Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow
Dramatic and impressive, this Luna Red Hibiscus has Red Petals on a bushy, well-branched plant with large, eye-catching 6 to 8-in. Blooms. Tolerates high heat and dry conditions once established. It is native to wet spots (marshes, swamps, floodplains, river banks, moist meadows, and moist woods) from Ontario and Massachusetts south to Ohio, Indiana, Alabama and Florida. Showy, dinner plate-sized, hollyhock-like flowers. Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Best in moist, organically rich soils, but does surprisingly well in average garden soils as long as those soils are not allowed to dry out. Regular deep watering is advisable. Immune to the heat and humidity of the deep South. Tolerates some light shade, but full sun with good air circulation produces the best flowers, the strongest stems and the best environment for resisting potential diseases. Site in locations protected from wind to minimize the risk of wind burn. Pinch back growing tips when they reach 8” and again at 12” if bushy plants are desired. Deadhead individual flowers to maintain plant appearance. Cut back stems to approximately 3-4 inches in late autumn. New growth shoots are slow to emerge in spring. However, once new growth begins, it proceeds quite rapidly. Plants will benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season. Be patient, hibiscus can be slow to emerge in spring. For best performance, plant in full sun in moist soil before the heat of the summer. The Luna series appeals to container growers, retailers and landscapers because of its compact, well-branched, shrubby habit. It reaches 24-36 inches tall and 24 inches wide and has flowers measuring 6-8 inches across. Zones 5-8.
Tips on How To Grow Hibiscus from Seed.
- Sow hibiscus seeds indoors 10-14 weeks before last spring frost date using a seed starting kit
- Soak seeds in room temperature water for about 8 hours to speed the germination process, and from having the seed rot in the pot.
- Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 70-75 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
- Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
- Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
- Hibiscus may require staking to prevent them from falling over in the wind.
- Deadhead”, remove spent flower heads to encourage continuous flowering and prevent seed development.
- Remove and discard foliage after a hard frost in fall.
- To Sow Outdoor:
Can also be sown outdoors in spring after danger of frost is past. Soil temperature must be warm
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed
Outdoors, seeds will germinate in 12-18 days