Rose mallow may be pink, purple, red or white with a red center.

How to Propagate a Hibiscus Moscheutos

by Patricia H. Reed

Grow your gardening skills as well as fabulous plants by starting your own Hibiscus moscheutos, commonly called rose mallows, from cuttings. The flowering shrubs, which grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10, flaunt big, tropical-looking white, red or pink blossoms in late summer on 6- to 10-foot stems that grow up from scratch each spring where winters are cold. Because it roots relatively quickly with a high success rate, rose mallow is a good plant to test your propagation skills on.

Water your rose mallow well the night before you plan to take cuttings. Rose mallow roots most easily from softwood cuttings taken in spring when shoots are green and snap easily when you bend them.

Spray the blades of your bypass pruners with household antiseptic cleaner to cut the chances of transferring diseases from a previously pruned plant to your new cutting or the rose mallow bush. Dry the pruners with a paper towel.

Cut the tips from several shoots that are about the same diameter as a pencil with the pruners. Cut 6 inches down from the tip of the shoot at a 45-degree angle, just below a leaf node.

Strip the leaves from the bottom of each cutting, leaving only two to three leaves at the top.

Fill clean 4-inch pots with a mix of 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite. Make a hole 2 inches deep in each pot with your fingertip or a pencil.

Dip the angled end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder.

Stick the cut ends into the holes without knocking off the rooting hormone. Firm the peat-perlite mix around the cuttings with your fingers.

Place two pencils, drinking straws or twigs into the soil to act as props, and place a clear plastic bag over the pot.

Move the pots to an area that has bright, indirect light. Keep the plants watered, misting occasionally until they show signs of new growth, in about one month.

Items you will need

  • Bypass pruners
  • Household antiseptic cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • 4-inch pots
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Plastic bags
  • Drinking straws or pencils


  • Placing the potted cuttings on a heat mat set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit can speed rooting along.
  • Rose mallows propagate easily from seed, but seedlings may not resemble the parent plant.
  • Rose mallow and other hibiscus species are considered safe for planting around children and pets.


  • Keep rooting hormone out of reach of childern.

About the Author

Patricia Hamilton Reed has written professionally since 1987. Reed was editor of the "Grand Ledge Independent" weekly newspaper and a Capitol Hill reporter for the national newsletter "Corporate & Foundation Grants Alert." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images