Annabelle Hydrangea isn't the only Southern native shrub with voluptuous blooms. Just take a look at this native Hibiscus! Hibiscus moscheutos displays blooms up to 12 inches across. The blooms on her remind me of the huge dresses worn by Southern Belles on the movie Gone with the Wind.
|Hibiscus moscheutos Lord Baltimore|
Also known as Swamp Mallow, Dinner Plate Hibiscus (Due to the huge diameter of the flower), and Rose Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos is native to marshes in the Southeastern United States.
Many new varieties of this hibiscus have been developed, resulting in a wide range of bloom colors and interesting foliage.
The huge blooms up to 12 inches across begin opening in late June or early July in our Georgia garden and keep coming until cool weather arrives in the Fall. Although each bloom lasts just one day, a large plant can sport several blooms at one time. Flowers come in many different shades of pink, red, or white. They might be a solid color or have a red eye or some type of variegation in the bloom.
Like Hibiscus coccineus, this plant will grow very fast if it is happy in the spot where it grows. Give it plenty of room, because by mid-summer, it can be 5 feet tall and just as wide. Rose Mallow, like other perennial hibiscus, will die to the ground in Winter and regrow from the base in late Spring.
This fabulous Hibiscus is as easy to grow as Hibiscus coccineus, as long as you have a spot in full sun and can reach it with a hose. In my garden, this hibiscus has proved to be quite drought tolerant, as long as I give it a drink of water when I notice the leaves drooping from thirst.
Hibiscus moscheutos has a larger hardiness range than coccineus, so it can be grown in gardens further north. According to the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, Hibiscus moscheutos can be grown in zones 5-10.