2017 – Rose Mallow
The common rose mallow or swamp mallow is an upright shrub-like herbaceous perennial that is commonly found in moist areas such as marshes or lake shores. H. moscheutos is a member of the Mallow family, Malvaceae. This plant is unique because you can bring those showy tropical looking hibiscus flowers to the garden. The flowers are typically a large, beautiful, funnel shape with five separate petals. Interestingly the stamens and stigma are fused into one structure called a column. Petals are normally white, pink or red with or some variation in between. H. moscheutos flowers are normally darker towards the middle and can become quite large and showy reaching anywhere from 8 to 10 inches. Though an individual flower may only last a short period of time, the plant itself continues to bloom through late summer into fall. The rose mallow can bring quite the accent to any garden and it is recommended to plant a group of 3 or more for a visually appealing effect.
This plant is native to the eastern and southern parts of North America and can be grown in hardiness zones 5-10. The rose mallow can grow rather tall, reaching anywhere from 5 to 7 feet in a single growing season. Since it is capable of growing so much it may need to be staked for support. The optimal growth conditions for H. moscheutos are full sun and moist soils rich in organic matter but, it can tolerate lower quality soils even those containing salt. It will grow very well in these conditions as long as the soil is not allowed to dry out. If this plant is being grown in colder regions, one should consider mulch during the winter to protect the roots from frost. Also it is recommended to prune in the early spring for a bushier growth form. Japanese beetles have been known to cause damage to the foliage of this plant if left unmanaged.