About Swamp Mallow: Though many of the plants in the Hibiscus genus grow in tropical or semitropical regions, several hardier species such as this one are native to North America. Experimental gardener Thomas Jefferson included this species of hibiscus in his list of native plants that had possible medicinal value. The influential pioneer of American gardening Bernard McMahon spoke very favorably of this flower, recommending it for home gardeners in 1806. The genus name Hibiscus comes from the Greek word for “mallow,” the name of a common flower. In the language of flowers, hibiscus signifies delicate beauty or gentleness.
Swamp Mallow Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting the seeds ¼” deep. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days before direct sowing. To start indoors, sow seeds ¼” deep in a flat or individual peat pots, keeping the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 80-85 degrees F until germination. Keep the seedlings evenly moist. When the weather has warmed and the seedlings are well established, transplant outdoors. This plant adapts well to marshy or consistently wet soil.
Growing Swamp Mallow Seeds: In their first seasons of development, these young plants need consistent moisture for healthy growth. Mature plants can adapt to some drought or excess moisture. In general, this plant will produce the best results in moist, rich soil. Pinch back the growing stems in spring to produce a bushier, more compact plant. Deadhead spent blossoms to prolong blooming. When the plant dies back at the end of the season, cut it down to several inches above the ground. Provide a thick layer of mulch for protection over winter, especially if the ground freezes. In cooler climates the plant tends to be slow to emerge in the spring, often not appearing until early summer. These flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Harvesting Swamp Mallow: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Swamp Mallow Seeds: After flowering, this plant will produce papery light brown seed pods that contain fuzzy, round brown seeds. Remove the pods and spread them out to dry. Open the papery pods and shake out the seed inside. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Swamp Mallow Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Crimsoneyed Rosemallow, Marshmallow Hibiscus Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 60-72 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Partial Shade Soil Moisture: Wet USDA Zone: 5a-10b Seeds Per Oz: 3,600 Produces large, rounded green leaves and 6-8” flowers in white or pale pink with deep red centers.