By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)
Colorful, showy flowers appear in summer in shades of white, red, pink and purple on the rose of Sharon bush. Growing rose of Sharon is an easy and effective way to add long lasting summer color with little fuss. The large, showy flowers attract birds, butterflies and other useful pollinators.
How to Grow a Rose of Sharon
Care for rose of Sharon, botanically named Hibiscus syriacus, is minimal. After planting rose of Sharon, this attractive specimen may thrive with neglect. However, some care, especially pruning for shape, will likely be needed for this showy shrub to add value to your landscape display.
Also known as shrub Althea, this 9- to 12-foot specimen is a native of eastern Asia that is well adapted to growing in most U.S. zones. It often reaches a spread of 10 feet and can be used as part of a growing privacy border.
When planting rose of Sharon in the landscape, consider that it may reseed abundantly. Prepare to remove additional plants appearing in unwanted areas. These can be relocated to a more desirable location or shared with friends.
Shrub Althea is best planted into rich well-draining, slightly acidic soil in a full sun to part shade location. The rose of Sharon bush prefers moist, well-draining soil, although it will tolerate most soil conditions except those that are soggy or extremely dry. A top dressing of organic compost or mulch may benefit the rose of Sharon bush.
Ongoing Care for Rose of Sharon
Bud drop can be a problem with growing rose of Sharon. This may be caused in part when the rose of Sharon bush is under stressful conditions, so try to keep the shrub as happy as possible. Too little water or too much fertilization may contribute to bud drop, which seems inherent to the rose of Sharon bush. Monitor conditions on growing rose of Sharon to be rewarded with a long season of large showy single or double blooms.
Flowers grow on the current year’s growth; early pruning before buds develop can keep the growing rose of Sharon in top form and keep the tree-like shrub in bounds.
A deciduous shrub, learning how to grow a rose of Sharon and keep it under control is best done with experimentation on your cultivar. Some have attractive drooping branches while others assume an upright form. Care for rose of Sharon can depend on the form taken by your specimen.