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Turk's Cap

Malvaviscus arboreus

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Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) at Green Thumb Nursery

Turk's Cap flowers

Turk's Cap flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) at Green Thumb Nursery

Turk's Cap

Turk's Cap

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  16 feet

Spread:  12 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  9a

Other Names:  Wax Mallow, Sleepy Hibiscus, Manzanilla


An interesting, large, freely branching shrub with slightly lobed, downy-green leaves, producing brilliant red flowers for most of the year; will tolerate light frost; prune to maintain size and density if desired; makes a great hedge or landscape screen

Ornamental Features

Turk's Cap features showy cherry red tubular flowers at the ends of the branches from late winter to late fall. The fruits are showy red drupes carried in abundance from late fall to mid winter. It has green foliage with grayish green undersides. The fuzzy lobed palmate leaves remain green throughout the winter.

Landscape Attributes

Turk's Cap is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Turk's Cap is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Turk's Cap will grow to be about 16 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet. It has a low canopy, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It may require supplemental watering during periods of drought or extended heat. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America.

Turk's Cap makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Screening  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Fruit  Texture  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features