Rose mallow, or swamp mallow, is an native American genus that contains many plants including roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) from which carcade, a beverage that Mussolini wanted the Italians to drink, is made. Hibiscus is Latin for "marsh mallow."
Description of rose mallow: Hollyhocklike flowers up to 10 inches across bloom in pink, purple, or white with a dark red eye. Plants have alternate leaves, green above and white and hairy beneath, on stems to 7 feet in height. Plants bloom most of the summer. Rose mallow ease of care: Easy.
How to grow rose mallow: Rose mallows prefer good, moist garden soil in full sun, but the plants will adapt to dry soil. All the members of the clan make big clumps in time, so plenty of room for growth must be allowed. The mallows seem to be unaffected by salt, making them an excellent choice along highways. Without a snow cover a mulch must be provided in cold areas.
Propagating rose mallow: By division or by seed.
Uses for rose mallow: Mallows are fine for wild gardens and places with damp soil. They are also excellent for the back of a bed or border and can easily be grown in pots. When planted in groups, the flowers will make the backyard look like a tropical paradise.
Rose mallow related species: Hibiscus coccineus bears bright red flowers on 4-foot plants and is native to the southern United States. It is not hardy north of Philadelphia.
Rose mallow related varieties: Numerous hybrids in a range of red, pink, and white are sure to add drama to the garden. 'Southern Belle' produces huge flowers often up to 10 inches across in colors of red, rose, pink, and white on 4-foot plants. 'Poinsettia' is a rich red, and 'Silver Rose' is pink. Both reach 5 feet in height.
Scientific name for rose mallow: Hibiscus Moscheutos