Swamp Hibiscus, Scarlet Rose Mallow, Texas Star, Scarlet Hibiscus

Hibiscus coccineus

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus) (Info)
Species: coccineus (kok-SIN-ee-us) (Info)
Synonym:Hibiscus semilobatus
» View all varieties of Hibiscus
View this plant in a garden


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Bloom Color:

Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)

Arley, Alabama

Bessemer, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama (2 reports)

Dothan, Alabama

Dutton, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Pelham, Alabama

Smiths, Alabama

Tuskegee, Alabama

Woodland, Alabama

Tucson, Arizona

Ashdown, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas

El Centro, California

Merced, California

Sacramento, California (2 reports)

Smyrna, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware (2 reports)

Alachua, Florida

Archer, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)

Chiefland, Florida

Clermont, Florida

Crawfordville, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Naples, Florida

Navarre, Florida

Niceville, Florida (3 reports)

Ocala, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Barnesville, Georgia

Brunswick, Georgia

Buford, Georgia

Clarkesville, Georgia

Dacula, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Richmond Hill, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Rutledge, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Tucker, Georgia

Winterville, Georgia

Elberfeld, Indiana

Farmersburg, Indiana

Derby, Kansas

Fredonia, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Angie, Louisiana

Bastrop, Louisiana

Deridder, Louisiana

Elm Grove, Louisiana

Hammond, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Norco, Louisiana

Paulina, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Zwolle, Louisiana

Baltimore, Maryland

Elkton, Maryland (2 reports)

Woburn, Massachusetts

Lucedale, Mississippi

Madison, Mississippi (2 reports)

Mathiston, Mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Centerville, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Nutley, New Jersey

Roswell, New Mexico

Brooklyn, New York

Woodbury, New York

Aberdeen, North Carolina

Apex, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

New Bern, North Carolina (2 reports)

Oxford, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina (3 reports)

South Mills, North Carolina

West End, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Ashville, Ohio

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Edmond, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports)

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Anderson, South Carolina

Chapin, South Carolina (2 reports)

Columbia, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Darlington, South Carolina

Edisto Island, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Manning, South Carolina

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

North Charleston, South Carolina

Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Simpsonville, South Carolina (2 reports)

Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)

Elizabethton, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Alvin, Texas

Argyle, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Bayside, Texas

Baytown, Texas (2 reports)

Beaumont, Texas (2 reports)

Belton, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Brazoria, Texas (2 reports)

Brownsville, Texas

Carlsbad, Texas

Cleburne, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas (2 reports)

Dallas, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Fabens, Texas

Fate, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)

Houston, Texas (4 reports)

Humble, Texas

Iredell, Texas

Irving, Texas (2 reports)

Jacksonville, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Kilgore, Texas

Kyle, Texas

La Porte, Texas (2 reports)

League City, Texas

Nederland, Texas

Oakhurst, Texas

Orange, Texas

Princeton, Texas

Richardson, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

San Augustine, Texas

Spring, Texas

Temple, Texas

Terrell, Texas

Texarkana, Texas

Texas City, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Venus, Texas

Victoria, Texas

Weimar, Texas

Winnsboro, Texas

Buchanan, Virginia

Buena Vista, Virginia

Disputanta, Virginia

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Locust Grove, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Rixeyville, Virginia

Springfield, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Cabin Creek, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 7, 2013, wildernessjim from Locust Grove, VA wrote:

My fifth year! She is beautiful with wonderful red flowers. This is our best year. She is about ten feet tall and has had many many flowers. The past years have seen many police taking clippings because of the Marijuana like leaves. Even my father in law says it looks like the marijuana they grew for the government during World War II for the Hemp For Victory program. When she flowers they look nothing like Cannabis flowers. Too bad. I'd love to smoke those flowers for my Glaucoma. Fortunately no one has cut down my plants.


On Nov 12, 2012, kuhisch from Arcadia Lakes, SC wrote:

I have a star hibiscus and the leaves are turning yellow. Do I need to be doing something different? I live in South Carolina and we have had some cold weather. Could you give me any help?


On Apr 19, 2012, Greenwilly from Anderson, SC wrote:

This is my first time of growing this plant. I received a plant from my wife's friend in the early fall of last year. I planted it just about the time it was going to seed. I collected the seeds and stored them through the winter. I cut the stalks of the plant down to about 4 inches from the ground in late to mid-January this year. I planted the seeds in several containers in mid-March. They all came up. I have now transferred the small seedlings from their cup containers to larger pots. I used a mixture of mulch, topsoil and a small amount of blood meal mixed into the soil and mulch.They seem to be taking off in the larger pots. I will probably transfer them permanently into the ground in mid to late May. Oh by the way, the original plant that I received last fall is now coming back. I ... read more


On Apr 9, 2012, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

This plant definitely needs a couple of seasons to start reaching its full potential . I purchased a one gallon plant from a nursery in Goldthwaite TX on my way home from a business trip in Amarillo it has been three years and only now are the stalks emerging thick and tall. the first couple of years were a teaser I guess because this year it looks like it is going to put on a show !


