Turk's Cap Mallow

Location

Butterfly Garden

​​​​Turk's Cap Mallow

Malvaviscus penduliflorus 

  • Common name: Turk’s Cap Mallow, Cardinal’s hat, Firecracker hibiscus, sleeping hibiscus
  • Scientific name: Malvaviscus penduliflorus
  • Family name: Malvaceae
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Height: 8-12 ft
  • Width: 4-8 ft
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: 9a-11
  • Light needs: Full sun- partial shade
  • Salt tolerance: Moderate
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Can tolerate a range of soil types, prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH 6.1-7.8)
  • Moisture: Moderate water needs – water regularly until established, then only water when conditions are very dry
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Pests/diseases: Not very susceptible to pests or diseases
  • Growing conditions: Best grown in sunny or partly sunny areas with well drained soil, however, Turk’s Cap can tolerate a range of conditions. This plant can get very large, so it should have plenty of room to grow. Once established, it is very drought tolerant, and should only be watered when conditions are very dry. Should be pruned in the spring to keep it at its healthiest.
  • Characteristics: Leaves are broad, pointed, with prominent venation, and have serrated edges. Leaves grow alternately along the stem. Flowers are bright red, point downward, and are described as “looking like they are just about to bloom”. The stamens and style are prominent, red, and stick out of the center of the flower.
  • Propagation: By cuttings
  • Wildlife: Flowers are known to attract various pollinators, especially hummingbirds
  • Facts: Although Turk’s Cap has mainly red flowers, cultivars exist with pink and white flowers. Its genus name “Malvaviscus” comes from a Greek word that means “sticky mallow”. The leaves and flowers were used in Mexico to treat inflammation.
  • Designer considerations: Can be used for hedges or as windbreak, or as a specimen planting. For hummingbird lovers, this plant is a must-have, as it is known to attract hummingbirds with its nectar.
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