Malvaviscus arboreus, or Turk’s Cap, is a large flowering shrub with a natural tendencys, has a tropical look with large leaves, and flowers resembling a turk’s cap bloom or a closed hibiscus flower. It can grow 6 to 8 feet tall and wide with a wild habit that, when used correctly, can work well in an existing natural setting. It can grow in full sun to partial shade and is hardy in zones 8-11(Central Texas and south). Turk’s Cap is evergreen and blooms red or white from mid-summer to early winter, giving a prolonged interest to the plant.
Turk’s Cap, a Texas Native and Texas Superstar, needs to be used carefully in the landscape, due to its natural habit. It is best for naturalistic or native designs that can grow in mass, allowing its form to show true. It is great along fences where it can grow to its true height and provide an evergreen backdrop to other colorful perennials or annual seasonal color. It can also provide a nice shrub for along windowless walls if you are looking for that natural feel. Planting it behind evergreen shrubs can help to mask its wild appearance if needed but still allow its showy flowers to shine.
Malvaviscus drummondii ‘Big Momma’ is a variety that can survive as far north as Dallas and into southern Oklahoma, and has large eye catching coral red flowers. It is a fast grower to 6 feet tall and attracts butterflies, due to its closed flowers that are difficult for bees to access.
Malvaviscus ‘Pam Puryear’ is a newer hybrid variety with pink flowers. It is more cold hardy than traditional Turk’s Cap and can be grown as an annual north Texas. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and is hardy as a perennial in central and south Texas, blooming late spring to early fall.
Photo Credit: Kristin Howard