Hibiscus moscheutos | Swamp Rosemallow, Musk mallow, 芙蓉葵 (Fu Rong
Hibiscus moscheutos is a cold-hardy perennial found in wetlands and
along the riverine systems of the southeastern United States. Its
range extends from Texas to the Atlantic states, northward into
southern Ontario. In Canada, it is listed as a species of special
concern by the Species at Risk Act.
There are multiple sub-species of Hibiscus moscheutos, but
taxonomic consensus is lacking in regard to nomenclature. Adding to
the confusion is the fact that in the US, Hibiscus moscheutos
crosses easily with both Hibiscus laevis and Hibiscus dasycalyx,
posing a threat to these species by hybridization and encroachment
into their respective ranges.
Luna Red is a seed propagated cultivar, appealing because of its
compact, well-branched, shrubby habit. It can grow to almost 1m tall
and half as wide with flowers up to 15cm across. The Luna series
currently contains four colors: ‘Luna Red’ (deep-burgundy red),
‘Luna Blush’ (white with blush-pink rim and dark-red eye), ‘Luna
Pink Swirl’ (pink picotee pattern with a dark eye) and ‘Luna White’
(white with large, red eye). This series is ideal for container
plantings as well as landscape uses. Once established, Hibiscus
moscheutos can tolerate a variety of environmental conditions.
When grown from seed, it can be beneficial to pinch Hibiscus
moscheutos (and the other American Hibiscus as well) prior to or
shortly after planting in containers. This is generally a tip pinch,
removing only the growing point of the plant, and should leave 4-6
leaves on each branch. Pinching increases lateral branching and the
total number of flowers produced on each plant.