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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

What’s Blooming in the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden?

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Swamp mallow

Hibiscus coccineus

This fast-growing perennial is a great addition to moist areas in your landscape. Some people call this plant swamp hibiscus.

It can reach a height of 4 to 8 feet and a spread of 3 to 4 feet. Swamp mallow is native to Florida and prefers full sun to partial shade, flowering more in sunny areas. This plant can handle extended flooding. It needs acidic soil, and any type of soil texture works.

Propagation is from seeds and division. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with its large red summer flowers. I created a moist area in my home landscape by digging a shallow hole, adding potting soil and water to a black plastic oil pan I purchased from a box store, then planting the seeds. The plastic container retains moisture, and it’s somewhat like a rain garden on a very small scale.

For information on this landscape addition, please see the University of Florida publication from which this article was adapted: “Hibiscus coccineus Swamp Mallow,” by Edward F. Gilman, at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp253. And please stop by to see our swamp mallow in full bloom.

Lynn Barber

The Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden is one of several demonstration gardens at the UF/IFAS Hillsborough County Extension Service, 5339 County Road 579, Seffner.

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