Connecticut Garden Journal: When Shrubs Stop Blooming, The Rose Of Sharon Begins

Aug 10, 2017

Some plant common names can steer you in the wrong direction. Take Rose of Sharon for example. 

Depending on the plant, it's:  

  1. a biblical bulb grown in the plains of Syria and Lebanon 
  2. an evergreen shrub in Europe 
  3. an Asian native deciduous shrub that’s the national flower of South Korea 

The correct answer is 3.

The Rose of Sharon shrub blooming now is botanically Hibiscus syriacus. It has single or double hibiscus-like blooms. But unlike the tropical Florida shrub, Rose of Sharon is hardy to zone 5, so it grows in our region.

While Rose of Sharon is slow to leaf out in the spring, it flowers in mid-summer when few other shrubs are blooming. It produces colorful blue, pink, red, lavender, purple, or white blooms that are favorites of hummingbirds and butterflies. It likes the heat and humidity and can bloom into September.

Grow Rose of Sharon in a well-drained spot in full sun. Give it some room.

Most varieties grow to eight to 12 feet tall, and four to six feet wide. It makes an excellent hedge plant and an impressive specimen in the lawn or near your house. Prune it in late-winter to stimulate more growth and flowers.

The Chiffon series features blue, white, rose, and lavender selections with semi-double flowers.

For a dwarf variety try Lil Kim. It grows four feet tall and has white flowers with red throats. The seeds are sterile, so it's less likely to self sow.

Sugar Tip is a double flowering variety with variegated leaves. Oh, and not only is Rose of Sharon beautiful, the flowers are edible too!

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about harvesting melons.