Crimsoneyed Rosemallow



Botanical Name:  Hibiscus moscheutos

Common Name:  Crimsoneyed Rosemallow, Swamp Mallow, Swamp Hibiscus

Description:  In early to mid-summer, North Florida wetlands and roadside ditches are adorned with the big brilliant white to pink flowers of Crimsoneyed Rosemallow. This wildflower blooms profusely and has an abundance of wildlife value. It is pollinated primarily by bees, with bumble bees, solitary anthophorid bees, and native bees (including the Rose-mallow Bee which is a Hibiscus specialist) being the most common visitors. The plant also provides nectar to butterflies and is a larval host to many Lepidoptera including Gray hairstreak, Painted lady, Common checkered skipper and Tropical checkered skipper butterflies, and Io and Delightful bird-dropping moths. Its plethora of seeds are consumed by many birds including the Northern bobwhite quail. Birds like the Redwing blackbird nest in the plant.

Crimsoneyed Rosemallow flowers are saucer shaped with five overlapping white/pink petals and a deep red to crimson “eye” in the flower’s center from which a creamy white to pale yellow staminal column protrudes. Flowers can reach up to 8″ in diameter. The semi-woody stalks have 3- to 6-inch long by 1- to 3-inch wide oval-shaped toothed leaves that are alternately arranged. They are grayish-green with paler to silvery pubescent undersides. After flowering, 1- to 3-inch green beaked capsules form. They turn brown before bursting open to release an average of 120 brown round seeds.

Grows best in wet to moist acidic muck or sand. Needs sun, part sun, or part shade. Quickly grows 3-7′ tall x 2-4′ wide. Crimsoneyed Rosemallow requires consistently moist to wet soil to thrive. It makes a great specimen plant at the edge of a garden pond or screen planting along a wetland edge. It can also be grown successfully in a large container with no or very few drain holes. This plant goes dormant in winter and will die back to the ground.

Its native habitat is wet sites in organic muck or sandy soils with acidic pH. Wet pine flatwoods, edges of sloughs, swamps, bogs, brackish and freshwater marshes and ditches.

Tolerant of inundation with brackish water. Has some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.

Hibiscus moscheutos, Hibiscus grandiflorus, and Hibiscus coccineus are all Florida native hardy hibiscus.

This plant has some edible and medicinal uses.

This plant in 1-gallon containers is 1-3′ tall.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 3-5′ tall.

Plant Lore: The stems become slimy when cooked and can be whipped into a fluffy consistency (like egg whites). This was mixed with sugar and used as a delivery system for bad tasting medicines. These were the original “marshmallows.” The genus name Hibiscus is from the Greek hibiskos, or “mallow.” The species epithet moscheutos means “musk-scented” in Latin.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9


Additional information

Container Size

1-gallon, 3-gallon


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