Rose Of Sharon: How To Grow and Care For Hibiscus Syriacus

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a very beautiful, slow-growing, deciduous shrub producing luxuriant blooms during the summer when grown in warm climates. Reaching a maximum height of 8 to 10 foot tall, it is an excellent choice as an ornamental privacy hedge from early spring through late summer.

This Hibiscus family member – the Rose of Sharon is easy to grow and naturally resistant to most pests. This makes it an excellent choice for newcomers to gardening. With its lush tropical appearance and numerous varieties of blossom colors, it can provide a satisfying gardening experience even to the least experienced gardeners.

blue flower of the Rose of Sharon tree

It is easy to plant the Rose of Sharon bushes to create a hedge comprised of flowers of all one color or a mix and match collection of purples, blues, pinks, and various shades of white. In this article, we will review the steps necessary for successful planting and care of the delightful Rose of Sharon. Read on to learn more.

Table Of Contents

Where Will You Plant It?

Before you purchase your new bush or bushes, you should be certain that you have an ideal location. Rose of Sharon does best in full sun; however, it can do well with partial shade.

You should have plenty of room for your Rose of Sharon to grow because these plants like to spread. Each one needs at least 6 feet of space around it to allow ample room for expansion.

Be Ready To Dig A Big Hole!

In addition to aboveground space, your Rose of Sharon will need adequate space in the soil for the roots to expand. You need to be able to dig a hole for each bush that is as deep as the pot your plant comes in. It should also be two or three times as wide as that pot.

This tropical Hibiscus cousin wants its feet in a well-drained soil. Dig a big hole and make sure to have plenty of loose, nourishing soil on hand to fill in the hole.

The soil (always improve poor soil) you surround your young shrubs roots with should be a combination of the native soil you removed and a quality, light compost that will nourish your new bush and provide for proper root aeration.

Plant Your Shrub

Once you have your location selected and your hole prepared, you are ready to plant your shrub. Begin by gently tapping the sides of the pot your plant is planted in. You can tap it on the outside with a hammer or mallet, or you can tap the container against the ground to loosen the root ball. [source]

Remove your flowering shrub from its container carefully. You may need to pry it out using a small trowel. Do not pull it out by the trunk, as this can damage the plant and the roots.

Massage the root ball to loosen up the roots so that they will have a better chance of taking hold once your shrub has been transplanted. If the roots seem to be knotted and twisted, they are root bound. You may need to trim them a bit to give them the best start.

Place the young plant in the prepared hole and fill the hole with water. Wait until the water has been completely absorbed by your plant and the surrounding soil before you begin adding soil to the hole.

Use your prepared soil mixture to fill the hole completely. Tamp the soil down gently, being careful not to compact it. The surface of the soil should feel firm but not hard.

Give your new bush another complete soaking and add more soil as needed to be certain that the roots are covered to the level that they were in their original pot.

Protect The Roots With Mulch

Add a thick layer of mulch all around your new foliage. Be certain the mulch completely covers the hole you have dug. You may wish to extend your layer of mulch a bit further to give more protection to the soil surrounding your new bush.

Mulch will hold moisture into the soil and help protect the roots from freezing during the wintertime. Leave a little space around the trunk of your new bush to allow for good air circulation. If the mulch is pressed right against the stem or trunk, it will contribute to rot and will kill your new addition. [source]

How To Take Care For Rose Of Sharon

Be sure to check the soil around your new planting several times a week early on. You may need to water two or three times weekly at first to keep the soil moist and give your new plant a good start in life.

Maintain a balance. Although, your new addition will need regular watering, be careful not to overdo it. As with most plants, excessive watering causes root rot. When your shrub is established, a deep watering once a week should be ample.

