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Hibiscus coccineus

Common Name(s):
Red hibiscus, Scarlet rose mallow
Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Wildflowers

Hibiscus coccineus or Hibiscus coccinea is a vigorous, sturdy, erect, woody-based perennial that typically grows 3-6' tall and features showy, hollyhock-like, 5-petaled, bright scarlet red flowers (3-5" diameter) borne in the upper leaf axils of the plant over a long, mid-summer to early fall bloom period. 

Flowers of red hibiscus are very large and striking, up to 6 in.wide. The large, bold leaves add to the striking effect. It can be used in wet areas, such as beside ponds or in boggy areas. This plant is slightly salt tolerant.

It is a large plant for the rear of the perennial border, mixed border or courtyard. Also effective when grouped in moist locations such as along the edge of a pond or stream.

Sometimes commonly called swamp hibiscus because it is native to marshes and swamps in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:   This plant is susceptible to damage from deer. Its flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.  Members of the genus Hibiscus support the following specialized bee: Ptilothrix bombiformis.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: It has some susceptibility to blight, canker, rust, leaf spots, aphids, scale, whiteflies, and Japanese beetle. Taller plants may need staking.


mid to late summer
Full sun to partial shade
6-8 ft.
Flower Color:
deep red
USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9
Scarlet rose mallow has hemp-like, palmately compound, deep green leaves (5-6" wide) with a finely toothed margin.
Each flower of the Scarlet rose mallow has a prominent and showy center staminal column.
Herbaceous perennial
Scarlet rose mallow is best grown in average, medium to wet soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun or light shade. Plants may become leggy with diminished flowering in too much shade. It tolerates summer heat and humidity, but soil should be kept moist throughout the growing season. Only reliably winter hardy to USDA Zone 6, so it should be grown in a protected location with a good winter mulch in other areas.
division, seed
full sun
moist soils, tolerates poor drainage
Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Eastern USA
Life Cycle:
sun, summer, specialized bees, wet soil, bees, nectar, pollinator, perennial, hummingbirds, red, wet, wet site, salt tolerant, wildlife, butterflies, showy

NCCES plant id: 728

Hibiscus coccineus Hibiscus coccineus
Jane, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Hibiscus coccineus Hibiscus coccineus
koizumi, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Hibiscus coccineus Hibiscus coccineus
koizumi, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Hibiscus coccineus Hibiscus coccineus
Debbie Roos