Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus

Well.... this interesting and colorful plant has a storied background and some common mis-interpretations about its name and origin. The name Hibiscus syriacus as named by Linnaeus suggests that it is a native of Syria, not so. The plant is actually a native of eastern Asia, and is the national flower of South Korea, the name in Korean actually means immortal flower. As to the biblical connotations for this plant there seems to be a bit of name switching, the actual biblical "Rose of Sharon" the plant and not the personage of Jesus is a type of crocus that grows on the costal plain of Sharon, some also believe that it could be a type of Tulipa..a bright red flower (tulip type) that grows prolifically on the hills of Sharon........................Well...... that is how stores are made, either way the Rose of Sharon, Althea, or Hibiscus syriacus, has been a staple in Texas and American gardens for generations, try one, it will add a bit of color and a lot of interesting history to your garden.......(And yes.... Jamie this can grow in your area...will bloom in August most likely)

Rose of sharon is a deciduous flowering shrub.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for Rose of Sharon:

The climate is most favorable for growing rose of sharon bushes in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9.

Characteristics of Rose of Sharon:

Generally speaking, rose of sharon bushes can get 8'-10' tall and have a spread of 4'-6'. However, some cultivars stay shorter (e.g., Hibiscus syriacus 'Minerva' reaches only 5'-8'). Blooms on rose of sharon can be white, red, lavender or light blue; some have double blooms. Most rose of sharon bushes bear small, deeply-lobed, light-green leaves (may vary according to cultivar).

Pruning Rose of Sharon:

Although naturally a multi-stemmed shrub, rose of sharon can be trained through pruning (in late winter) to have simply one main trunk; thus some people refer to it as rose of sharon "tree." It's easiest to give rose of sharon its desired shape by pruning it accordingly during its first two seasons. It can also be trained for espalier.

Sun and Soil Requirements for Rose of Sharon:

Rose of sharon prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Older rose of sharon bushes may fall prey to fungal damage if grown in areas without full sun.

Uses for Rose of Sharon in Landscape Design:

Its attractive and plentiful blooms make rose of sharon plant fully capable of holding its own as a specimen. One's ability to shape rose of sharon also makes the shrub a prime candidate for hedges. But since rose of sharon bush is deciduous, it makes an effective privacy hedge only in summer. It could be used to achieve privacy around swimming pools, for instance. However, be aware that its blooms could attract unwanted bees. Please note the blooms can be messy as they drop from the main plant, try to use this plant as a distant, out of the way, but able to be seen specimen
Rose of sharon blooms profusely, and its attractive flowers are its main selling point. Like other types of hibiscus, rose of sharon's flowers bear a striking stamen. Another feature giving the shrub value is its relatively late period of blooming (in the Northeastern U.S., it blooms in August). Rose of sharon is thus able to offer color when many shrubs have long ceased blooming. A heat-lover, rose of sharon is also prized by growers in the Southeastern U.S. who crave plants that can stand up to summer's heat. The plant is reasonably drought-tolerant. Don't give up on rose of sharon, thinking it's dead just because it hasn't leafed out by early summer. Rose of sharon not only blooms late, but leafs out late, as well.


  1. I've finally identified what I've been calling my 'Carnation' tree. My husband bought it off the back of a truck about 5yrs ago. it was a spindley little thing that we had high hopes to shade our front yard. now it's about 7' tall and has lovely pale pink blooms with a dark maroon center.

  2. You should heavily prune all branches this winter so that it gets bushier next summer.

  3. You should heavily prune all branches this winter so that it gets bushier next summer.