Scarlet Hibiscus

“Scarlet Hibiscus”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Hibiscus coccineus, commonly called Texas Star, Swamp Mallow or Scarlet Hibiscus is hardy to zone 7.  It will die down in the winter, but return from the roots.  This is not the typical tropical hibiscus which will not survive freezing temperatures.


I first saw Texas Star in bloom several years ago while walking through the neighborhood.  It took a little investigation before I found out what the name of that gorgeous flower was.  Once I found out, I was on the lookout for that plant.  The bloom on this hibiscus is a most striking scarlet.  The flower is big, bold, and there is no way it can be overlooked. 



It starts out with a bud that looks like an ordinary hibiscus bud.  But when it unfurls its eight inch scarlet flower, you realize this is no ordinary hibiscus.


I bought one from a nursery, but have saved and planted seeds to have more.  It grows very easily from seed.  Growing to almost six feet, this plant likes full sun and moist soil.  This tall, eye catching plant will look best at the back of the border.  They start blooming in mid-summer and continue into fall.



It is the vivid scarlet blooms that I love.  Every year I wait for it to bloom and am so excited when that first red flower shows up.  There is a white flowered plant, too, but even though I love white flowers, I’ll stick with the crimson ones.


This is a native plant that grows all over the South.  There is one down side to this plant – the leaves.  At first glance, they resemble the leaves of the marijuana plant.  I have read where a few gardeners have had to do some explaining to the local law enforcement officers.  But if you really look at the leaves, you can tell that Texas Star is just a native plant with a beautiful flower, not an illegal one.


  1. Brenda Kula said,

    July 31, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Oh, I want one of these! I love red, and the fact that it will come back!

  2. Nancy Bond said,

    July 31, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    SWEET is right! What a stunning color!

  3. Anna said,

    July 31, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Oh , yes!, I love it too. My neighbor has one and it is just as you described. I want to put a few in next year.

  4. Jan said,

    August 1, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Brenda, since I am trying to simplify my life, having a beautiful plant that I do not have to drag inside during the winter is a great plus.

    Nancy, the vivid red is what attracted me. The photo doesn’t quite show the true color.

    Anna, maybe you can get some seeds from your neighbor. They are very easy to grow from seeds.

  5. August 1, 2008 at 7:33 am

    I love that true red bloom. And the fact that it is a native and comes back, big bonus!

  6. Jan said,

    August 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Yes, it is a very beautiful flower. The color is so intense without being garish.

  7. August 10, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Wow, what a cool plant! Great blog perennial gardener!

  8. Jan said,

    August 11, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Yes, it is a striking flower. Mine have just started blooming well. I think it tends to bloom in mid to late summer, probably because it freezes to the ground each winter.

  9. Mary said,

    October 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    what is the best way to over winter hibiscus coccineus in zone 4?

  10. Jan said,

    October 2, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Mary, you will have to bring it inside over the winter. This hibiscus will die back and go dormant in the fall, so it would only mean having a container inside that you keep a little moist. My research tells me this is only hardy to zone 6. If you have any seeds, you might be able to start them in the winter, and then the plants may bloom in the summer. Personally, I think this beautiful, red flower would be worth the extra effort. Hope this helps.

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