Thursday, March 5, 2009

Confederate Rose or Cotton Rose (Hibiscus Mutabilis)

The Confederate Rose or Cotton Rose (Hibiscus Mutabilis) is a shrub or small tree from China that thrives in the southern gulf coast of the United States. The Confederate Rose can reach a height of fifteen to twenty feet tall and have a spread of ten feet. The foliage has a coarse texture on the underside and the size of the leaves range in size from five inches to seven inches. In the Dallas Fort Worth area the Confederate Rose will drop its leaves after first frost. After the first frost, the Confederate Rose will die back to roots if the weather stays below thirty-two degrees for more than several nights. From late summer to October, Hibiscus Mutablis will be in full bloom. In the morning the blooms will start out white or light pink and grow darker throughout the day, until it reaches deep red in color. Most blooms only last twenty four hours. The blooms are delicate and range in size from three to five inches. After the blooms have died, a small round seed pod forms. Once the pod has dried, the pod can be removed and the seeds can be harvested.

Plant Care: The Confederate Rose needs little care. Once established, it will thrive in most soil types, but it prefers a soil high in organic materials.
Moisture: The Confederate Rose loves water. In the Dallas Fort Worth Area,
it needs to be watered every day. If the Confederate does not get enough water,
the leaves will wilt and start to droop. If watered in the afternoon or evening the leaves will perk back up.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-9.

Propagation: Propagate from cuttings in the spring or in the fall
after first frost. The prefer method in the Dallas Fort Worth Area is to take
cuttings after first frost. Place cuttings in a bucket of water and let it sit until next spring. Depending on the amount of light available and the temperatures, cuttings may form in a few weeks or take as long as 6 months before roots have formed. Propagation can also be done by seed, direct sow after last frost.

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