'Buck Pink' Swamp Rose Mallow

'Buck Pink' Swamp Rose Mallow

Regular price $4.00 Sale

Hibiscus moscheutos

Origin: Buck, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Improvement status: Wild (new cultivar?)

Seeds per packet: ~25

Germination tested 12/2023: 57%

Life cycle: Perennial

Swamp rose mallow is a spectacular native perennial hibiscus found along rivers, lakes, ponds, and other wetlands from Florida to New Hampshire along the coast, and west to Texas and Wisconsin. Flowers can range from white to magenta, but these seeds come from a largely uniform pink-flowering population growing in Buck, Pennsylvania (southern Lancaster County). They were collected by our friend Zach Elfers.

This species is most frequently grown as an ornamental plant — it can be quite happy in garden soils, not only in wetlands — but it is far more useful than that. Practically the whole plant is edible at some point in its life-cycle, including leaf buds and young leaves, flowers, immature seed pods (which can be cooked like okra), seeds, and roots. It has been used as a fiber crop too, for rough cordage, but there are better alternatives. However as a medicinal plant, its attributes are impressive.

From the good folks at Wikipedia: "The leaves and roots are known to contain mucilage. Tea from boiled leaves has been used to relieve cough, sore throat, and digestive inflammation. These medicinal attributes of the tea have been used to treat dysentery, lung ailments, and urinary infections. An infusion of dried stalks has been used to treat bladder infections. Hibiscus moscheutos flowers have also been used externally to reduce swelling and pain from bruises and insect stings."

GROWING TIPS: Seeds should be cold-moist stratified for 8 weeks to improve germination. Plant in full sun or partial shade, and somewhere wet if you have a place like that. Plants should be given ample room, as a full-grown mature plant could easily have a five-foot diameter footprint. And growing to 5 feet tall is to be expected.