On Apr 6, 2012, irishboiler from Fort Wayne, IN wrote:

I bought my hibiscus coccineus early last summer and planted it near my pond. In early winter I poured one bag of mulch over the base of the plant. I am thrilled to see strong growth this spring on the plant being that I am in zone 5b and the plant is only supposed to be hardy to zone 6. That being said it was a mild winter. Regardless it is a beautiful plant.


On Jun 27, 2011, smurfwv from Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

I started some seed in 2010, in 2011 it bloomed. I read that its hardy to -10F, is this true? I live in 6a and I want top lant it in the ground, I just don't want to lose it over winter.


On Feb 4, 2011, xoMissi from Naples, FL wrote:

I absolutely LOVE this plant! I collected seed pods from native wild plants growing in the swampland down here in Southwest Florida. They've sprouted & have just taken off! I treasure them, indeed!

Beware: Even the smallest of young plants will go dormant in winter, but grow back with gusto!

Remember to keep this plant wet, wet, wet! The wetter, the better! Dry will harm it.


On Dec 28, 2010, gardenbugde from Smyrna, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

I gave my Mom a plant in 2008. Her landscaping guy accidentally "whacked" it off at the ground, but it grew back! This past year, it reached 9 feet! She had at least a dozen blooms and she saved me the seed pods. I have one as well and it's doing well; bloomed for me this year for the first time. It's such a lovely color. Everyone should have one!


On Aug 12, 2010, ATL_Hibiscus from Tucker, GA wrote:

This plant gets bigger and has more blooms every year. It has spread and grown so well since the first planting 4-5 years ago that I had to cut it back substantially during the blooming season this year. I normally cut it back to the ground around Halloween. Flowers bloom in June. I do very little upkeep and it thrives. It gets full sun and mostly rainwater here in Atlanta. I don't fertilize. I haven't covered it during the winter freezes. I spray for bugs when I notice the leaves are holey. The blooms are the size of dinner plates and very impressive. I have 2 kinds planted--one blooms a deep red and the other a dark pink.


On Jul 17, 2010, heavenlybamboo from Centerville, MO wrote:


In my experience, the red variety is more of an orange color. However, in many of these DG images the flowers appear to be magenta. Does hibiscus coccineus actually come in a magenta color or even a true, non-orange-ish red? I have both the "red" and white varieties which I grew easily from seeds.


On Oct 30, 2009, sseiber6 from West End, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I got this plant as a gift last year, and was terribly disappointed when it "died" in the Fall. Imagine my disbelief, when I saw the green coming up, the following Spring. I see other comments here, that say their plants stay and grow. Mine gets about 4'-5' tall, and is very pretty. I just wish it would not die down completely. My son, who gave me the plant, has one of his own and it does the same thing. The leaves, turn with the trees, and have very attractive coloring. I did not water, except occasionally, during the hottest part of the year.


On Oct 8, 2009, Harano from Beaumont, TX wrote:

My Texas Star has been an impressive attention getter. Love it, and how FAST it grows. Volunteer sister plants surrounded it after the first season, but in the 3 and 4th season the surrounding plants have been only miniature versions of the original one we purchased in Austin. We're talking short (18") stalks, miniature (2") leaves, and only 3-inch blossoms. The original plant was planted close to a large window where I can enjoy it, but of course I don't see the little ones from inside because they are so near the ground. Only the original plant amidst those still grows taller than the house; new volunteers are all miniatures. What happened to the others??? Could fire ant granules have stunted their growth? Or some other chemical from the exterminator we contract for quarterly... read more


On Jul 8, 2009, RebeccaLynn from Winston Salem, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

When I was a young child in 1951, my family vacationed in southern Florida. We saw these tall, stalky plants with brilliant red flowers. They were growling wild on the sides of the roads. My mother had to have some. My dad pulled up a handful, and we took them back home to Charlotte, North Carolina. He planted them at the corners of our new house around front. My parents left their home for a retirement community in 2000. Over the nearly fifty years those beautiful tall flowers had spread all around the foundation of their home and were absolutely stunning when in bloom every year. Many people stopped to ask what they were.


