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Hardy Hibiscus, Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow 'Southern Belle'

Hibiscus moscheutos

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus) (Info)
Species: moscheutos (mos-KEW-tos) (Info)
Cultivar: Southern Belle
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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

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

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:

Hamilton, Alabama

Jacksonville, Florida

Morris, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Terre Haute, Indiana

Belle Chasse, Louisiana

Youngsville, Louisiana

Mason, Michigan

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Austin, Texas

Cedar Hill, Texas

La Verkin, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 4, 2010, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall,
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

The 'Swamp Mallows' of the USA are a group of incredibly beautiful plants with masses of huge flowers up to 11 inches across. There are many similar species and countless cultivars, ranging from white, pink to bright red, some with dark centres.

As these plants are so hardy and like moist soil, I thought they would be successful in Britain, but our cool, dull summers do not suit them. My plants took all summer to reach flowering size, and I got one (11 inch) flower before the Autumn rain turned the other flower buds to mush.
I will have to try some of the very short varieties - they might reach flowering size earlier.
Definitely worth any amount of effort to grow them - I so envy the Americans and their hot summers!


On Aug 9, 2005, corkey1109 from Granbury, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

one thing that i have found out is to keep fertilizing with a 15-5-10 every 2 weeks to keep the buds coming...will keep blooming from june thru october


On May 12, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've had "Southern Belle" for about 2 years now. I protect the roots in winter with a good mulch of hay. The plant always dies back to the root crown with freezing temperatures, but returns with vigor each Spring when the temperatures are consistently warm. The dinner plate-sized blooms always draw attention and much admiration. This hibiscus seems to have a shorter blooming cycle than most other hibiscus, but it is certainly stunning when in flower.


On May 11, 2005, ssipes from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is an amazing plant that literally stops traffic in our yard. Though it is listed as needing moist soil, it has not suffered in our yard of sandy soil that does dry out between rain and supplemental waterings. The verocity with which it bursts from the ground reminds me of Jack's beanstalk, or maybe the "Little Shop of Horrors" plant.

Update 1 yr later: This plant is out of control! My 3 yr old clumps sent up over 50 stems each this year. I thinned them out and pruned it but the plant still got over 6 ft tall and 6 ft wide this year. Now it is stopping traffic literally because its blocking the view of traffic at my street corner. I just pruned it severely again, and will probably move it to the alley this fall. It also sets fruit like crazy and I cannot keep up... read more


On Jun 17, 2003, fidler from La Verkin, UT wrote:

Seed is easy to germanate and plant is reletivily easy to grow. Blooms freely under most conditions and holds good. strong alkaly lessens stamina and may effect winter-over. grow in bog or moist location. Not recomended for in pond gardening. In colder areas prevent the root ball from freezing. Top growth die off does not effect next years top growth. May be grown as an anual in very cold areas if started in fall and grown thru the winter.