In bloom, these Asian natives are reminiscent of tropical hibiscus and okra, to which they are related. (In fact, okraA. esculentusbelongs to the same genus; for information, see Okra.) Deeply cut leaves and large, showy flowers are their hallmarks. Commonly grown as annuals, they thrive in high heat, humidity, and good, fertile soil.
A. manihot. SUNSET MUSKMALLOW. To 6 ft. or taller, 23 ft. wide. Large, coarse leaves and 3- to 5-in., cream to deep yellow flowers with maroon central blotch. Cooked leaves are edible and high in Vitamins A and C and iron.
A. moschatus. SILK FLOWER. Bushy plant about 112 ft. high and wide, with deep green leaves. Five-petaled, 3- to 4-in., cherry-red or deep pink blooms. Can be grown as a houseplant in 6-in. pot; set on a windowsill in bright light.