What Is Tree Mallow: Expert Tell You

What is tree mallow? Discover the growth habits, cultivation tips, and health benefits of this versatile plant in your garden.

What is Tree Mallow?

Tree mallow [Hibiscus elatus] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_elatus) is an evergreen bush native to subtropical regions, especially the Southeastern coast of the United States. It is part of the hibiscus family and is closely related to tropical hibiscus. Tree mallow can grow up to 20 feet tall, forming an upright shrub with dark green velvety leaves and vibrant yellow flowers.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

tree mallow, flowers, pink and white flower in close up photography
Photo by coco tafoya / Unsplash

Growth Habits and Appearance

Tree mallow is an evergreen shrub that typically grows up to 20 feet tall. It has an upright and sturdy form, forming a bushy mound of foliage. The leaves are opposite, simple and elliptical in shape. They have a dark green color and velvety texture, measuring up to 6 inches long.

The flowers of tree mallow are among the most distinctive features. They appear in summer, covering the shrub with a blanket of color. Each flower has 5 – 7 petals that are bright yellow in color, measuring around 5 inches wide. The flowers have prominent reddish orange stamens in the center.

Tree mallow flowers:

  • Oval – 5-7 petals
  • Bright yellow
  • 5 inches wide
  • Reddish orange stamens

The fruits that develop after flowering are capsule-like pods that hang downwards. These pods eventually split open to release numerous flat, circular seeds.

Overall, tree mallow has a bushy,rounded habit that lends itself well to foundation plantings, shrub borders and naturalizing areas. The species [Hibiscus elatus] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_elatus) typically grows more upright compared to related hibiscus species.

tree mallow, seeds, brown and white shell on white surface
Photo by Zobia Shakar / Unsplash

Cultivating Tree Mallow in Your Garden

Tree mallow thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It is extremely tolerant of hot and dry conditions, making it suitable for growing in sandy or rocky areas with sparse soil. [Hibiscus elatus] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_elatus) can also withstand salt spray, wind, and low or high pH levels.

Required Care:

  • Full sun. Tree mallow prefers at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Infrequent watering. Water newly planted trees once per week, established plants only need watering during extreme drought.
  • No pruning is needed unless shaping the plant. Prune immediately after flowering to maintain size and shape.
  • Fertilize once in early spring with slow-release fertilizer.

Propagating Tree Mallow:

Tree mallow can be propagated through seeds or cuttings.

  • Seeds:
  • Collect mature seed pods in fall and extract seeds.
  • Pretreat seeds by soaking in warm water for 24 hours.
  • Plant 1/4 inch deep in pots or garden beds in early spring.
  • Stem Cuttings:
  • Take 6 to 8 inch stem cuttings in late spring.
  • Remove leaves from bottom half of stem.
  • Dip stem in rooting hormone and plant in sandy soil.
  • Keep soil moist and place in a warm location with indirect light.

Pests and Diseases:

Few pests and diseases impact tree mallow. Occasional issues include:

  • Aphids: Control with strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
  • Powdery mildew: Remove infected leaves and water plants in the morning.

Overall, tree mallow is an easy-to-grow plant that brings lush foliage and colorful flowers to your landscape with minimal care.

tree mallow, seeds, brown wooden spoon on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Katrina Wright / Unsplash

Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses

All parts of the tree mallow plant have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. The stems, leaves, flowers and roots contain mucilage—a gel-like substance that soothes irritation and inflammation. They also include antioxidants that may provide health benefits.

The mucilage in tree mallow makes it useful for:

  • Coughs and colds: An infusion of tree mallow can help soothe irritated membranes in the throat and airways, relieving cough and loosening congestion.

  • Gastrointestinal issues: Mucilage from the plant coats and protects irritated tissues, easing conditions like gastritis, stomach ulcers and diarrhea.

  • Oral injuries: Tree mallow mucilage forms a protective film over oral wounds, speeding healing of conditions like mouth ulcers, sore gums and canker sores.

Traditionally, various parts of [Hibiscus elatus] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_elatus) have been used as:

  • An expectorant to relieve chest congestion

  • A demulcent to relieve mucous membrane irritation

  • An astringent to reduce discharge and bleeding

The antioxidant compounds in tree mallow — including flavonoids and polyphenols – may also help:

  • Lower cholesterol

  • Improve hepatic function

  • Boost heart health

However, there is limited research on the health benefits of tree mallow in humans. More studies are needed to evaluate the medicinal potency and safety of using parts of this plant for healing.
Overall, tree mallow has a long history of traditional use to treat colds, sore throats, coughs and other conditions related to mucous membranes. But scientific evidence is still emerging to validate these folk remedies.

tree mallow, flowers, pink flowers in tilt shift lens
Photo by J Lee / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top