The entire genus of Hibiscus is made up of plants of tropical origin that love the sun and humidity. Texas Star Hibiscus or Hibiscus coccineus or scarlet rosemallow, is a hardy Hibiscus species that looks much like Cannabis sativa (marijuana). The plant is found in swamps, marshes and ditches on the coastal plain of the Southeastern United States. It is native from Southeastern Virginia south to Florida, then west to Louisiana. Despite its common name “Texas Star Hibiscus”, the plant is not found naturally in Texas.
This species particularly likes places near water like ditches, streams or that keep it in a humid soil as constant as possible. Hibiscus coccineus or texas star hibiscus is native to the United States and belongs to the Malvaceae family. It is a vigorous shrub, which has a moderate size and does not exceed 2 m in height, which makes it perfect for growing in containers. It forms asymmetrical thickets of several upright stems that rise from the ground, covered modestly by large webbed leaves, topped by fine tips, of intense green color and the edges serrated.
The large flowers appear solitary, are composed of five open petals that are narrowed towards the base, are red scarlet, also the variety “alba” pure white color. The flower has a long stem column. Flowering arises in the second half of summer and if you are in a warm climate you can do it until almost mid-autumn. The life time of the flowers is only one day, something habitual in Hibiscus, but they are born of incessant way. It is good practice to remove the withered flowers that remain in the bush, is a way to encourage it to continue to flourish with wealth.
Thrives in almost all types of soils, as long as they keep a certain humidity. The best exposure is the full sun, although it admits a partial shade, but in absolute shade it does not bloom or it does very poorly. Irrigation must be done in depth and regularly, it is not advisable to allow the substrate to dry; if plants lack soil moisture continuously, they will affect foliage and flowering.
It is important to fertilize the soil every ten days during its active period, so that flowers and leaves appear lovable and with good color. It has foliage of expired condition, with the arrival of autumn the leaves acquire a reddish hue and as soon as the cold appears the plant is detached from the leaves. That is a good time to practice intense pruning, cutting the plant almost to ground level or wait at the end of winter to do so. The plant produces numerous fruits that have the appearance of a walnut; inside they carry hairy seeds of brown color. The fruits are greenish globes. It can be planted immersed in water up to 10 cm deep as a pine-tree plant and water mirrors; but also in the full land, watering it abundantly. Although Hibiscus coccineus is native to Florida and Georgia, it is a rustic plant that does not fear frost, even with long frosts, suitable for medium and large sized water gardens. Propagation in spring through seeds is quite simple and good results
Hibiscus coccineus Care
The multiplication of Hibiscus coccineus must necessarily take place in autumn through the division of the root bushes. In the spring, alternatively, it is possible to carry out sowing, to facilitate this operation it would be advisable to drill the seed with a pin. Hibiscus coccineus could be attacked by parasites such as white fly and aphids. The white fly is mainly capable of producing major damage to the plant due to feeding bites, in the production of melata (which becomes an ideal substrate for the proliferation of fungi) and in the transmission of viruses. Feeding bites are able to subtract lymph from the leaves, minimizing the activity of the plant, and producing alterations such as to cause its progressive dehydration.
The coccinic hibiscus usually suffers without any problems short periods of drought, but also a damp or constantly drenched water; for a balanced development and abundant flowering, it is advisable to water it regularly, from March to October, always waiting for the dry soil between one watering and the other; the scarcity of water brings the plant to produce very few flowers. These shrubs can be found in water gardens, but also as backgrounds in perennial or annual perches.