California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Malvaviscus arboreus - Turk's Cap

Malvaviscus arboreus, or Turks Cap is one of those old garden plants that keeps hanging around. This is probably because it is so durable. For the most part Malvaviscus arboreus is a large green shrub. The common name is relevant to the shape of the dangling red flowers rather than the origin, since the species hails from Mexico through Brazil. The Turk's Cap can grow to 12 feet tall and wide in a lightly shaded to mostly sunny location. While the Malvaviscus arboreus might like some summer water it will survive in a coastal garden with none. Malvaviscus arboreus is hardy into the low 20's with a little overhead protection from surrounding trees. I like the soft tropical look that can be achieved when using Malvaviscus arboreus but it is a bit of a space hog. And while you can trim the Turk's Cap back with great abandon, if you are planting for a small garden this might be a little too rambunctious a plant. The long garden history of Malvaviscus arboreus has allowed it to acquire quite a few common names including, Sleepy Hibiscus, Wax Mallow, Sleeping Mallow. Malvaviscus arboreus is a host for the Northern White Skipper, White Checkered Skipper, and a Spring nectar source for migrating Painted Lady Butterflies. Turks Cap is another great plant for the Hummingbird garden and Butterfly Garden

Malvaviscus arboreus, Turk's Cap

Red flower with extended pistil of Malvaviscus arboreus - Turk's Cap. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.