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Hibiscus acetosella

Common Name(s):
African rosemallow, Cranberry hibiscus, False roselle, Maroon mallow, Red hibiscus, Red-leaved hibiscus
Cultivar(s):
'Red Shield' - most common, deep burgandy, 'Haight Ashbury’ (US PPAF) - leaves resemble marjiuana, ‘Jungle Red’ - deeply dissected palmate leaves, 'Maple Sugar’ (US PP16,286) - burgundy black leaves, ‘Panama Bronze’ (PPAF) - deeply dissected purple-bronze, ‘Panama Red’ (PPAF) - deeply dissected bright red leaves and flowers
Categories:
Annuals, Perennials
Comment:

Most people grow hibiscus for their showy flowers but Hibiscus acetosella has more interesting foliage than flowers.  Its deep red-purple leaves contrast well with any green or silver-leaved plants and they work well with ornamental grasses. They preform bes in average to moist but not wet soil. The plants can grow 3-5 feet tall and up to 30” wide in one season. The palmate leaves are dissected to varying degrees, depending on the cultivar, and look similar to Japanese maple. The leaves of the species are variable, lobed or unlobed, green and red or all red. The foliage is particularly attractive when backlit in the landscape. The inconspicuous flowers are small and deep crimson, almost matching the foliage color. Plants bloom in response to short day length, so they flower very late in the growing season.  It is a good choice for an annual hedge, an attractive annual specimen plant, or for contrast in the mixed border, or cottage garden.  They can be planted in containers but will need to be pinched back to maintain size.  Growth rate: rapid.

Wildlife Value:   Members of the genus Hibiscus support the following specialized bee: Ptilothrix bombiformis.

 

Season:
Summer
Light:
Sun
Color:
Purplish red
Height:
5 ft
Space:
3-5 ft
Flower Color:
Maroon
Hardiness:
Zones 8-9
Propagation:
Seeds, stem cuttings
Origin:
East Africa
Tags:
bees, nectar, hedge, specialized bees, container garden, wildlife, cottage garden, boarder

NCCES plant id: 83

Hibiscus acetosella Hibiscus acetosella
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Hibiscus acetosella Hibiscus acetosella
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Hibiscus acetosella Hibiscus acetosella
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Hibiscus acetosella Hibiscus acetosella
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Hibiscus acetosella Hibiscus acetosella
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0