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Guide to Rose of Sharon: How to Grow & Care for “Hibiscus syriacus”

Read our complete guide to Rose of Sharon for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting and caring for "Hibiscus syriacus"
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Rose of Sharon is a gorgeous shrub native to Asia. It is also known as Chinese hibiscus, hardy hibiscus, and shrub althea. Even though it is called the rose of Sharon, this stunning flower is not a rose at all. It belongs to the genus of hibiscus that counts around 300 different species.

The deciduous shrub produces flowers in summer and fall, making it a perfect choice for landscaping. You can also see the plant in urban areas since it is quite strong and not affected by pollution. Unfortunately, the rose of Sharon is toxic to dogs and cats. If your furry friends eat flowers, they will get sick and vomit. So keep them safe and away from this plant.

About Rose of Sharon

  • Rose of Sharon prefers direct sunlight or partial shade. Therefore, plant it in a spot that gets at least four hours of sun every day. Keep in mind that to get the gorgeous flowers, you need to protect the plant from the midday sun during the summer.
  • This shrub is easy to maintain because the plant is resistant to drought and salt. The pollution doesn’t damage the rose of Sharon either, so if you live in an urban area, it is a safe choice for your garden. While pests could attack your rose of Sharon, the only one that can damage this shrub is a Japanese beetle.
  • Make sure you provide your rose of Sharon with a lot of moisture after you plant it. It thrives in slightly acidic soil that is also well-drained.
  • The perfect time for planting rose of Sharon is either in spring or fall. The leaves should appear in late spring, but keep in mind that this plant is a slow grower.
  • Rose of Sharon could be grown by seeds, but the fastest way to propagate this plant is with cuttings. You can get them either before the planting season or in the very middle of it. The stem shouldn’t be longer than 10 inches (6 inches is ideal), and you need to remove all the leaves except for the top ones.
  • This shrub can be a colorful garden hedge. Of course, you need to create space between the plants. Each shrub should be up to three inches away from each other. Plant them in a row, and you will get a stunning hedge to make your landscape even prettier.
Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon Features: An Overview

  • Rose of Sharon has trumpet-shaped flowers with one or two layers of petals. The petals are wavy and unique, almost paper-like.
  • The flowers can be white, purple, violet, pink, or red, depending on the variety. All of them have one thing in common – a darker spot at the very center of the flower. They start blooming and opening in late summer or fall.
  • Every variety of this plant has a different height, but they don’t go over 10 feet. This shrub thrives on neglect. You could occasionally prune it to keep the foliage neat and give your plant more shape.
  • Even though some gardeners let this shrub grow as tall as possible, the rose of Sharon shrub needs to be pruned now and then. This process will not harm the plant at all. Instead, you will get larger flowers. The best time to prune it is in late winter or early spring.
  • While the rose of Sharon is native to Asia, this highly adaptable plant can grow on other continents and climates. It loves heat and warm weather, so it is popular in southern parts of the US and Europe.
  • Butterflies, as well as hummingbirds, are very drawn to the rose of Sharon. These cute animals will visit your garden frequently during the warmer months of the year.
Beautiful Flowers
Beautiful Flowers

Growing Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is primarily an outdoor plant, and you have to select a suitable spot for it in your garden. This shrub needs light, so find a corner that can provide four hours of sunlight every day. Partial shade works well too. The plant loves warm temperatures, but it can adjust to various weather conditions. So don’t hesitate to give it a try even if you live in a place that has cold winters.

While the majority of hybrid rose of Sharon species are seedless and will not sprout randomly in your yard, you might end up with a couple of unexpected plants near the main bush. You can remove them if you feel like they do not fit in your landscaping. But there is always another option – carefully remove the young plants and share them with your friends.

As previously mentioned, the rose of Sharon can grow in a variety of soils. But there is a chance it will not thrive in sand or clay. Therefore, go for soil that is rich in organic matter. Keep the ground moderately moist at all times, but don’t overwater the plant. Rose of Sharon can survive short droughts, so if you notice that the leaves are turning yellow, ease up on the water.

Hibiscus syriacus
Hibiscus syriacus

Using fertilizer is recommended if you want to have a stunning plant. So once you pick the spot for the rose of Sharon, and dig up the hole, make sure you add some of it into the soil. Water it well to settle the ground and avoid air pockets. Remember to fertilize before each growing season.

Moderation is crucial regarding fertilization. If you overdo it, your rose of Sharon might end up with lush foliage without any flowers. Additionally, the leaves could turn brown or yellow. They might also look bent and lifeless. Therefore, make sure you don’t over-fertilize.

Many people choose the rose of Sharon for their privacy fences or hedges due to the plant’s height as well as colorful flowers. It can add more life to your garden, which is always a plus. Creating a hedge with this plant is easy, and all you need to do is leave enough space between the plants. Rose of Sharon will fill it up in no time.

We have mentioned that most gardening enthusiasts plant rose of Sharon outside, but this bush can thrive in a pot as well. It will not grow to be super tall, and you will need to prune it occasionally. It will still look pretty in indoor settings. Just place the pot in a sunny place and get the plant outside when the weather is nice.

Purple Pillar Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus) Live Shrub, From Amazon

Watering Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon prefers moist soil, especially during spring and summer. Water it frequently to increase the number of flowers. On the other hand, too much water can damage the plant. If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow, it doesn’t mean the plant needs more water. Instead, you have been overwatering it.

This shrub is drought tolerant and can survive a short period without water. The plant will not be harmed in any way. Return to your watering schedule, and the rose of Sharon will continue to grow, producing large and colorful flowers as usual.

Propagating Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is propagated through cuttings. You can do so at any time of the year. But there are a few things you need to remember if you want to grow another bush in your yard. For instance, take green cuttings during summer and wooden cuttings in fall or winter. The wooden cuttings should be at least one year old. Aim for 4 to 6-inch cutting. All leaves except for the top ones should be removed.

If you are propagating the rose of Sharon in summer, you can take the fresh cutting and place it directly into the ground. The soil needs to be moist and fertilized. Keep watering the new plant frequently, and it should develop the root system in no time.

Generally, the safest way to propagate rose of Sharon is to place a fresh cutting into a pot. Use a rooting hormone on the bottom part of the stem and place the lower half into a pot. Water the cutting and cover it up with clear plastic.

The pot should be kept in shade or indirect sunlight. Remove the plastic after one week. Keep the soil moist but not too much. The root system will develop after one or two months. You can check by pulling the plant up. Also, if you see new leaves, the cutting is adapting and growing.

Hibiscus syriacus Azurri Blue Satin (Rose of Sharon) Shrub, From Amazon

Final Thoughts

Often used for landscaping, the rose of Sharon is a breathtaking plant that will brighten up your garden with its colorful flowers. It is low maintenance and perfect for beginners. After all, it is somewhat drought resistant and not a pest magnet. You could only have issues with a Japanese bugs infestation. Dealing with it is easy because these bugs are large and noticeable.

Rose of Sharon doesn’t require any extra care besides watering and pruning. It can grow in almost any soil, and air pollution is not a problem. You will be rewarded with breathtaking flowers in late summer and early fall. The only negative side is that rose of Sharon is toxic to pets.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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