Rose of Sharon

 By: Kathryn Courtney

Rose of sharon is a beautiful shrub or small tree that blooms from late summer through early fall. A relative of the hibiscus, this plant has large showy flowers in colors from white to pink to violet, fuchsia and lavender. The blossoms can be single or double depending on the variety and always show up in an abundance of bright cheerful blooms.

Rose of sharon goes by several different names. Growing up my Dad and Grandmother called it althea. It is also called Chinese hibiscus. All of these are the same garden shrub. Rose of sharon grows 8 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. It is a moderate grower so it will take some time for it to reach its full height. It can be pruned to a smaller size or different shape in late winter or very early spring. The blooms develop on new growth so pruning is not a problem. When choosing a planting space, give your rose of sharon plenty of room to grow.

Once established, a rose of sharon is drought tolerant. Like all plants it needs plenty of water for the first year. Plant your shrub in fertile soil in sun or part shade. I find that mine have done best in morning sun and afternoon shade in the summer. Be sure to plant the rose of sharon above ground level as per our Maas planting guide and lightly mulch to conserve water. Keep mulch away from the trunk of your plant to prevent fungal problems.

We have several different varieties of rose of sharon at Maas. My favorites right now are the Smoothie series. There are Raspberry, Strawberry and Peppermint Smoothie. Raspberry Smoothie has bright pink blooms that turn fuchsia and then purple. While the plant is blooming it has all three colors at once. Strawberry Smoothie has dark pink buds that open pale pink and lighten with age. The blossoms of Peppermint Smoothie are a striped pink and white. All the blooms of the Smoothie series are fully double with ruffled edges. Some other varieties we have available are Minerva which is a single pink with cranberry center, Lucy which has a double red violet bloom, Bridal which is a double pale pink with a dark center and Diana which is a single white. They are all beautiful. Be sure to call the nursery for availability of these varieties if you are making a long trip. Plant a rose of sharon and watch it light up your garden when most other garden shrubs are fading.  rs3 rs2rs5