Friday, January 15, 2016

Confederate Rose in January

I moved  my confederate rose to a new place where it got more sun. It rewarded me by growing to 8-10 feet tall. ( Didn't measure, but is way above my head.) It bloomed beautifully this fall, and even now is January, it is still beautiful. These dried seed heads look beautiful in a dried arrangement, as well as left standing.
 Confederate rose  ( Hibiscus mutabilis) is a hardy hibiscus and is also called the giant rose mallow. It is a huge plant and is best used as a stand alone or accent plant, unless you have a large border where you can situate it in the back. The flowers open in late summer or fall and are white, fading to rose or dark pink as the day progresses. Each flower last only one day, but multiple flowers may be open at once. It grows in either full sun or light shade and likes, but does not require moist well drained soil. Who in central Alabama has that?
 Propagation is by either seed or cuttings, but cuttings produce a blooming plant faster.The conventional wisdom says to cut 12 inch pieces of stalk, making sure to keep the root end down. Place the cuttings in water and roots will speedily form. These can be potted or planted directly in the ground. I have lost a good many cutting of this plant and others when rooted in water. They sometimes have a hard time transitioning from water to soil. But if you have a lot of cuttings and only need one or two plants, this need not be a hinderance. Some say to hammer the cuttings into the ground where you want them to grow, but although I have only done 2 or 3 cuttings like this, none ever started new growth. I prefer to start the cuttings in community pots, letting them root there. Then when they leaf out I can remove them to either separate pots or the ground.

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