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How to Grow a Confederate Rose

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Botanically known as Hibiscus Mutabilis, the Confederate or cotton rose has the unique property of changing color naturally. The bloom starts off white, deepens to a light pink by the second day and turns blue-pink by the third day. This rose grows on a Chinese shrub about 15 feet tall and 10 feet. This low-maintenance rose is commonly found throughout warm regions in the southeastern United States, thus the name Confederate. These roses also grow in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9.

Obtain confederate rose cuttings or seeds from your local nursery or garden supply center. Plant the cuttings or seeds after the danger of the last frost has passed. Although confederates grow in warm climates, with a little care and attention they can thrive in cool climates as well.

Prepare a site with well-draining soil in full sunlight for at least six hours a day or partial shade. Dig a hole 3 to 4 inches deep in the soil in early spring, place a seed into it and cover with soil. If planting a rooted cutting, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball. Lower the 6- to 8-inch-long cutting into the hole and backfill with soil.

Tamp the soil down around the cutting or on top of the seed to remove any air bubbles. Water the soil gently with a watering can. You also can cover the area with a layer of mulch to retard weeds. Water your rose regularly so the soil stays moist.

Fertilize your confederate roses twice a year, once in spring and then in mid-summer. Although confederate roses can thrive without any fertilizer, a mild application is beneficial especially in sandy soil. Spread a layer of organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or manure on the soil.

Mulch the roses with leaves, pine needles or bark in the fall to protect the shrub from harsh winters and ensure a quick recovery in spring.


Things You Will Need

  • Confederate rose seeds or clippings
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Watering can
  • Mulch
  • Organic fertilizer


  • Although confederates prefer moist soils, they are drought resistant and will survive without water for several days at a stretch.
  • Fall cuttings should be placed in a bucket of water for two months, then moved indoors through the winter. Prune the roses with pruning scissors to maintain any desired shape and form. Pinch back dead flowers to encourage fresh growth and remove dead or diseased stems or branches immediately.

About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.