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Similar but less problematic plants:
Hibiscus grandiflorus Form
Hibiscus laevis is often confused with:
Abelmoschus esculentus Flower
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Hibiscus moscheutos Native habitat
Clethra alnifolia Clethra alnifolia
Vernonia noveboracensis Form
Hibiscus laevis has some other problems:
White-Tailed Deer

Smooth Rose-mallow Hibiscus laevis

Previously known as:

  • Hibiscus militaris
Phonetic Spelling
hy-BIS-kus LAY-viss
Description

Halberd-leaved rose mallow is a rapidly growing perennial in the Malvaceae (mallow) family and is native to southeastern Canada and central and eastern United States.  The genus name Hibiscus means mallow in Latin and Greek, and the species name laevis means smooth referring to the leaves which are hairless.

It grows to a height of 4 to 6 feet and a width of 3 to 4 feet. It has erect green stems and large, showy, white or pink flowers. It is a relative of the okra plant and has a slimy mucilaginous sap. 

This plant prefers full or partial sun, fertile soil, and wet conditions and grows best in the coastal and piedmont regions of North Carolina where it bears fruit from August through October. Propagation occurs through seed planting. 

Use in a pollinator, butterfly, or rain garden, along streams or ponds, or in wet areas of the cottage or native plant garden. It grows quickly in warm weather and works well in the back of a border, in wetland gardens, and woodland habitats. This heat-tolerant plant attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. It is browsed by white-tailed deer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#water garden#rain garden#heat tolerant#white flowers#pink flowers#moths#native perennials#native shrub#low maintenance#cottage garden#wetlands#stream banks#pond margins#fast growing#NC native#deer browsing plant#large flowers#light pink flowers#long bloom time#pollinator plant#flowers mid-summer#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#flowers late summer#border back#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains OBL#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#beetles#bee friendly#Audubon#woodland garden#coastal#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#water garden#rain garden#heat tolerant#white flowers#pink flowers#moths#native perennials#native shrub#low maintenance#cottage garden#wetlands#stream banks#pond margins#fast growing#NC native#deer browsing plant#large flowers#light pink flowers#long bloom time#pollinator plant#flowers mid-summer#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#flowers late summer#border back#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains OBL#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#beetles#bee friendly#Audubon#woodland garden#coastal#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hibiscus
    Species:
    laevis
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern Canada, central and eastern U.S.A.
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. It is browsed by white-tailed deer.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit displays from August to October. Large finely hairy seeds are carried by the water.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    White to pink flowers bloom from June to September and are 5 petaled with a deeper colored throat and up to 6 inches wide. Prominent long stamens in the center of the cup-shaped flower. Each flower lasts for a day.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The green leaves simple, alternate, smooth are 3 lobed and up to 6 inches long and 4 inches across. Resemble the old fashioned halberd spear. The margins are serrate-crenate. The leaf shape can vary from 3-5 lobed or unlobed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are terete and glabrous, branching sparingly
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Pond
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Wet Soil