Pavonia (Rock Rose), Pavonia lasiopetala: Small perennial shrub with rose blooms that attracts hummingbirds
Description: Pavonia (Pavonia lasiopetala) is native to south, central and west Texas. It is a small perennial shrub growing 1.5 to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with a woody base. It is considered deciduous but may be semi-evergreen during a mild winter. Its leaves are light green, ovate to lobed, up to 2.5 inches long and soft and velvety to the touch. Pavonia may be short lived (3-6 years) but self-sows readily.
Flowers and Seeds: Pavonia has 5-petaled, rose-colored, hibiscus-like flowers, with a yellow column bearing the pistils and stamens. The flowers are usually 1.5 inches wide. Pavonia flowers from April through November and its 5-lobed seed capsules are also attractive. The seeds may be collected when the capsule divides into separate units, indicating that the seeds are mature.
Planting sites: Pavonia thrives in full sun and partial shade. It does well under deciduous trees where it has full sun in the winter and some shade during the summer. It is adapted for most soil types, but should have good drainage. It will not tolerate "wet feet."
Watering Instructions: Like many Texas natives, Pavonia does not require a lot of water, but may need supplemental water during its first growing season. After it is established, it should survive with existing rainfall.
Comments: Pavonia is an excellent choice for North Texas landscaping as it survives our summer heat. Its many brilliant pink-rose flowers add color to dry summer gardens. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Consider using Pavonia instead of non-native Nandina and Dwarf Burford or Chinese Hollies. It is nice in a garden mixed with other Texas natives like deep red Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata), Mealy Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea) or yellow Berlandier's Sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri) with contrasting bloom colors.
Look for the NICE! Plant of the Season signs and information sheets on your next visit to a participating North Texas nursery. Thank you for using native plants in your landscapes.
Written by Dr. Becca Dickstein