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Audubon® Rose Mallow
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With its big, bodacious flowers (to six inches wide), Smooth Rose Mallow looks like some tender, tropical beauty you’d find in a conservatory. In fact, this flashy Spirit is native to southern Minnesota, and it tolerates winter temperatures to -30ºF! Being a native plant, it is more than just a pretty face—it services many native insects that have evolved with it. One such specialist is the Hibiscus bee. This gentle bee is a type of ground-dwelling bee called a chimney bee or turret bee. It makes a little turret around the entry to its mud home.
May Benefit & Attract: cardinals & grosbeaks, wrens, sparrows, thrushes, orioles, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
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Recommended by Our Growers
Smooth Rose Mallow is most abundant in the lower Midwest and southward to Louisiana, but there are also scattered populations along the Eastern Seaboard. You’ll find it growing in swampy areas or along creeks and rivers in sunny, open sites. It is distinguished from other Hibiscus species (Smooth Rose Mallow is a type of Hibiscus) by its unique leaves, which have three lobes—a long central one and two smaller side lobes. The leaves bear a resemblance to a medieval weapon known as a halberd. Hence, this plant is also called the Halberd-Leaved Rose Mallow.
If they don’t become bird food, some of the caterpillars that Smooth Rose Mallow hosts become interesting adults. There is the painted lady butterfly, the io moth, and the pearly wood nymph. Then there is a funny insect called the “delightful bird-dropping moth!” It’s actually kind of cute—even though the name is spot-on.
How to Grow
If you’re fortunate enough to have a pond or natural wetland area on your property, you really should plant some Smooth Rose Mallow. It’s beautiful, and the wildlife will love you for it! If you choose a drier site, be sure to irrigate it regularly and never let the roots dry out. Full sun is a necessity for the blooms to open fully. Each blossom lasts only one day, but new flower buds open every day for about a month. Smooth Rose Mallow is one of the last plants to emerge in the spring. It is slow to get going, but once the weather warms, it shoots up like a rocket!
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