Apr 17, 2023

Turk's Cap

credit University of Texas

These native plants have always intrigued me.  They are a hummingbird favorite! That in itself is a reason to want one in your gardens.  Read more here on this beautiful and sometimes ignored native plant.

Credit: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

Native Backyards has some information on these wildflowers. They grow well in sun or in partial shade. Will bloom from late Spring into the Fall.  These plants are great for pollinators, birds and even humans can eat them!  They say it tastes like an apple!  Who knew?  Turk's Cap is a butterfly and moth host plant.

Credit East Texas Gardening Texas A & M Agrilife Extension

My mother and grandmothers had these growing in their yards all of my life.  These plants always fascinated me.  They were so beautiful and unusual.  When I grew up and moved away of course some of these went with me as well.  

Steve Bender told me of the name.  He is a great gardener you may know him as 'The Grumpy Gardener' from Southern Living Magazine. Now, that is an excellent magazine to have on hand always!  Mama, both grandmothers and I have always had a copy of the magazine in our homes. The first thing we always look for is his articles! Then of course we read through the others. Grumpy thank you for always entertaining and teaching us so many things about gardening! 

There is something to be said about a magazine in hand still!  

Stan McKenzie, a great local gardener, told me it is called Turk's Cap or as the locals call it 'A drop of Jesus's blood '.  How about that name?  I like it! Stan grows some pretty citrus among many other plants at his place:  Mckenzie Farms in South Carolina.

I'm thankful to these two distinguished gentleman gardeners for responding quickly with the answers. (😅I, however, forgot about posting so this has been sitting in the draft files...crazy me)

Some wonderful loved ladies from my childhood came through with the answer as well. Most of these ladies called it Bleeding Hearts. I remembered my Mama calling it that as well.

It is called by many names and one to my delight is Sleeping Hibiscus.

I've seen firsthand how this flowering plant attracts wildlife. I like that it is a butterfly host plant.  Lots of pollinators enjoy this plant. The hummingbirds do love it!  They visit daily and hover while enjoying. I am thrilled to see them close up fluttering around! Mine at our old house grow particularly well in the morning sun. 

Here at Hibiscus, they're not growing in the ideal location. They decided they loved it underneath the large Hydrangeas at the back of the house.  I'm going to try once again to move some to another location. These plants have little seedpods I wonder if I can grow more with those?  Hmmm, will look into that.

Isn't it funny how you can wonder about something your entire life and yet not research to find the answer?

We've been putting in a small vegetable garden here. Oskar kept me from stepping on a Copperhead snake! Whew! That was a close one! Thank goodness for that little dog and gardening partner

Stay safe and enjoy your gardening



Thomas Drummond a naturalist from Scotland came to Texas to collect specimens from the Western and Southern States.  Wildflower Lady Bird Johnson Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

It is called by many names. Turk's Cap, Drummond's Turk's Cap, Wax Mallow, Drummond's Wax Mallow, Texas Mallow, Mexican Apple, Red Mallow, Sleeping Hibiscus, Bleeding Hearts, Manzanita. The bloom never fully opens and resembles a Turkish turban, hence the most common name Turk's Cap. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and sometimes reaches up to 9 feet!  It loves shady areas.  


Steve Bender The Grumpy Gardener.  Read all about him.

NEW!  Southern Living's Ask Grumpy Podcast

Facebook Grumpy Gardener 

Mr. Maple Podcast with Grumpy

The Grumpy Gardener  Book: A to Z Guide from the Galaxy's Most Irritable Green Thumb 


Stan Mckenzie The South Carolina CitrusMan

Mckenzie Farms here


  1. Hi Dolly, so nice to meet you! I've never seen one of these plants before! I'm having such a squirrel problem (of my own making) and they eat almost everything. I do have hummingbirds and try to keep lantana as long as possible because they are attracted to that and squirrels don't care for them. They come in bright colors so they always find them. I live in southern Missouri. I've had to give up petunias and million bells because the squirrels eat them like cotton candy. Thanks so much for coming by to visit and the sweet note!

    1. Hi Debra! Nice to meet you I've visited your blog many times but am so lazy about commenting. You do have a lovely website. I'm so sorry you have a squirrel problem. It is strange and I am almost scared to say it, but we don't have many at all out here. I do remember having lots of the aggravating things at an apartment. I could not keep a thing blooming they would destroy all. Hopefully you are beating them at their own game and they'll move on. Love the hummingbirds here too and need to replant some lantana they are very pretty. So good to hear from you!