Saturday, June 25, 2011
It's quite easy to see why this plant is called Turk's Cap when you take a close look at the blooms. They closely resemble old-fashioned turbans. The most common color is this deep red one and it's the one I like most because of its attraction to hummingbirds.
The plant has a pleasing shrub shape with large sycamore-like leaves. The blooms are not overpowering on the plant, but there are plenty enough of them. This plant is a close kin to the hibiscus clan and resembles them. One difference from the hibiscuses is that Turk's Cap thrives in more shade. This one is growing in the shade of a large Arizona Ash tree on the edge of my yard. It is very healthy and happy. These plants do not enjoy dry conditions and mine has an emitter from my irrigation system that supplies it with plenty of water. They can survive in dryer conditions if forced to.
Turk's Caps die to the ground after a freeze, but mine readily came back after last winter which was harsher than normal. The Latin name for these is malvaviscus drummondii, in case anyone wants to look up more information on them. The plants get to around 5' tall and nearly as wide. They are wonderful for providing color to shady areas. The blooms usually start in early June and will continue through the summer, into fall, and up to freeze time. They are one of the absolute favorite plants of ruby-throated hummingbirds and are a must have for those wanting to attract these hummers. Highly recommended for anyone in zones 7b and higher. This is definitely an under-utilized plant in my area, which is a shame.