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ABELMOSCHUS moschatus

Image of Abelmoschus moschatus

James H. Schutte

Family

Malvaceae

Botanical Name

ABELMOSCHUS moschatus

Plant Common Name

Musk Okra, Muskmallow

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Hairy foliage and pretty, colorful hibiscus-like flowers make the musk mallow a favorite warm season garden accent. A tender herbaceous perennial from southern Asia that is most often grown as a bedding annual, its flowers occur from summer to frost and are usually bicolored yellow with a purple eye, but variations with pink, orange or red blossoms with a white eye are now common as both named and unnamed garden cultivars, too.

The busky plant with many upright stems will be clothed in coarse-textured foliage that is hairy. Each deep green leaf has three to seven lobes. From early summer onwards, tennis ball-sized flowers occur at stem tips and attract butterflies. Flowers are usually yellow with a purplish center that each lasts only one day. The sandy brown seedpods will hold musky-scented seeds. Frost will kill the plant to the ground; mild winter areas will see the plant rejuvenate in springtime.

Grow musk mallow in full sun to light shade in the hottest climates in a fertile, well-drained soil that is moist. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH except very alkaline. Where frosts do not kill back stems each winter, prune the plant back each spring to form a handsome plant by the summer. Use it as an accent in the mixed border where its tall stems topped in flowers would be appreciated. It often reseeds itself and pops up each year, lending itself well to use in annual beds. It can be cultured as a houseplant in very bright, warm windows. Selection 'Mischief' is a bit smaller in size and well-suited for container use and has rose-magenta flowers with a pinkish white center.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m

  • Width

    16"-22" / 40.6cm - 55.9cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange, Pink

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes