Wercklea ferox, Prickly Umbrella

Wercklea ferox

Prickly Umbrella
Family: Malvaceae
Origin: Costa Rica
USDA Zone: 10-11?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftSemi-shadeFull sunRegular waterYellow, orange flowersOrnamental foliage

Wercklea ferox is a large shrub growing 5-10 ft tall and can become a small tree growing up to 20 ft overall. It requires regular water, but should not be over-watered and will tolerate some drought. It likes its soil kept slightly on the moist side. While it is drought tolerant, it may not flower as much as it does with enough water. This plant prefers full sun to semi-shade, so you can adjust its position for your climate needs. It is a tropical plant, so some shade is beneficial in very hot areas.

When watering, be sure to keep water off the leaves and water the soil deeply. This is a low-maintenance plant, so minimal pruning is necessary to maintain its shape. This gorgeous shrub is beautiful year-round, with its ornamental foliage ranging between shades of green and red veins. Its Hibiscus-like flowers appear in the warm months with delicate yellow and orange colored hues along with its surrounding beautiful foliage.

It is generally frost-tender, but it can withstand occasional light frost as mature plants can tolerate temperatures down to 30s F for a short time. Grown outdoors in warm climates, it is hardy in USDA zones from 9 to 11. This plant does well when grown in containers and prefers well-draining soils. It is best to bring the pot inside for winter protection in colder climates. It is a great choice for a patio garden in cooler regions as it can be moved indoors if necessary. It can also be grown in hanging baskets for a beautiful display. Fertilize this plant every couple of months with a balanced fertilizer to promote vigorous growth and keep it looking its best.

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