Q: This plant was given to me by a friend whose house was about to be torn down and he called it a “Cotton Rose” but wasn’t sure. The first day the bloom is white with a yellow center, the second day it is pink, dark pink on the third day, and gone on the fourth. Please help me identify this plant so I can tell others when asked.
A: You have a Confederate rose. This member of the hibiscus family, Hibiscus mutabilis, has blooms which begin white or light pink but age to a deep red color. The Confederate rose is not reliably winter hardy in Atlanta without a bit of winter protection. When the first frost has nipped off the leaves, cut back the shrub to eighteen inches tall and cover it with a cardboard box. Mound pine straw over the box to insulate the stem and roots. Uncover it in late March; the stem should put out new shoots immediately.
You can also root stem sections.
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