Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)

Common name: Turk’s cap, wax mallow, Texas mallow, manzanilla, sleeping hibiscus
Turks Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)
Botanical name: Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Virtues: Large, vivid flowers. Excellent butterfly and hummingbird plant. Long flowering season, with heaviest bloom coming in late summer and fall.

Flowers: Bright red flowers appear from spring through fall, attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. The petals seem to open only partially, giving the flower a tubular shape and inspiring the common name of Turk’s cap. Another common name is sleeping hibiscus, as they look like hibiscus flowers that aren’t quite open. A long stamen protrudes from the center of the flower. Small apple-like fruit follows the bloom and attracts birds.

Habit: Shrubby perennial to 10 feet tall and wide, though typically half as large in gardens.

Season: Spring through fall.

Origin: Stream banks, wood edges and slopes of south-central Texas, the southeast U.S. and northern Mexico.

Cultivation: Grow in part shade to shade. Prefers moist soils but will tolerate some drought. Prefers good drainage. Will adapt to different conditions, including full sun. Prune half of the previous year’s growth in early spring. USDA Zones 8–11.

Horticulture January 2010 is available as a download; it includes 50 great native plants.

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