How to Grow the Rose of Sharon
The Rose of Sharon Bush
The Rose of Sharon is a flowering bush that blooms in late summer and early fall, offering a flowering shrub in the landscape when most other flowering shrubs such as azaleas are finished for the season. Rose of Sharon is a fast-growing shrub, too, and often attains heights of 6 to 10 feet tall. It can be used as a landscape plant, a flowering screening shrub, or an accent plant in the garden. Easy care, low maintenance except for yearly pruning to keep it from overtaking your garden, the Rose of Sharon offers gardeners in zones 6 through 10 a useful and beautiful addition to the garden.
The name Rose of Sharon is what gardeners call the common name for the plant. Like many common names, it can refer to several species. Typically people mean Hibiscus syriacus, the Latin name for the Rose of Sharon flower that's found in gardens throughout the United States. This article refers to Hibiscus syriacus whenever it mentions Rose of Sharon.
Growing Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus is native to eastern Asia, and as such, it does well in a similar climate, such as what is found in the United States along the eastern seaboard and throughout the mid Atlantic and southeastern United States. Growing Rose of Sharon in the home garden in these areas is usually easy. Follow these tips for successfully growing Rose of Sharon:
- Plant in full sun or partial sun. Your Rose of Sharon bush needs at least 4 or more hours of direct sunlight per day. It can tolerate some light afternoon shade.
- Give the plants plenty of space. If you're planting more than one Rose of Sharon, leave at least six to 10 feet between the plants. At first, it's going to look like a lot of space, but as you'll see, Rose of Sharon grows quickly, and it will easily fill up the space.
- Prune your Rose of Sharon bush in the early spring, pruning it back to 2 or 3 buds per branch. New flowers form on new wood, so you'll want to prune your Rose of Sharon bush before it starts growing in the spring.
- Water your Rose of Sharon bush but don't let it become soggy. A good layer of mulch spread 1-2" thick under the drip line of the shrub helps it conserve water and retain moisture.
- Use organic compost each spring to fertilize your Rose of Sharon plant. Simply spread well-aged manure or compost around the drip line or under the branches near the trunk. Conventional commercial fertilizers generally aren't needed; the plants do just fine with compost.
Rose of Sharon comes in hues of white, pink, lavender and purple. The flowers generally resemble the hibiscus. Rose of Sharon flowers in the late summer, and well into the fall, adding beautiful flowers to your front yard or landscape at a time when typical landscape shrubs have finished flowering for the season.
Purchase Rose of Sharon plants at your favorite nursery or garden center, or visit one of the many online nurseries to find the color and plant you desire. They do grow easily from seed, and once your Rose of Sharon plant becomes established, volunteers or offspring of the parent plant may grow around the tree. Dig them up, grow them in pots until they are several inches tall, and share with gardening friends or add more beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes to your landscape.
© 2011 Jeanne Grunert