Hibiscus laevis

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: rose mallow 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Eastern and central United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Wet Soil


Best grown in organically rich, medium to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade, but full sun produces best flowering and is the best environment for resisting potential diseases. Tolerates summer heat and humidity as long as soils are kept continuously moist throughout the growing season.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hibiscus laevis, commonly called smooth rose mallow or halberd-leaved rose mallow, is a Missouri native herbaceous perennial which typically occurs in wet soils along streams, rivers, ponds, sloughs, ditches and swampy areas throughout much of the State. Perhaps most easily distinguished by its three-lobed leaves (to 6" long) which resemble the shape of the 15th-16th century halberd spear. Large, 5-petaled, hollyhock-like flowers (to 6" diameter) with white to pink petals and maroon eyes appear from mid-summer into fall on smooth stout stems rising 4-6' tall. Each flower has a prominent and showy center staminal column. Synonymous with and formerly known as Hibiscus militaris, the specific epithet being in reference to the leaf-shape resemblance to a military weapon.

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

Specific epithet means smooth.


No serious insect or disease problems. Taller plants may need staking.


A tall mallow for moist soils along bodies of water or in low spots. Also effective in border rears, cottage gardens or native plant gardens.