Garden Tales: Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

I enjoy stories about plants almost as much as I enjoy the plants themselves. When I seek out gardening books, at the public library, in book stores, at book sales and on the Internet I am always looking for more than simple technical information, what the pant’s PH needs are or how much sunlight it requires, for example.

This is important information if I am planning to grow that particular plant or advising others on how to grow and care for it, but I enjoy getting to know more about plants, even if I will never grow them.

Plant lore and tales are fascinating; where the plant originated; how it traveled from its homeland to the countries where it now grows; how people have used that pant, for food, healing and magic; all fascinate me.

So when another hubber asked me about the Rose of Sharon, I set out on my own journey to find more about this beauty. When I am seeking information, I first check the Internet, usually a Google search. Depending upon what I am looking for or how much informaiton I need, I next head to the public library.

I have only grown a hibiscus once and that was indoors. The climates I have lived in are too cold for this plant. The Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus syriacus, depending upon variety is hardy from zone 5a to zone 9 and I am a zone 3 or 4 gardener.

Soil ph ranges

From 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

The Rose of Sharon is referred to in the Bible in King Solomon’s Song of Songs

I am the rose of Sharon,

and the lily of the valleys.

As the lily among thorns,

so is my love among the daughters.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood,

so is my beloved among the sons.

The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning immortality.


If leaf spots are seen, pick off and destroy the infected leaves.If bacterial leaf spot causes problems, pick off and destroy infected leaves. Canker can kill branches or entire plants. Bright,reddish-orange fruiting bodies may appear on the bark.Prune out infected branches.

Flowers may be infected with a blight caused by a fungus.Bud drop can be caused by too much or too little fertilization. One potential problem that may affect the Rose of Sharon is during its first summer, if you live in a hot climate or have a particularly hot summer, the first year that you plant it, it is possible that the heat will kill the plant if it does not get enough water.

When most plants are first planted they usually need closer attention than they do when they have become established and this is especially so in extreme weather, excess heat or rain, for example.

The plant requires ample moisture and some protection from midday to afternoon sun if it is to reach its peak. The Rose of Sharon is a shrub that will keep its upright form as it grows. This means you will not need to do much pruning.

Best pruning times are late winter or early spring; this way you will minimize the loss of the emerging flower buds on the new growth.

Heavy spring pruning cutting back to nor more than 3 buds will produce fewer but larger flowers.

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Comments 40 comments

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Mr. Bob Ewing, thank you very very much for this hub!!!  When I got your email that this hub was published I couldn't wait to see.  Lo and behold there was my 'Rose of Sharon' in its original color and all.  

As I told you before this is a special shrub given to me and one each to my other sisters (from our father) whose plants have died.  They both want a clipping from mine but have been putting them off til we know the proper care.  Now we do, thanks to you!

I know how you love stories about plants so I will share where my plant came from:  My Dad lives in FL and was up visiting 2 yrs. ago and, he also while here in MA, went to visit a near dying friend in Cape Cod, MA.  His yard was filled with 'Rose of Sharons' and asked my dad to take as many as he wanted.  It's been two years and my dad came here this year again from FL and back down to visit his still alive friend at the Cape and again told my dad to take as many of these plants as he wanted.

It is fascinating to read your fascination with plants and I will probably never look at a plant the same way again.  Thank you very much on those added links and I loved especially the referrenced in the Bible:

I am the 'Rose of Sharon'

and the lily of the valleys (my birth flower)

as the lily among thorns,

so is my love among the daughters.  (from my father to his daughter)!

Thank you very much again Bob for writing this very special hub for me! `Dottie' :)           

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

It was my pleasure and thanks for sharing your story.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Rose of Sharon is very common here in Pennsylvania, liking the climate and the soil.  It's an old-fashioned plant that I associate with childhood memories.  It's a funny looking bush, which doesn't take well to sculptured pruning, but its flowers are magnificent.

In my neighborhood, this plant is an old-timer who accompanies a vintage house up for sale.  These plants are at maturity and bloom every year with no care.  Yet, when the house is up for sale, the realtors advise the sellers to remove the Sharons and replace them with some low-growing juniper or a twisted version of a conifer, both of which need little or no maintenance as well as having a trendy appearance no matter the season.  We are losing our Sharons.

Thank you for an excellent Hub on this loyal plant.  It takes abuse by being uprooted for the sake of a property sale, but it endures in its tenacity to thrive in the conditions it loves.  When it is happy, it is very happy, and some home owners appreciate its endurance and cultivate its beauty.  Perhaps here, in Pennsylvania, we may see it in the wild some day.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

While I can understand the realtors advice, the house needs to look like it is orderly and appeals to all, I would ignore them.


Plant some seeds in a wild place and watch.


thanks for stopping by.

Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 8 years ago from Australia

Bob, I had no idea a rose of sharon was a hibiscus. Along with frangipanis they are my favourites as they remind me of the Pacific. thanks, great hub!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome, thanks for visiting.

dafla 8 years ago

These do not do well here because of the heat and humidity. I just dug one up and put it into a pot, and it's finally growing and blooming after 3 years. There are some really pretty colored ones now. My mom had one in her yard that had seedlings come up every year that were different colors. It seems the seeds don't come true from them. She had a regular purple one (like in the picture) and now she has a purple, a white, and a white with red throat. Strange, huh?

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The plants that did not breed true to parents may have been hybrids which will give you a surprise each year..

