Common names: Rose mallow; Swamp mallow
Botanical names: Hibiscus sp. ‘Lord Baltimore’
General information: This cold hardy perennial produces huge striking red saucer shaped blooms all summer. The ‘Lord Baltimore’ is an improved sterile hybrid produced by Robert Darby during the 1950’s. This easy care plant loves the Texas heat. Use as the tall element in borders or as a specimen accent. ‘Lord Baltimore’ is useful in low wet spots or near ponds or streams.
Size: 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide
Flowers: deep red blooms 8-10 inches wide
Bloom time: Summer to first frost
Leaves: distinctive lobed leaves, medium green
Pests and Disease Problems: No real problems with pests or disease. Leaf scorch occurs if the soil is allowed to dry out.
Growing in North Texas
The ‘Lord Baltimore’ hibiscus is a large perennial that dies to the ground in winter. It prefers full sun, but tolerates light shade. It grows easily in average neutral to acidic soils, but is best in moist, organically rich soils. It requires regular deep watering. Do not let soil dry out. Provide good air circulation, but shelter from strong winds. To support this plant’s fast growth and continuous blooming, fertilize regularly starting in spring and continuing through the growing season. Deadhead spent blooms to maintain appearance. Because this plant is a sterile hybrid, it can only be propagated vegetatively. Take stem cuttings in early fall or carefully divide woody clumps in early spring and replant them 3 feet apart with crowns 3 to 4 inches beneath the soil. Cut down canes to 3 to 4 inches after first frost. New growth will appear mid to late spring.
Other Recommended Hibiscus:
- ‘Moy Grande’ (Texas Giant Hibiscus) has 12 inch rose pink blossoms and is the largest open faced hibiscus and tolerates alkaline soil
- ‘Flare’ has 10 inch fuchsia red flowers and apple green foliage
Make sure that the plants you buy have the Texas Superstar® label in the containers – this is your assurance that you are purchasing plant types that have proven themselves in A&M studies across the state.
Texas A&M Horticulture; “Perennial Hibiscus — Magnificent Blooms Year After Year”; Steven W. George, Ph.D.