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Hibiscus moscheutos (Swamp hibiscus); Hibiscus coccineus (Scarlet hibiscus)
Mallow family

Moscheutos.jpg (15635 bytes) Coccineus.jpg (13172 bytes)

Swamp hibiscus

Scarlett hibiscus

Swamp hibiscus is a multi-stemmed, shrub like herbaceous perennial up to 7' tall that dies back in the winter, and resprouts in spring.  Flowers are about 6" across, and are pink with crimson centers.

Scarlet hibiscus is a shrub like herbaceous perennial that also dies back in winter, and resprouts in spring.   Established plants can have one to several stems up to 7' tall.  The five petaled flowers are brilliant crimson red and 6-8' across.  Each lasts only a day, but new ones continue to open all summer and fall.

Both are native to Florida, and occur naturally in swamps, marshes and ditches.


Light:  Does best in full sun; In hot, humid places, they benefit from some afternoon shade.

Moisture:  Likes a moist, good garden soil.  Scarlett hibiscus can tolerate some flooding, but established plants will survive in normal soils without supplementary watering.  Swamp hibiscus will not tolerate dry conditions.  My swamp hibiscus is in very boggy soil, and the scarlet hibiscus is in moist, but drained soil.  They both have 'wet feet".

Hardiness:  Swamp hibiscus to zone 5, scarlett hibiscus to zone 7

Propagation:  By seeds or root division.  Seeds should be nicked, then soaked in hot (not boiling) water for 48 hours prior to planting.  I germinate mine in damp papertowels and zip lock baggies.   Seeds normaly take 30-60 days to germinate.  Sow in well drained soil, and keep 70-75 degrees.  Scarlett hibiscus seeds sown the end of Nov, now have their first buds on them in July.  Swamp hibiscus appears to be a slower grower.

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