportunity to bring the plant indoors for the winter season if you live in a cold climate. Repot container-grown hibiscus into a larger pot every two to three years.
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