Rose of Sharon graces beauty ads, the covers of magazines and modeling photo shoots. These delicate and ethereal flowers can easily be grown at home to create a beautiful domestic scene.
The name "Rose of Sharon" dates to the Bible and carries significant meaning for cultures throughout the world. The modern-day usage of "Rose of Sharon" refers to two plants that both display flouncy, cup-shaped blooms from mid-summer through fall. One plant is an evergreen shrub (hypericum calcycinum) and the other is a deciduous shrub (Hibiscus syriacus). Other common names for Rose of Sharon are Althea and Chinese hibiscus.
Rose of Sharon stands out form other erect, deciduous shrubs, because it blooms when most plants are spent. The colorful blossoms can be white, lavender, purple, blue, pink and red. The shrub can grow to a height of 8 to 12 feet and a width of 6 to 10 feet. Many experts describe Rose of Sharon as "tropical" or "exotic".
A low-maintenance shrub, Rose of Sharon is pollution tolerant, good in urban gardens and grows in full sun to light shade as long as the soil drains well and is kept moist. It prefers the heat, and in very high temperatures blooms year round.
To encourage a bevy of blossoms, always remove diseased, injured and dead branches whenever they are apparent. In early spring, prune the old wood back to only 2 or 3 buds to reduce the size of the shrub and create a pleasing shape.
Beneath the Rose of Sharon, clear the ground of weeds and debris at the same time as the pruning. Spread a layer of rich compost beneath the plant to the outermost branches (the dripline). Lay mulch on top of the compost and water when rainfall decreases significantly--1 inch per week. Rose of Sharon doesn't do well in overly moist soil.