Harvested from the gardens at Monticello.
Thomas Jefferson sowed seeds of this summer-flowering annual along Monticello’s West Lawn in 1811, referring to it as "Scarlet Mallow". He likely obtained the seed from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon, who noted "Scarlet Pentapetes" in his American Gardener’s Calendar, 1806. Scarlet Pentapetes are as rare in gardens today as they were in 1811. Pentapetes (“5 petals”) phoenicea (“scarlet”) forms a handsome plant with deep green, heavily-lobed leaves, and attractive, orange-red, mallow-like flowers that open around noon and close the following morning.
Native Distribution: Old World Tropics
Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date at 75˚F. Soak seeds in hot water for 12-24 hours before sowing to improve germination. Transplant to 3" pots once they have several true leaves, then harden off and plant outdoors in well-drained soil after the last frost. Approximately 20 seeds per packet.
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