Turk’s cap is a perennial, deciduous, shrub-like plant native to the Southeastern United States. It produces small (2-3 inch) red flowers that resemble a closed-up hibiscus. In the Malvaceae family, it is also commonly known as wax mallow, Texas mallow, manzanilla, and sleeping hibiscus, among other common names.
This plant flowers in the summer and fall (from May to November) and the flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other insects. You may also find pink and white flowered cultivars of this plant.
The common name Turk’s cap comes from the appearance of the flowers. They are thought to resemble a Turkish hat called a fez (think the red hats worn by Shriner’s).
How to Grow Turk’s Cap
Turk’s cap is drought tolerant, quite hardy, and very adaptable. It can be grown in a variety of soils and anywhere from full shade to full sun. However, plants grown in full sun might show puckered or quilted leaves and plants may be smaller.
In excellent conditions, Turk’s cap might grow as tall as 9 feet, but generally it will be around 2-5 feet. If it grows very tall, you may need to prune it back to get a more suitable height. The plant may grow up to 4 feet wide.
Interestingly, research in Texas has shown that Turk’s cap has a natural resistance to Roundup.
Propagating Turk’s Cap
Turk’s cap can be grown from seed, from root cuttings, or from cuttings. If planting seeds, do so after the last danger of frost, covering them only lightly. Roots can be separated in early spring. Water well after transplanting.
Cuttings should be about 4-6 inches in length with the bottom few inches stripped of leaves. Treat the cutting with root hormone and place in soil. Water well.