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How to Care for Confederate Rose Plants

The Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is a large flowering shrub from the Hibiscus family that’s native to China. The Confederate rose grows up to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide, with large, 5- to 7-inch-long, bright green leaves. The Confederate rose blooms from late summer into fall with bright white flowers that turn deep pink. The flowers are large, 3 to 5 inches across, and are followed by round, hairy seed capsules that resemble cotton bolls. The Confederate rose grows best in warmer climates, in USDA Hardiness zones 7 through 9, where winter temperatures rarely dip to 10 degrees F.

Plant the Confederate rose in a location that receives full to partial sunlight and has rich, well-draining soil. Plant the Confederate rose in a spot that’s protected from winter winds and away from frost pockets in climates that experience winter frosts or freezes.

Soak the soil around the roots once each week with water during the spring, summer and early autumn. Water the shrub only when rainfall is less than 1 inch in a week.

Feed the Confederate rose once each year in early spring with a slow-release fertilizer made for flowering shrubs. Follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Prune Confederate rose shrubs in early spring, before new growth begins. Prune back to the ground any older stems that have been damaged by frost. Trim back the other stems to shape the shrub.


Propagate Confederate rose shrubs by taking stem cuttings in early spring. Insert the severed end of the cutting in a lightweight potting mix, place the cutting in a sunny spot and water it daily to keep the soil moist until it roots.


Protect Confederate roses from severe frost damage by spreading a 3- to 5-inch-thick layer of bark mulch on the ground around the shrub to insulate its roots. Spread the mulch around the shrub in fall and remove it in early spring.

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