This gorgeous scarlet flower caught my eye today.
It is the first blossom to open on the Scarlet Mallow, Hibiscus coccineus, we purchased at the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market in May.
The beautiful, deeply cut foliage drew my attention at the market. Almost lacy, like some Japanese Maple leaves, it appealed to me.
The plant wasn’t even in bud yet, but I knew a native Hibiscus would work in the border. no matter what color the bloom.
So I bought it on impulse and brought it home to the garden.
When the Japanese beetles attacked the Cannas and other Hibiscus, they left this one alone. It’s quietly grown into its spot without drawing too much attention to itself…. until today!
Wow! What a huge, elegant flower!
Native in the deep south, Scarlet Mallow is hardy north to Zone 6b.
It can eventually grow to 8′ high, though it dies back to the ground each winter. The plant is upright and sturdy.
It prefers wet soil, and will even tolerate flooding. No chance of flooding where it is planted in our garden, but it is on the downhill portion of a slope and will catch run off in a heavy rain. Like all Hibiscus, it appreciates full sun.
As a native, this plant will pretty much grow itself. I’ve given it compost and a little Plant Tone thus far. The deer have grazed around it, but have left it untouched.
I hope it is self- fertile and the seeds it produces will sprout. I plan to gather the seeds when they ripen this fall and sow them, hoping for more of these gorgeous plants.
If you’d like to grow Scarlet Mallow in your own garden, it is available at Plant Delights Nursery.
You will likely see more photos of these gorgeous flowers as the season progresses, so I hope you like them.
They inspired me to look for “red” around the garden, and so here is a bit more of the scarlet found in our garden today.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014