December 2, 2018
Heirloom vegetables certainly get their fair share of gardening attention. But many homeowners don’t realize that there are ornamental plants that are considered heirlooms. One that I’m becoming fonder of, especially in the summer and through the fall season, is Confederate Rose. This is an old fashioned plant that is not a rose at all. It is actually a hibiscus known botanically as Hibiscus mutabilis, with other common names such as Cotton rose or Cotton Rosemallow. Confederate Rose is a wonderful plant that is relatively unknown outside of the Southeast where it has been grown in landscape for many, and I mean MANY years. The large bright green leaves are big, five to seven inches, and fuzzy on the undersides and deeply lobed. They impart a coarse texture that gives the plant a distinctive eye-catching appeal. Beginning in the summer and through the fall, Confederate Rose is in its prime blooming season, and will literally produce hundreds of blooms per plant. As the older flowers are starting to fade there are new ones opening. On a typical day there will be loads of flowers in varying shades of white, pink and dark pink. I love the six-inch diameter flowers that are double forms. At up to ten feet tall, or more, it is impressive. I think the best landscape use would be as a specimen plant in order to properly display the gorgeous and prodigious number of flowers. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I'll see you next time on Southern Gardening.