By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you need a beautiful, unique, but low-maintenance shrub for your home? If so, you’ll be hard pressed to find a plant as accommodating as the Turk’s cap plant.
If you’re unfamiliar with this plant, it’s a gorgeous shrub which produces reddish-orange blooms that grow in a tube shape.
These blooms are frequently described to look like closed hibiscus blooms. They also resemble a “Turk’s cap” and that’s how the name was formed.
Should you wish to grow this plant, I have the information you need to get started. I’ll walk you through the growing conditions and adequate care for this shrub.
If you feel growing a Turk’s cap plant is the right choice for your landscape, here’s what you need to know:
Growing Conditions for Turk’s Cap Plant
The Turk’s cap plant may be recognized by a few other names. Its scientific name is malvaviscus arboreus.
Other common names include the wax plant, red mallow, and Texas mallow.
Turk’s cap is a deciduous perennial plant that’s hardy in planting zones seven through ten. The plant is known for handling hot summers and colder winters as it can handle temperatures well below freezing.
Expect Turk’s cap to grow as tall as seven feet and become as wide as five feet. It can also grow in poor quality soil, periods of drought, or while handling periods of drenching rain.
The only growing condition you must consider is the amount of light the shrub gets. Turk’s cap can grow in full sunlight to full shade.
However, the more sunlight the plant receives, the more blooms it’ll produce. Should you desire many blooms from the plant, pick an area with full sun.
In return, Turk’s cap should bloom from May to November or until your area’s first frost. Each bloom lasts for approximately two days, but the plant produces an abundance. This is why many people grow the shrub as a way to draw pollinators to their yard.
Keep in mind, you may also grow Turk’s cap in a container. Ensure the pot is large enough around, and deep enough, to support such a big plant.
As you can tell, Turk’s cap is a forgiving plant that doesn’t require much from you to grow well. However, the better growing conditions you supply, the more bountiful blooms you’ll receive.
How to Plant Turk’s Cap Plant
There are three ways to go about growing Turk’s cap. The first method is to propagate the plant from seed.
To grow Turk’s cap from seed, wait until all frost is over. Select a location with the appropriate amount of sunlight to suit your goals for the plant. In most cases, you’re going to find a location with full sunlight to encourage an abundance of blooms.
Ensure you remove all weeds from the area and till the soil prior to planting. Once the location is prepared to accept seed, plant each seed approximately three to five feet from the next.
You should cover the seeds lightly with soil. Gently water them to encourage germination. It should take around one month for the seeds to sprout.
The next method to propagate this plant is from cutting. If you have an established Turk’s cap plant, you may remove a six-inch cutting from it.
Remove any leaves at the bottom of the cutting, dip it in rooting hormone, and plant it in a container filled with loamy soil.
It’s a good idea to wrap the container in plastic to create a greenhouse effect. From there, water the plant regularly to where it never dries out in the coming weeks.
In approximately one month, the plant should be developing roots. Once the plant establishes a strong root system, transplant it outdoors in the ground or move the new plant to a larger container.
The last method for propagating Turk’s cap is from division. In early spring, you can dig up established plants.
From there, use a spade to divide the plant from the top all the way through the roots. Once this is done, transplant the new, smaller plants into a growing location with well-draining soil, a desired amount of sunlight, and ensure you water the plants well to encourage their root systems to become established again.
You now have three different ways to grow Turk’s cap. Pick the option which best suits your level of gardening skill and the materials you have on hand. Then start enjoying this new plant.
Caring for Turk’s Cap Plant
Turk’s cap doesn’t require a ton of care from you once it’s established. If you can cover a few basics, you should face fewer problems when adding it to your landscape.
The first thing you should do when growing Turk’s cap is to water it. This plant can withstand periods of drought or drenching.
However, to keep it blooming optimally, providing consistent water can help. Therefore, it’s best to water this plant deeply.
To water a plant deeply means you water it for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. In most cases, you should be able to water this plant deeply one time per week.
When you apply water, it should reach the roots of the plant and quickly drain away. It should also saturate the ground around the plant.
As the days progress, and Turk’s cap needs more water, it will dig its roots into the soil to retrieve it. In turn, this creates a stronger root system.
Always test the soil before applying more water. Dip your finger into the dirt next to the plant. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to water deeply again.
You may also consider mulching around the plant to help it retain more moisture for a longer period of time.
The next thing you should do when caring for Turk’s cap is to apply a balanced fertilizer once per month during the blooming period. Again, this can help the plant to bloom optimally by providing the nutrients Turk’s cap needs.
Lastly, you should prune Turk’s cap. This is mainly to keep the plant at a desired size for the area it’s planted.
As discussed earlier, Turk’s cap can grow to be around seven feet. However, there are some cases when the plant becomes even larger.
Therefore, by pruning the plant, you can keep it growing wherever you like (within reason) and ensure it has room to breathe around it as it thrives each year.
These are a few things you should consider doing when growing Turk’s cap. By providing a little extra attention, this plant should have what it needs to bloom prolifically under your care.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact Turk’s Cap
All of these pests should be treated with an insecticide at first sighting to discourage them from doing too much damage to your plant.
You may also try spraying the plant forcefully with a water hose and soapy water. This should dislodge the pests and their homes from your Turk’s cap shrub.
The only disease that seems to impact Turk’s cap is powdery mildew. This can occur when conditions are wet, and the plant is in need of pruning.
When there isn’t enough airflow around the plant, moisture can get trapped. This develops into fungal issues.
You may treat powdery mildew with a fungicide. However, it’s also wise to ensure the soil is draining properly and to prune the plant to increase airflow.
These are a few threats Turk’s cap may face in its growing location. Stay alert to potential problems, so you may catch them early enough that they don’t damage your Turk’s cap shrub.
You now have the information necessary to begin your new journey with growing Turk’s cap. Growing a new plant can be exciting but feel a little overwhelming as well.
Take this information and give it a try! Turk’s cap shouldn’t present too many challenges, considering its forgiving nature, and could supply your landscape with abundant beauty and roll out the welcome mat for pollinators, too!