Good drainage is essential to good plant growth. If you find that water is pooling around your plant, you may wish to amend your soil with peat moss. This will help lighten the soil and contributes to good aeration.

pink flower of the Rose of Sharon tree

Follow These Steps To Care For Rose Of Sharon On An Ongoing Basis:

  1. Till the soil lightly and add a healthy dose of compost every spring. You should extend the layer of compost so that it is even with the drip line of your plant. The drip line is the edge of the branch tips where the rain falls upon the soil. Taking these steps will help maintain good soil aeration while helping to nourish the soil. If you wish, you may also add fertilizer; however, compost should provide ample nutrition.
  2. When your compost layer is in place, top it off with 2 inches of mulch. Cover the new compost layer completely, and remember to be careful not to allow the mulch to come in contact with the trunk of your bush. Mulch will help hold moisture in the soil and will deter weeds.
  3. Give these hardy hibiscus bushes a deep, weekly watering throughout the summer months. You can skip this if your area has received at least an inch of rain within the week. Remember that it is better to give all bushes and shrubs a deep, weekly soaking with a trickle of water rather than a light daily spraying. A deep soaking once a week encourages more blooms.
  4. Watch out for “bud drop.” If your plant begins dropping blossoms prematurely, you will know that you are not watering correctly. Frequent shallow watering or excessive watering can cause blossoms to drop.
  5. Understand that spent blossoms are different than bud drop. Naturally, blossoms will begin to fade as they have lived out their lives. Be sure to deadhead (pick off) these spent blossoms to make room for new blooms. Regular deadheading will extend your blooming season.
  6. Don’t allow your Rose of Sharon to go to seed. Be sure to cut back unwanted blooms before they have had a chance to produce seeds. Otherwise, your bushes could become invasive. Rose of Sharon is an enthusiastic grower and is very likely to reproduce enthusiastically on its own unless you keep it in check.
  7. Time your pruning to suit your preferences. If you prune in the autumn, just before winter, and prune back severely, you will encourage larger blooms in the spring. If you prefer lots of small flowers, prune lightly in the springtime.
  8. Remove dead, broken and/or damaged branches. No matter what pruning style you choose, be sure to remove nonproductive branches. This will encourage air circulation and allow sunlight to reach your plant uniformly. NOTE: Remove branches damaged by fungus or disease as soon as you notice them, no matter what time of year. Dispose of them properly by throwing them away in the trash or burning them. Do not compost them as this will only spread disease.
  9. Replenish your layer of mulch again in the autumn. This will help prepare your plant for the winter months. Extremely cold weather can kill off branches above the ground.
  10. If this happens, prune your bush all the way back to the ground in the spring. You will soon see new shoots growing from your established roots. [source]

Care For Rose Of Sharon In The Wintertime

Once your plants are established, you can count on them to provide a glorious display throughout the summer months, even in some challenging conditions. Rose of Sharon is hardy throughout USDA hardiness zones 5B through 9A. It can tolerate both cold winters and drought conditions with ease.

If you follow the instructions presented here, you shouldn’t have any worries regarding your Rose of Sharon in the wintertime. Indeed, these hardy plants often make it through late winter without any special care at all.

If your area is subject to extremely harsh winters, you may wish to wrap your bushes with burlap when a hard freeze is expected.

Pests To Watch Out For

Rose of Sharon is generally pest-resistant, but sometimes Japanese beetles can be a problem. If this happens, dust the plant with natural diatomaceous earth. This will eliminate a Japanese beetle infestation.

In Conclusion

Rose of Sharon is a remarkably resilient and easy-to-grow deciduous shrub. In fact, when conditions are ideal, this plant is an evergreen, and it can easily become invasive.

In less than ideal conditions, simple steps to place the plant well, provide good drainage, light nourishment, and protection against extreme cold will result in successful growing of this delightful shrub.

Rose of Sharon flowers come in a variety of shades of blue, violet, pink, mauve, red, and white. They are a treat for the eye and beneficial for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Whether you are new to gardening or an old hand, you are sure to find Rose of Sharon to be a successful, easy-care addition to your yard or garden.

Other Topics You May Like