Hibiscus tiliaceus
Common Name: sea hibiscus 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Africa, Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 12.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Lemon yellow with maroon throat fading to dull red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Erosion, Wet Soil


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where plants are grown in moist soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide variety of soil types, ranging from well-drained to poorly-drained and from acidic to alkaline. Tolerates salty ocean winds. Can grow in waterlogged soils and will tolerate shallow flooding for extended periods. Easily propagated from seed or cuttings. Spreading branches root where they touch the ground. Plants have some invasive potential, particularly in moist environments.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hibiscus tiliaceus, commonly called sea hibiscus or mahoe, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is native to tropical regions of Asia where it is often found growing along coasts and in low moist areas. It is now grown as an ornamental in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. It has escaped gardens and naturalized along the coast in southern Florida where it is now considered to have invasive potential. It typically grows to 12-25' tall. Intertwined trunks and branches often sprawl over the ground to form large impenetrable colonies. Showy funnel-shaped flowers bloom throughout the year. Each flower has five overlapping petals and a pronounced central staminal column consisting of the stamens and pistil. Flowers last only one day, opening in the morning as lemon yellow with dark maroon throats, but turning dull red by evening when they drop to the ground. Simple, heart-shaped leaves (to 8"long and 6" wide) with pointed tips are bright green above and hairy gray-green beneath. Fruits are brown ovoid dry capsules. Roots and flowers have medicinal value. In Asia, mahoe is harvested for the fiber in its trunk which is made into rope.

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

Specific epithet comes from tilia, the genus of basswood/linden, in reference to leaf similarity.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Windbreak, screen or hedge. Soil stabilizer for slopes, swamps, river margins, coastal areas, dunes and beach fronts.