Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Swamp Hibiscus
Hibiscus diversifolius

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus) (Info)
Species: diversifolius (dy-ver-sih-FOH-lee-us) (Info)

» View all varieties of Hibiscus

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By eltel
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There are a total of 11 photos.
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive natureguyfrog On Mar 27, 2010, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

The (Afican) Swamp Hibiscus is what seems appropriate for me to call it... as that is where it was collected by Gary Hammer 20+ years ago. I have seed grown plants from the original one purchased at Gary Hammer's retail Desert To Jungle Nursery (L.A. area in CA) I also want to remind people that H. coccinea of SE USA is also called the Swamp Hibiscus...this can be confusing using just common names!

This hibiscus is quite easy to grow and will reseed to some extent. Contrary to some opinions I have found it to be adaptable to moderately dry conditions where leaves remain small and growth is not as lush. It is ever-green to partially ever-green in my central San Diego area (92105). It thrives with extra pruning especially early winter here. Has never died to the ground but will recover from pruning to several inches. I find it an excellant plant for training on a trellis or for an espalier. It is interesting in branching structure to train as a moderate sized "bonsai" plant.

Has bloomed year winter as well if not fully exposed to sun, cold, and wind. Mostly a bloomer in warmer longer day length. Characteristically the flowers never open upward and outward but slightly downward. This makes it desirable to be grown with support to long stems in order to get a good view of the intense color of the center of the flower.

It's natural growth seems much like other bramble shrubs (some of the roses and blackberries and such). It's "sticky" stems and leaves seem to be an aid in growing through nearby taller plants otherwise becomes a low wide-spreading "bramble". Care taken in handling as the tiny spines can sometimes break of to become tiny slivers that are almost impossible to remove!

Positive dave3877 On Jul 13, 2007, dave3877 from Crockett, TX wrote:

i have wild swamp hibiscuses growing next to my pond here in east texas but they are creamy yellow white. i have lots of seeds. blooming right now (whats left at least). i have photos.

Positive mrsmitty On Nov 19, 2003, mrsmitty from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Along the St. John's river in Central Florida these plants grow in abundance. Most have varigated leaves of silver and green. I suppose they need plenty of moisture to grow in a green house or in a yard.

Neutral HibLady On Mar 23, 2002, HibLady wrote:

H. diversifolius is native to S. Australia (i.e., grows in a temperate zone), in Hibiscus Section Furcaria, most of which are also hardy perennial.

Neutral eltel On Jul 26, 2001, eltel from Macclesfield, CHESHIRE (Zone 8a) wrote:

Hibiscus diversifolious - aka Swamp Hibiscus. A native of tropical Africa and Asia but has been introduced to Central and South America. A small shrub to 3 4 feet, it is often grown as an annual, but in pots as a perennial for cultivation in a warm house. The plant is listed as Zone 10 (European). Care is needed when handling the plant as the stems, leaves, and particularly the seed pods, are covered in tiny thorns. The flowers are solitary, cream or pale yellow with a maroon centre (see picture). Easy to raise from seed or cuttings sown under glass in Spring.


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

San Diego, California
Miccosukee Cpo, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Lafayette, Tennessee
Crockett, Texas

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