Heirloom Organic Texas Star Hibiscus Seeds (Aka Scarlet Rose Mallow, Swamp Hibiscus, Brilliant Hibiscus, Scarlet Hibiscus) (10)
Circa 1792 Planted by George Washington and admired as "a most elegant flowering plant," Texas Star has startlingly large luminous bright red flowers. This native will attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, great in containers on the patio or in the back border. A perfect addition to a rain garden or alongside a stream or pond.
Hibiscus coccineus, the scarlet rosemallow, is a hardy Hibiscus species that looks much like Cannabis sativa (marijuana). It is also known as Texas star, brilliant hibiscus, and scarlet hibiscus. The plant is found in swamps, marshes and ditches on the coastal plain of the Southeastern United States.
This wonderful naturalized Texas perennial is also known as scarlet rose mallow. Although related to the tropical hibiscus that are found in Hawaii and other warm, wet regions, Texas Star hibiscus is quite happy in temperate Central Texas. It grows 3 to 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide and dies back to the ground in winter. As with other perennial shrubby plants, wait until temperatures begin to warm up in spring and then prune off all of the top growth down to the ground and you’ll begin to see the new growth emerge from the roots. Resist the urge to prune off all the stems in late fall or early winter as soon as all the leaves have dropped off. As the plant is preparing to hunker down for winter, many chemical processes are occurring in those “dead” stems. And, the leafless stems provide a little bit of protection from the cold.
Unlike its tropical cousins, Texas Star hibiscus can withstand most of our winters, barring any truly harsh freezes. Be sure to mulch well around the base of the plant to protect the roots from any out of the ordinary cold spells. It can take full sun, but also does fine in part shade, although it may bloom a little less. Texas star Hibiscus can handle wet soils, but works in dry ones, too. Although it will acclimate to our soils and need very little supplemental irrigation in “normal” times, if summer is particularly hot and dry, you will need to water this plant. It spends the spring putting on green growth and then flowers all summer long, attracting a parade of hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. The flowers are large, off-red, and more open than the showy tropical hibiscus, with 5 very distinct petals. Each flower is only open for a day, but new ones open all summer long. Gardener Randy Case says that Texas Star hibiscus have made it through extreme drought and cold in his water-conserving garden. Gail at Natural Bridge Caverns reports that she does not baby them at all. They’re the first plants up in the spring and the first ones to recede in the fall. She doesn’t usually have insect problems on them, either, except a little pill bug damage, and grasshoppers, if it’s a bad year for them. Gail also reports that she allows the seed pods to dry and then breaks them and scatters the seeds around where she wants more plants next year, and also, easily propagates the plant by cuttings. And lastly, Gail points out that she has had the occasional visit from the sheriff’s deputy, as the leaves of Texas Star hibiscus do look strikingly similar to the leaves of a completely different, illegal plant.
Great for Containers Heat or Drought Tolerant Attracts Butterflies Attracts Hummingbirds Attracts Bees
Especially fragrant flowers
Great for containers
Great cut flower
Heat or drought tolerant
Attracts beneficial insects
HA -- Hardy Annual. Hardy annuals can stand some frost, so sow in the open ground well before the last spring frost date, or, in warm winter areas, sow in fall.
HHA -- Half-hardy Annual. Half-hardy annuals will survive a very light frost but are planted in the open at the last spring frost date or a little later. They can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost.
TA -- Tender Annuals. Tender annuals are warm weather plants that cannot withstand any frost and prefer warm nights. Tender annuals with long weeks to bloom (16-18+) should be started indoors 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost.
Lifecycle: Annual; tender perennial
Hardiness: Tender Annual
Size: 3-6' h x 3' w
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Rich, moist, well-drained
Season: Summer to fall
Seed to Bloom: 14-16 weeks
Color: Stars of scarlet crimson
Depth: Scarify by chipping or filing seed and then soak in warm water for about an hour. Surface sow.
Sprout Time: 7-21 days
Starting Indoors: Start in pots 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Keep at about 70-80°F. Vermiculite is the preferred growing medium to prevent fungal problems.
Starting Outdoors: Direct sow after last spring frost in warmer areas
WHEN TO SET OUTSIDE
2 weeks after last springtime frost.
PLACEMENT & CULTIVATION
Hibiscus will attract butterflies and bees; great in containers on the patio, or mid to back border. Also wonderful as a hedge and a perfect addition to a rain garden.
Water Use: Medium Water Use
Watering Details: Keep moist
Soil pH: Prefers neutral but will tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Fertilizer: Mix in about 2" of compost prior to planting, and scratch in about an inch each spring if growing as a perennial.
Diseases & Pests: If aphids are a problem, hose down the plants daily until the insects are no longer present; neem oil is also effective at controlling an infestation.
Plant: Bushy yet stalky plants will reach 6’ tall and 3-4’ wide with with green palmate shaped leaves about 5-6" across.
Seeds: Each flower will turn into a seed capsule containing the peppercorn-like seeds.
When to Cut:
Native to the swampy areas of the southeastern United states, this plant is sometimes referred to as swamp hibiscus.