The Confederate rose, is an attractive bush-like plant with large, soft green-gray leaves commonly grown in many areas of the South. The flowers of the plant are double, 4 to 6 inches in diameter, and open white or light pink and darken to a deep fuchsia or red in the evening. In subtropical or temperate areas of the South where hard freezes do not generally occur, the Confederate Rose can reach 12 to 15 feet high; however, in most areas the plant behaves like a perennial with the foliage dying back in winter, re-emerging in the spring, and then growing between 6 and 8 feet in height at maturity.
Plant Family and Origins
The Confederate rose, or Hibiscus mutabilis, is a member of the Malvaceae family, a diverse family of plants comprising nearly 1,500 herbs, trees and shrubs which includes the okra and the cotton plants. Contrary to popular belief, the Confederate rose is not native to the American South. The plant is indigenous to areas of Southern China.
The Confederate rose is suitable for growing in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 9, which covers many areas of the Southeastern U.S., including parts of Tennessee, Virginia and Arkansas and all of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Provided the plant has the opportunity to open its late blooming flowers before the first fall frost, the Confederate rose will typically thrive in any area of the South.
Confederate rose plants bloom from summer to late fall.
Plant the Confederate rose in a sunny location of the landscape. The plant will also grow in partially shaded areas when full sun is not available.
Grow the Confederate rose in fertile, well-drained soil with an average moisture content. Although the plant can tolerate periods of infrequent rain, provide the Confederate rose with an inch of water per week during periods of drought.
Propagate cuttings from the Confederate rose in early spring when plants are entering the growing season. For best results, dip the cutting in water and then into a rooting hormone, gently shaking off the excess. Plant the cutting in a well-drained container with a commercial potting mix, and lightly press the soil around the cutting. Place the container in a bright area but out of the direct sunlight, and keep the potting mix moist but not wet until the cutting is established.