Hibiscus schizopetalus
Common Name: fringed rosemallow 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Kenya, Tanzania, northern Mozambique
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Pink toned
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where it is best grown in rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants appreciate abundant watering and fertilizing when young. Plants are intolerant of drought. In areas subject to frost (all zones south of USDA Zone 10), plants should be grown in containers and (a) brought indoors before first fall frost for overwintering indoors in sunny areas with cool evening temperatures (55F to 65F) or (b) treated as annuals. Indoor plants need regular pruning to maintain compact shape. This hibiscus may be trained as a standard.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hibiscus schizopetalus, commonly called Japanese lantern, is native to tropical areas in eastern Africa. Although it is not native to Japan, its flowers droop from the branching in a manner reminiscent of Japanese lanterns, hence the common name. It typically grows as a narrow, woody, evergreen shrub to 6-9’ tall on upright-arching stems clad with ovate, serrate, dark green leaves (to 5” long). Lantern-like flowers (to 3” across) bloom seasonally on long pedicels. Each flower features recurved, fringed, pink to red petals and a long slender pendent staminal column. This plant is synonymous with and formerly known as Hibiscus rosa-sinensis var. schizopetalus. It is also commonly called fringed hibiscus or fringed rosemallow in reference to its irregularly fringed petals.

Genus name is the old Greek and Latin name for mallow.

The specific epithet (schizo meaning split and petalus meaning petal) is in reference to the recurved and divided petals of each flower.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids. Poor lighting, temperature fluxuations, low humidity and/or irregular watering can cause buds to drop.

Uses

Where winter hardy, grow as a specimen plant, in small groups or as a hedge or screen. In St. Louis, grow in containers that may be taken outside from May to September.