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Hibiscus pedunculatus


Water Needs

moderate; water wise

Hibiscus pedunculatus
Shrub small
The Pink mallow, or Forest Pink Hibiscus

ize:1 m – 1.2 m


Light Conditions

shade; semi-shade




pink; spring autumn;4 cm diameter;

Garden Situation

shade; semi-shade; dry shade; shrubbery; wildlife bees butterflies insects birds sunbirds butterfly host


woodland forest; bushveld; coastal eastern cape


Highveld; Subtropical east coast; thicket

Rain Season


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The Pink mallow, or Forest Pink Hibiscus, is one of the most beautiful long-flowering small shrubs for light to semi-shade. Its slender size and form, around 1.5 m high, with rather sparse foliage and only a few branches off the main stem, makes it a perfect choice for narrow corridors and small gardens. For those who lament the lack of colour for shade, search out this little shrub; it will seed itself around the garden – helped by pollinators – providing you with handfuls of seedlings. It has a woody base and only branches out further up the main stem. The base of the shrub is quite woody with only a few stems branching off the main trunk. The leaves are quite large for a small shrub, usually 3-lobed, although it appears that some can be 5-lobed, and are slightly hairy, giving them a rough, textured look. The attractive grey-green colour is a perfect foil for the large flowers that cover the plant from October to May. These are either pale or dark pink, with a long pollen-coated stamen and they hang off long flower stems from the leaf axils. Each flower only lasts for a day, but there are always new buds waiting to open so flowering continues for months. Plants often produce more flowers (and thus pollen and seed) during unseasonably dry periods as a response to a perceived threat to their survival. Established plants grow fairly fast, but new seedlings can take a while to mature into flowering specimens. The seeds are inside a small fruit capsule which split open to release the cotton-like seeds. And this little Hibiscus does seed itself freely and you’ll happily find many babies close to the mother plant. The woody base and slender form is most attractive if used as a small understorey tree with groundcovers close around it. The green and purple-leaved Plectranthus ciliatus, for example, with its dainty white flowers in March – June, contrast well with the grey/green leaves and pink flowers. The Pink Mallow enjoys moist, hot summers and, as part of the forest margin, requires fertile soils enriched with decomposed leaves. So plant is with handfuls of leaf mold in the planting hole. Wildlife visitors: nectar and pollen filled flowers attract bees, butterflies and other insects, as well as, insectivorous birds and sunbirds. It is also the larval host plant for the Charaxes, Nymphs, commodores and Skipper butterflies.

Hibiscus pedunculatus
Hibiscus pedunculatus
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