Description: Hardy, herbaceous North American perennial; large, bright scarlet blossoms open from upper branches in late summer until frost; orange and yellow fall color
Size: Grows to 7 feet high and 6 feet wide; multi-stemmed
Cultural Information: Prefers full sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soil
USDA Zones: 6b through 10
Historical Notes: This southeastern U.S. native was first named in the late 18th century and was soon being grown by avid American gardeners of the day—notably William Bartram, George Washington, and Jean Skipwith of Rappahannock in Virginia. Peter Collinson of London saw a painting of the flower done by Bartram, and asked for seeds to be sent from Charleston, South Carolina.1 In spite of its early popularity, and its use in hybridizing modern hibiscus cultivars, there is little evidence that this species was widely grown in early American gardens. Also known as “Star of Texas,” this showy perennial is suitable for border plantings, used as an accent plant, or grown in containers.