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Hibiscus mutabilis

Phonetic Spelling
hi-BIS-kus mew-TAB-ill-iss
Description

Confederate rose is a large shrub or small multi-stemmed tree in the Malvaceae (mallow)  family native to China and Taiwan. It grows well in the coastal and piedmont regions of North Carolina. The plant grows rapidly to 10 to 12 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide, so consider its space requirements when determining its planting location.   The genus name Hibiscus is Latin for mallow.  The species name mutabilis is Latin for change, referring to the changing color of the flowers from white when they first open to light pink and then dark pink as they mature.

Confederate Rose requires full sun and loamy soil with high organic matter. It can tolerate being occasionally wet. Prune this plant in the winter after its fall blooms fade. Severe pruning to the ground can rejuvenate leggy plants. It propagates by cuttings that root easily. 

It makes an excellent choice for a specimen plant but can also thrive in a mixed shrub border or butterfly garden. The large, saucer-shaped flowers are an attractant for specialized bees and pollinators. 

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:
  • 'Coton Rose Nagoya'
    White flowers
  • 'Plenus' double flowered
'Coton Rose Nagoya', 'Plenus' double flowered
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#pink flowers#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#low maintenance#specialized bees#ncemgva2018#large shrub#large flowers#pollinator plant#flowers late summer#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#shrub borders
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Coton Rose Nagoya'
    White flowers
  • 'Plenus' double flowered
'Coton Rose Nagoya', 'Plenus' double flowered
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#pink flowers#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#low maintenance#specialized bees#ncemgva2018#large shrub#large flowers#pollinator plant#flowers late summer#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#shrub borders
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hibiscus
    Species:
    mutabilis
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South central and southeast China, Taiwan
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Members of the genus Hibiscus support the following specialized bee: Ptilothrix bombiformis.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Large mostly solitary flowers with 5 petals and a large showy reproductive structure in the center open white and change color to deep pink
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Bright green, elliptical to ovate, lobed with palmate veins and sawtooth dentate margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees