Rock Rose

Pavonia lasiopetala

Pavonia lasiopetala, variously known as rockrose, las rosas de San Juan, pavonia mallow, rose mallow, rose pavonia, Texas mallow, Texas pavonia, or Wright pavonia, tolerates heat, drought, and sun and keeps on blooming. This showy Texas native functions as a small shrub in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 13, a woody subshrub or herbaceous perennial in zones 8 to 7 as far north as Lubbock, and can be grown as a summer annual or container plant in colder climates. Foliage is a nice medium to dark green covered in velvety whitish pubescence, lending the leaves a bit of a dusty or frosted appearance. Flowers of rockrose look like small, 2 inch diameter, pink hibiscus blossoms. Flowers occur from spring to frost as long as good growing conditions are maintained.

Exposure: Best flowering and foliage density is in full sun or light shade. Shady locations tend to reduce flower production, reduce canopy density, and encourage powdery mildew on the foliage.

Size: Height — When open grown, rockrose forms an irregularly rounded canopy 2 to 3(4) ft. tall with equal or greater spread; size is site responsive, with smaller plants on thin dry Hill Country soils, and large plants in fertile garden soils.

Plant type: Rounded small woody shrub in south Texas, woody subshrub or herbaceous perennial in central Texas, annual or container plant in north Texas.

Planting time: Container grown plants from early spring through fall.

Soil type: Well drained soils are needed. Plants well adapted to a range of soil pH, but better adapted to high pH soils than most species; plants are favorably responsive to good fertility, but can persist in low to moderate fertility soils. Drought tolerance is good once plants are established.

Suggested uses: Rockrose has superior performance in xeriscapes, rock gardens, and informal perennial or mixed borders. This is a good selection for naturalizing and use in transitional plantings that link the cultivated garden with the surrounding wildscapes. Rockrose can be used as a small facer, foundation shrub, or informal hedging plant in warmer parts of the region. Rockrose is perfect for lending a sense of place to Texas landscapes. Rockrose seldom has serious issues with pests or disease as long as growing conditions are favorable.

AgriLife Today article: “Rock rose ornamental named newest Texas Superstar: Native Texas plant good for variety of ornamental uses”

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