On Jul 6, 2009, 2racingboys from Bartlett, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

A dear friend of mine gave me a large clump of these hibiscus in early spring.
I couldn't plant them right away & they sat is a wet garbage bag for weeks on the patio. Needless to say, it didn't stop them because they grew right out of the bag & when I planted them, they were huge & bloomed profusely. I just love these!


On Oct 3, 2008, klstuart from Simpsonville, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Zone 7b - This is a great, super low-maintenance plant. I have it in full sun, hard clay soil, no watering system nearly 10 years ago. It grew rapidly, blooms heavily every year even in drought, and I almost never water it!


On Sep 25, 2008, kdaustin from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In its native habitat Star Hibiscus tends to be found along creekbeds, swampy areas, and in ditches. Yes it can go drier...sometimes. If you are in the deep south/eastern seaboard or parts of the west coast where you get regular rains, or if you water a lot anywhere, it will seem like a great plant for "regular" flowerbeds. However if you live in a dry climate/don't water much you will probably want to plant it where it gets more water, like by the ac, or in your water gardens, for best effect. To effect, one of mine in a bed that gets watered every two weeks grows to 3' tall and blooms sparcely, one that grew in a naturally low area with runoff from the neighbors irragation grew to 6' feet and bloomed profusely, the ones I have in 10 gallon pots in my water gardens easily grow 8' and bloo... read more


On Aug 25, 2008, Estepona from Estepona
Spain (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have two big plants. They live on grey water from the house (all my sinks and washbasins drain into one pipe for use in the garden, and the lavatories, bidets etc drain into a septic tank).

They are in constant water, full sun and have reached about 9 feet with plenty of side shoots producing great flowers.

I normally cut back half the stems when they are about 2 feet high, otherwise they look rather ragged. This allows about 5 stems to reach full height and the others bush out below them to fill in the space.

A definate winner if you have plenty of water and space.

I did grow a couple of these plants in pots, but they never looked as spectacular as in the ground.


On Aug 5, 2008, DaddyNature from Atlanta, GA wrote:

I am absolutely thrilled to have had my plant bloom after planting it last year from a collected seed. I missed seeing the bloom on the parent plant -- so I had no idea it is a huge 7.5" across...and red! It's important to note that the foliage is fantastic too. I'm hooked! :-D


On Jul 25, 2008, holmboy from Texas City, TX wrote:

My law enforcement buddies saw this plant and nearly went beserk as it appears to be of the hemp family.
Unfortunately,my mother plant grew weell until this June when it suddenly started to whither on both stalks(about 3ft high) She had plenty of water and was not root bound in her pot. I soaked her in fungicide as recommended by the hibiscus folks and then took the plant out of the pot and soaked the root ball. in C triple action 20(5% mix). I replanted and hope for the best.
BUT, the seeds she produced are growing rapidly and well. I just wonder if any one else has had a spot of this sudden droop and rot?


On Sep 9, 2007, DumbBlonde from Texarkana, TX wrote:

I cut my plants back in late fall. If your plant is not blooming as you like, my plants flowers beautifully after a dose of "blooming" Miracle Grow. I have had much sucess with planting them near air-conditioner units that produce constant water from condensation.


On Jun 24, 2007, Cheiri from Tarpon Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

My plants are growing at my pond edge. When the summer rains come, the pond level will be lapping at their feet. That's OK - they are perfectly happy growing in water up to 18". In the winter, they die back despite our moderate winter temperatures in Florida. Once Spring arrives, they begin to push up from the earth to begin blooming in late June. They will continue blooming their hearts out all summer and fall. I waited this year until they were approx. 12-16" high and then I cut them back to encourage branching which results in more flowers. I put the thicker stem cuttings into the wet sand where they would get some shade and they rooted quickly. Then I transplanted them to sunny locations.

Over the winter, I started 100 plants from seed. They are very easy to start from ... read more


On Jun 22, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I suppose the category is Shrubby Perennial?


On Jun 4, 2006, faykoko from Cross Lanes, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

beautiful flowers and foliage, dies back to the ground here and late ti rise in the spring -mid May


On Dec 28, 2005, almcfarla from Baytown, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

It dies to the ground in winter but comes back from roots. Love the beautiful blooms!


On Oct 16, 2005, mandikat from Virginia Beach, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Because I have a wildlife habitat- I tried this plant in my bog garden first and the next year I planted the harvested seeds in a pot for one of my regular ponds. It has done so well (both over-wintered outside) that I tried some seeds in regular soil by a dead tree used for bird feeding. The plants are all blooming beautifully in all locations and seem happy. This years seeds will be given out as little extras in Christmas cards to friends.


On Sep 5, 2005, Osteole from Lamar, AR (Zone 7a) wrote:

My plant resides in fullsun tendency towards dry soil. I haven't had any problems with it being high maintenance or requiring an inordain amount of water.


On Sep 3, 2005, Tantric11 from Indian Trail, NC wrote:

We have planted these as a border against a fence. They are at least six feet tall at this point. I love the flower even though it only blooms for 1 day.


On May 31, 2005, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I'm tempted to see if this will overwinter here in zone 5 but don't want to risk killing this beautiful plant. I kept my "Great Red" indoors in a container through the winter months and set it out on the back porch in summer. I purchased the plant at Monticello in a four inch pot almost one year ago.


On Jun 14, 2004, msflash from Yantis, TX wrote:

This can grow into a very large plant. My cousin in Ms has one so large it covers the storage shed- and gets lovelier every year. I broght a very small seedling home to East Texas 3 years ago, and every year it gets more beautiful. One of the nursery men told me it is called the Confederate Texas Star--guess because the leaves have 5 points like the lone star of texas-


On Jan 24, 2004, ladywelder66 from Norfolk, VA wrote:

I love this plant. If you don't want it growing tall, you can keep it pruned to a lower height.You really should prune it down after it blooms anyway to keep it neat and encourage better growth.


On Oct 3, 2003, wanda0810 from Ashville, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I live in Ohio (U.S.); Zone 5. I planted one of these plants last year not knowing what it was, I got really lucky to end up with such a pretty flower. It is at least six foot tall with blooms all the way down the plant. Any one who has the chance to have one of these flowers should get it - I love this plant.


On Aug 7, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I was given seed for this plant about three years ago at a Native Plant Synposium in Atlanta, Georgia. I got six plants from the seed, planted them in the red clay there, in an azalea border that got lots of water, and they all grew, but very slowly.

When I moved to Florida I brought one plant with me in a pot, and it was planted in a party shady, raised border last fall. It must like it here because it recently bloomed for the first time--four strikingly huge, red flowers that eventually turned into bright green pods, and when the pods turned brown I collected the seed. I'll be putting the seed in a pot very soon to start more plants.

Here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, I see this plant mostly growing in water gardens, where it can attain great height. ... read more


On Jul 21, 2003, LittleShima from Tucson, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have 4 hibiscus trees. Two are blue also called rose of sharon. These have a different leaf, sort of like a leaf of a mosquito bush. The other is a double yellow and the last is called a lipstick hisbiscus. They grow beautifully and here in Tucson they are easily purchased at any nursery in April.The three bushes I have are a red, an orange with red throats, and a yellow with red throats. They seem do do better in full sun but with our heat they do get stressed. I prune them down about 2/3s and they come right back. I also leave only 2 buds on each branch so the flowers will be bigger.I have learned however that you have to be carefull not to overwater these as the leaves will yellow and start to fall as will the buds.


On Jul 16, 2003, Mkissel from Bethlehem, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Planted in fall last year (nursery specimen). New growth did not appear until early May 2003. Plant is approx. 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide with several "stalks" emerging from base. Buds form in clusters at the top of each. Leaves are similar to a hand that are deep green with 6-7 seraded fingers. Does well in partial shade to full sun. A wonderful specimen to add a different "flavor" to your flower bed or garden.


On Apr 23, 2003, Azalea from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Another common name is Swamp Hibiscus, I thought by the name it would need a shady damp place. I planted one in shade and one with part sun - the one in more sun had many more blooms and grows more rapidly. I gave my neighbor a small one and his was planted in full sun, it was full of blooms when mine only had one or tow blooms at a time.


On Jan 9, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

With its love of moisture, this plant is a great addition to a water garden, which is where I have mine. The blossoms are large (about 8 inches across) and a beautiful scarlet color. It is supposed to attract hummingbirds. The plant goes dormant in the winter. The old stems can be cut off when new growth appears in spring. There is an albino form of this plant.


On May 29, 2002, rmarkham from Morehead City, NC wrote:

I have had this plant for two years now and each year it is more beautifl than the last. It loves to be packed with other plants. I take the seeds from the pods when the pods begin to open and have started several plants that way. It seems like the plant needs a couple years to bloom. I planted two seeds last year and they have come up, but very slow. The parent plant is almost 5 feet tall now, while the new plants are only 2 feet tall. I will try to keep you abreast of the growth. I live on the coast in NC.


On Mar 23, 2002, HibLady wrote:

Hibiscus coccineus is a hardy perennial in zones 6-11, and is native to the USA.


On Sep 5, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant has many common names including Texas Star, Scarlet Hibiscus and Swamp Mallow