What Are Dinner Plate Hibiscus Plants?

The Dinner Plate Hibiscus plant, Hibiscus moscheutos, is a cold-hardy perennial plant. Its big, colorful blooms make it popular with gardeners and landscapers.

Its native habitat is the wetland along rivers in the eastern United States. It is found as far west and south as Texas and can survive as far north as southern Ontario in Canada.

Growing Dinner Plate HibiscusPin

However, it can be found naturally as far west and south as Texas and can survive naturally as far north as southern Ontario in Canada.

Given its cold tolerance, the dinner plate hibiscus can be grown in Zones 4 to 9.

The plant is also called rose mallow, and variations of the name include:

  • Eastern rose mallow
  • Swamp rose mallow
  • Crimson-eyed rose mallow, from the bright red spot that often appears in the plant’s flowers.

Quick Facts On Hibiscus Moscheutos

  • Family: Malvaceae
  • Light: Full sun
  • Temperature: 60° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water: Regular watering needs
  • Fertilizer: Well-balanced fertilizer 
  • Propagation: Division
  • Common Problems: Crown rot, rust, leaf spot, and blight

Hibiscus Moscheutos Care

What Does The Dinner Plate Hibiscus Plant Look Like, And How Big Does It Grow?

This hibiscus looks like a woody-stemmed shrub, usually with triangular or deltoidal-shaped leaves.

Although Hibiscus Moscheutos dies back to the ground each winter, it sends up new growth in the spring that can reach three or more feet tall.

A mature plant can be 5′  to 7′ feet wide.

When Does The Hibiscus Moscheutos Flower? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

The dinner plate Hibiscus moscheutos puts out large, showy blooms, sometimes between 8″ and 12″ inches across.

Shades of red, pink, and purple are common. White flowering plants can also be found.

Wide varieties have bright crimson centers in the blossoms, giving the plant one of its many names: crimson-eyed mallow.

Individual flowers do not last more than a day or two, but the plant puts out many buds and blooms throughout a season lasting from mid-July into August.

While the blossoms are showy, they aren’t particularly fragrant.

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

The moscheutos hibiscus thrives best in full sun. However, given the plant’s natural range from Ontario to Texas, the dinner plate hibiscus isn’t especially fussy about temperature requirements. 

It does best in temperatures about 60° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, Hibiscus Moscheutos is winter-hardy, dying back to the ground each year and producing new growth each spring.

The plant can tolerate heat well as long as it is watered regularly.

How And When To Water And Fertilize The Dinner Plate Hibiscus?

The native habitat is the wetland. The plant needs a lot of water regularly.

oil should not be allowed to dry out. The plant will need even more regular watering if your soil is sandy or porous.

If a dinner plate hibiscus does not receive enough water, it will look ragged. It may even drop its lower flower buds and leaves.

It is best to fertilize the Swamp rose mallow in early spring. New growth will appear after all danger of frost is past.

Hibiscus is often one of the last plants to re-emerge in the spring.

A well-balanced fertilizer will help the new growth develop properly.

In early summer, when buds begin to form, another dose of fertilizer will help the plant have enough nutrients to develop its beautiful flowers.

What Is The Best Soil For Hibiscus Moscheutos, And When Should You Transplant?

The native habitat of the dinner plate hibiscus is the wetland. Therefore, the plant needs a lot of water regularly.

Soil should not be allowed to dry out. The plant will need even more regular watering if your soil is sandy or porous.

If Hibiscus Moscheutos does not receive enough water, it will look ragged. It may even drop its lower flower buds and leaves.

Dinner plate hibiscus is best fertilized in early spring. New growth will appear after all danger of frost is past.

Hibiscus is often one of the last plants to re-emerge in the spring. A well-balanced fertilizer will help the new growth develop properly. 

In early summer, when buds begin to form, another dose of fertilizer will help the plant have enough nutrients to develop its beautiful flowers.

Does Hibiscus Moscheutos Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

In the spring, when new growth appears, the old woody stems from the previous year should be cut down to a height of 6″ inches with a pair of clippers and discarded.

New growth comes from the ground and not from the old stems.

As the dinner plate hibiscus flowers bloom and are spent, it is neater to deadhead or remove and the spent blooms.

The plant doesn’t require this to continue blooming. However, the old blooms are untidy and can be removed to make the plant look nicer.

How To Propagate Dinner Plate Hibiscus?

A well-established moscheutoss hibiscus can be divided. The plant doesn’t need division often.

The division or propagation of dinner plate hibiscus is best done in early fall, while the plant grows above ground but still develops root systems.

This will allow the plant some time to recover before winter sets in.

Here’s what to do:

  • Trim back the woody stems to 6″ inches, and remove the plant as though you were about to transplant it.
  • Wash any excess soil from the roots, and avoid damaging the main root ball.
  • Disinfect a knife in a solution of water and bleach.
  • Cut the root ball into two approximately equal halves. Most hibiscus plants can be divided in two readily.
  • Place the plants in their new homes by digging holes like those described for transplants above.

Hibiscus Moscheutos Pests And Diseases

In areas with wet winters, crown rot is an occasional problem for dinner plate hibiscus.

To prevent crown rot, you might leave the old growth until spring to provide a bit of protection to the underground part of the plant during the winter.

Fungus problems include rust, leaf spot, and blight that occasionally affect the leaves of Hibiscus Moscheutos.

You should check the plant regularly during the growing season and remove any diseased leaves.

These should be completely discarded or burned where it is legal and not put into the compost heap. A fungicide can also treat some problems.

Suggested Dinner Plate Hibiscus Uses

This hibiscus type grows quite tall and needs a great deal of space. It will outcompete other perennials around it.

The dinner-plate hibiscus is best used as a centerpiece plant or in places where verticality is emphasized, like a fence or foundation.

Given its love of water, it might be an excellent plant to put alongside a water feature like a pond or creek if one is flowing on your property.

A pair or a row of them can mark an entrance or path, like the sidewalk to a house.

(My mother was especially fond of dinner plate hibiscus and used them to mark both ends of concrete steps leading up to her house.


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