According to folklore, a wounded Confederate soldier died under the shade of what became known as the Confederate rose, and his blood caused the flowers to change from white to red. Hibiscus mutabilis is the botanical name for the Confederate rose, which is also known as giant mallow, cotton mallow and rose mallow. Though it is called a rose, this plant is more closely related to cotton than to roses.
The Confederate rose can be difficult to find commercially. According to GardenSMART, it is considered a "passalong plant" in the South, meaning it is shared from gardener to gardener.
The blooming season for Confederate roses runs from late summer into fall. September is the most abundant blooming time. Each flower blooms for 3 days, gradually changing from white to pink and finally turning red. Because the flowers bloom independently, a mixture of colors may be found on one plant. The Confederate rose loses its leaves in the fall, but rebounds by sending up shoots from the roots in the spring. It can reach heights as tall as 8 feet. The Confederate rose prefers sunny, well-drained locations and slightly acidic soil. It naturally occurs as a shrub shape but can be pruned into a small tree.