Plant of the Week: Rock Rose

It’s yet another of the relatives of hibiscus, and it doesn’t take a botanical wizard to believe it. Rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) has the flower style and leaf shape to convince you.

You can see the relation of pavonia to other members of the hibiscus clan by looking at its buds, flowers.

But unlike the more flamboyant tropical hibiscus and mallows, rock rose flowers are smaller, only up to a couple of inches. They’re a deep rose pink, and they’re borne over a long period of time from late spring well into the fall.

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Rock rose plants are tidy, growing to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, rarely larger, and thriving best in full sun or limited shade. They’re able to withstand reflected heat from sidewalks and buildings – they’re just all-around tough buddies. Rounding out that picture, they’re not particular as to soils either.

Rock rose plants develop into attractive little shrubs covered with bright pink blooms.

Nurseries typically have pavonias for sale in spring and summer. They are easily grown from mature seeds, or you can start them from softwood cuttings. Use them as little spots of color among your other perennials.

Rock rose is hardy to Zone 8. It’s commonly planted in San Antonio, Austin and westward, but it’s also used as far north as DFW (which many of us still feel needs to be put back into Zone 7).

Posted by Neil Sperry
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