Confederate rose from
Confederate Rose

General Botany Experiment - Spring 04

Written by: Calah Odom & Christian Bishop, Biology Majors

Directed by: Thomas H. Wilson, Professor

Webspinner html by T. H. Wilson

The Confederate Rose, Hibiscus mutabilis, originated in China, but it has found a new home at Judson College. This hot weather hibiscus is closely related to cotton and okra. The Confederate Rose is a large shrub that can reach heights of fifteen feet and widths of ten feet. Leaves are five to seven inches. The double flowers are four to six inches in diameter.
Christian Bishop with Confederate Rose plant
Confederate Roses
The coloration of the flowers of the Confederate Rose is unusual. The flowers initially bloom white. On the second day, the flowers become a rose-pink. By the third day, the bloom develops a blue-pink tone. This Hibiscus is very low maintenance. The plant grows well in full sunlight or partial, shifting shade. It thrives with regular watering, but is also fairly drought tolerant. Rich soil with good drainage is essential to successfully growing this plant. Confederate Roses planted above the Alabama Fall Line require extra care. During winter, the plants should be covered to prevent damage from cold temperatures.
Caroline Price and Beth Blackwell planting Confederate Rose
Botany class potting Confederate Roses grown in the light
Confederate Rose plants grown in the dark
The 2004 Botany class is conducting a Confederate Rose project. This study goes beyond simply growing and nurturing plants, and several experiments have been designed around this venture. All of the Confederate Roses are being cultivated from cuttings of about twelve to fifteen inches taken prior to the first frost of 2003. After the cuttings were taken, fifty were planted and covered with pine straw.
. Twenty-five cuttings were placed in antique glass jars. These cuttings were placed under artificial sunlight in the Biology laboratory. The amount of light each plant received was restricted to eight hours per day. After eight weeks, these plants were transferred to pots filled with potting soil. The other twenty-five plants were placed in water in a five gallon bucket and stored in a dark basement until proper planting time.
Riki Morrison and Beth Blackwell inspecting plant roots
Professor Wilson and Author Odom inspecting plant roots The cuttings placed under grow lights in the laboratory grew and developed at a remarkable rate, while the cuttings placed in the basement showed no signs of growth. These methods allowed the students to observe the effects of light on the developing plants.
On the second day of Alabama's newly commissioned Confederate History Month, April 2, 2004, sixteen of the cuttings were planted along the Riddle Beach fence behind Judson's gymnasium. Each Confederate Rose was planted in a mixture consisting of two-thirds potting soil and one-third organic top soil. After watering, each plant was mulched with pine straw. The pine straw will improve water retention, weed prevention, and aesthetic value.  
Caroline Price with the light propagated plants
Brian Clements and Calah Odom planting the Confederate Rose
Brian Clements and Calah Odom worked as a team to ensure the proper planting of the Confederate roses. The poor construction grade soil was ammended with topsoil and potting mix.
Rikki Morrison, Whitney Green, Elizabeth Blackwell, Calah Odom, Caroline Price and Brian Clements planted the "roses" in time for J-Day, 2004.  
Botany class planting the Confederate rose
Dr. Wilson "supervising" the planting of Confederate Roses Dr. Wilson enjoyed giving planting instructions from the tailgate of his work truck. It will be fun to watch the plants grow and produce their first blooms in late summer.

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