SorasNobodyXIII profile image

SorasNobodyXIII 8 years ago

Thanks for publishing this hub!I learnt a lot about plants and now I am more interested in nature!You're the best!Thanks a ton!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Bob! I planted 6 new 2 foot high "rose of sharon" sticks (that's what they looked like after I pruned them... according to my friends advice) last year when I moved to the farm. It is really wild and windy here all the time so I was worried about them. I'm absolutely thrilled with them. They're about 4 1/2 feet tall now and in full bloom. At my old house they were the pallest of pink. It seems so weird that now growing from the same root the blooma are a dark deep fuchsia. Maybe something to do with the soil composition. (the same color changes happened to my peonies that I replanted here)

Super duper hub as always

Have a great Labor Day weekend kindest regards Zsuzsy

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks Soras and thanks for reading. ZB, my hunch is that you are right the soil Ph is a possible cause of the colour change.

dafla 8 years ago

I actually prefer "garden surprises" to the species plants. You never know what you're going to get.

I love planting a seed and having to wait to see what comes up.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

For ornamentals that can be fun with vegetables that can be a problem if you save seeds.

johnr54 profile image

johnr54 8 years ago from Texas

We live in Zone 8, but it's a dry area, and we had one of these that just couldn't quite hold on. It was in an area that we couldn't water.

But they are beautiful, and my wife would like me to try one again, so I guess I'll scout out a spot closer to the hose and give it a try again. When they are in full bloom it almost seems that it's raining petals, which is a great effect.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You may also want to consider using a container, thnaks for the visit.

An Ohio Gardener 8 years ago

Thanks for the Rose O' Sharon information. I'm very pleased to see the old timer style plants represented, and I'm only an old geezer of 44.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for stopping by.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Revisiting to see how I should care for my beautiful Rose of Sharon now that the summer is over.  I'm glad I checked this out because I was thinking of giving it a prune but according to your instructions I think I'll wait until end of winter or early spring. 

My Rose of Sharon still has about 50 buds on it.  I know they won't be opening because it is getting too cold now.  It was 30o when I got up this morning (Oct. 20th).  It looked so gorgeous this summer, I really love my Rose of Sharon! Thanks again Bob for helping me care for it.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are most welcome and it makes me feel good to know the hub helped.

amenda profile image

amenda 7 years ago from california miami

i love roses and flowers and i love garden and i have a garden on my back ground

in my hause i also got my own hause

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thank you for dropping by.

JennifersJumpers profile image

JennifersJumpers 7 years ago

Hi, I have a rose of sharon in my front yard. I didn't know what it was when I moved here, buy my Mom did and she promptly broke off a piece to start one in her yard. I love to see the blooms on it! I hate watering plants, but if it doesn't get enough water, it won't bloom! So I grudingly drag the hose pipe over there and water it. What i love most is that if you want to start a new plant, you just break of a pice of the old one, break the blooms off of it, and stick it in the ground! Wonderful! I have made several more plants that way.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I do like plants that are easy to propagate. Thanks for dropping by.

Kate in MO profile image

Kate in MO 7 years ago from Kansas City, MO

I have a friend who has a beautiful Rose of Sharon; I have always wanted to plant one here but don't know if it would do well. I live in Northwest Missouri and we often have cold winters and hot summers (in August sometimes 100+). The spot I want to plant in gets morning shade and afternoon sun :(. Do you think it would work? I had no idea that they were Hibiscus plants! Thanks for all your info...

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I think it is worth a try, gardening is about taking chances, experimenting. Thanks for dropping by.

pam s.s. 7 years ago

I have rose of sharons that grow like crazy in my flower bed. I trim them like a tree instead of a headge. The problem is all the baby rose of sharons. They spread in my flower bed like crazy. They are easy to pull up but there are way too many to keep this up. Any ideas how to get rid of these? thanks, love you website

Gift Experts profile image

Gift Experts 7 years ago

Nice ideas!!!


bradmauer profile image

bradmauer 7 years ago

They are great plants I am building a live wall with them right now

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Now that would be impressive, thanks for dropping by.

prashantji profile image

prashantji 6 years ago from india


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author


Bob 6 years ago

i have a rose of Sharon plant that is 2 years old. It was a present from my son. It has many blooms but they won't open. What am I doing wrong. I live in Indiana and I see them all over town beautiful plant.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Is it getting the same amount of sun the other plants do?

Fraser Soul profile image

Fraser Soul 5 years ago from Bloomfield, CT

Thanks for sharing your hub on the Rose of Sharon. Since you like stories of plants you might like to read some of my hubs.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I'll drop by, thanks for visiting.

Jan Reither 5 years ago

Hi I am from St.Louis county Missouri. We moved into our home that already had existing Rose of Sharons. I have some on one side of the house and they flower all summer long. I have one on the other side of the house, not up against it. It is up against a privacy fence. This one gets tons of blooms but not once have they opened. We have crepe myrtls and some other rose of sharons there too. They all bloom beautifully. Do you have any ideas?? Thank You so much Jan Reither

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Is there a difference in the amount of shade the plants get?

Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Hi Bob. Good hub. I am fortunate enough to be able to grow Rose of Sharon in my garden here on the Delmarva Peninsula. I love their almost magical flowers and am looking forward to spring.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 4 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Greetings, Spring is indeed a wonderous season, thanks fro commenting.

Lee 4 years ago

If anyone ever needs rose of sharon, white, pink or purple give me a quick email.

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