A beautiful background floral shrub for summer is the Hibiscus moscheutos. This flowering shrub is known in the East Texas area as the rose mallow or saucer hibiscus. The shrub grows here as a perennial. The rose mallow likes a sunny to part-shady garden and can be grown in the ground or in a large container. These hardy specimens like a well-drained soil, moderate water and fertilizer. Mulching will decrease the amount of water required.
The flower colors range from white, pink, and fuchsia to dark magenta. They can also be variegated. The beauty of the size and colors of the flowers is spectacular. The blooms continue all summer long and are edible. These deciduous shrubs can grow five to six feet tall and spread from three to six feet. Blooms are often up to nine inches in diameter and resemble a large plate or saucer.
Pests of the rose mallow are aphids, leaf-chewing beetles, and whiteflies. By keeping a watchful eye on the undersides of the leaves in the spring and throughout the summer and treating problems promptly, you can avoid major problems with these pests.
In the winter, the stalks can be cut low to the ground. Propagation is by cuttings or seeds. In the spring, the plant will begin to emerge rather rapidly on thick succulent stems, and soon you will be enjoying gorgeous, brilliantly colored flowers.
Look for Texas Superstar Hibiscus varieties ‘Flare,’ ‘Lord Baltimore,” and ‘Moy Grande”.
Janice Suggs, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service