Rose of sharon fertilizer

Roses Of Sharon: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

An erect, deciduous shrub, Rose of Sharon produces colorful, cup-shaped flowers in summer and fall. Other common names include shrub althea and Chinese hibiscus.

About roses of sharon
Rose of Sharon flowers in late summer to fall when few other shrubs are in bloom. Flower colors include blue, pink, red, lavender, purple, and white, depending on the variety. Most varieties grow 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. The plant shows good pollution tolerance, making it appropriate for urban gardens.

Special features of roses of sharon
Easy care/low maintenance

Choosing a site to grow roses of sharon
Select a site with full sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring or fall. Space plants 6 to 10 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you’ve removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don’t amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Ongoing Care
Apply a layer of compost under the tree each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches). Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Flowers are produced on new wood, so prune in early spring to shape and reduce size. Pruning the shrub back to 2 to 3 buds per branch in spring encourages larger flowers. Remove dead, diseased, and injured branches any time.

Rose Of Sharon Winter Care: Preparing Rose Of Sharon For Winter

Hardy in zones 5-10, rose of sharon, or shrub althea, allows us to grow tropical looking blooms in non-tropical locations. Rose of sharon is usually planted in the ground but it can also be grown in containers as a lovely patio plant. One problem with growing rose of sharon in a pot is that it can get quite large, with some species growing up to 12 feet. Another problem with rose of sharon in pots is that it may not be able to survive harsh winters without suitable care. That said, winter care for rose of sharon planted in the ground may be required. Continue reading to learn more about overwintering rose of sharon.

Preparing Rose of Sharon for Winter

While generally we are not thinking about winter in July, it’s important to know not to fertilize these shrubs after this month. Fertilizing too late in summer can cause tender new growth to grow, which can be damaged by frost later. It also wastes the plant’s energy on this new growth, when it should be putting energy into developing strong roots that can withstand winter chill.

Rose of sharon plants bloom in late summer to early autumn. In October, the flowers fade and develop into seed pods. The seeds that develop are a source of winter food for goldfinches, titmice, cardinals and wrens. The remaining seeds drop close to the parent plant in the winter and may germinate in spring, creating colonies of the shrub.

To prevent unwanted plants, deadhead rose of sharon flowers in late fall. You can also collect these seeds for later plantings by putting nylon pantyhose or paper bags over the developing seed pods. When the pods split open, the seeds will be caught in the nylon or bags.

Rose of Sharon Winter Care

In most zones, preparing rose of sharon for winter is not necessary. In zone 5, though, it’s a good idea to add a heap of mulch over the plant crown for protecting rose of sharon in winter. Potted rose of sharon may need winter protection as well. Either heap mulch or straw over potted plants or wrap with bubble wrap. It’s most important that the plant crown be protected in colder climates. Protecting rose of sharon in winter when it’s planted in areas of high wind may also be necessary.

Since rose of sharon blooms on new wood, you can lightly prune, as needed, throughout the year. Any heavy pruning should be done as part of your rose of sharon winter care regiment in February and March.

Rose of sharon leafs out later in spring than many other shrubs, so if you cannot get out to prune it in February or March, just do it before new growth begins in spring. Do not do heavy pruning of rose of sharon in autumn.


Choose a strong growing straight stem as near to the centre as possible. Mark this with chalk or similar to indicate this is the stem you want to preserve.

Cut all other stems growing from the base of the plant to ground level. This will leave you with one main stem only.

On the bottom third of the stem only prune away all side shoots growing from it. Cut the side shoots as close to the stem as possible and use a sharp pair of secateurs. Leave all other side shoots attached to the stem – they will provide some leaves which will enable the shrub to grow.

Depending on the eventual size of plant you require, and also how straight you want the stem to grow, it may require staking.

Next spring repeat steps 1 to three again. New stems from the base may well appear and these should be pruned to ground level. The main stem will have grown in height and pruning side shoots from the bottom third of the stem will again be needed.

The side branches at the top will provide the main bulk of the tree later on so these should be lightly pruned to remove and stems which are not growing upwards. Prune by half any side shoots which have grown below the top side branches.

Repeat the above process each early spring until your shrub has reached the required height.

You should now have a single stemmed shrub with a clearly defined “head”. Choose four strong growing stems in the head and prune away the other stems. Remove all side shoots from below the head. In following years remove any stems which grow from the base and any side shoots which sprout below the head from the stem.


Over the last fifty years or so plant breeding has resulted in many different varieties of hibiscus syriacus, the major differences being in the flower colours and form. Which you prefer is purely a matter of personal preference. All the varieties below have been awarded an RHS AGM.

This variety produces blue-violet flowers about 8cm /3in wide with a darker central portion. The stamens are well -formed and bright white.

One of our favourites and a very popular variety. The flowers are up to 10cm / 4in, pure white with a deep red centre.

A traditionally coloured flower of deep pink and a darker centre. The central stamen is a very prominent white.

Impressive double lilac-white flowers with a white stamen. Looks quite different from the traditional flower colour and shape.

Other “easy-care” shrubs in this series include Choisya, Hebes, Mock Orange, Lilacs, Potentilla and Skimmia.

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′ feet tall, it is an excellent choice as an ornamental privacy hedge from early spring through late summer.

This family Malvaceae member – a Hibiscus Rose of Sharon hedge 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.

It is easy to plant Hibiscus syriacus bushes also known as the shrub Althea 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 plant. Read on to learn more.

Where Will You Plant It?

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

You should have plenty of room for planting Rose of Sharon shrub 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 the aboveground space, your Hibiscus syriacus 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 bush 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 the roots of your young beautiful shrubs with should be a combination of the native soil you removed and quality, light compost that will nourish your new bush and provide for proper root aeration.

The rose can also be grown as an outdoor potted tree for the patio.

How To Plant Rose Of Sharon

And… when to plant the Hibiscus syriacus.

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.

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.

Hibiscus Syriacus Care

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.

Follow These Steps For Growing 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 rose of sharon 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, 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. A soaker or drip hose makes deep watering easy.
  4. Watch out for “bud drop.” If your plant begins dropping blossoms and leaves 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 the bloom time.
  6. Don’t allow your Rose of Sharon hibiscus tree 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. Hibiscus syriacus is an enthusiastic grower and is very likely to reproduce enthusiastically on its own unless you keep it in check.
  7. Time your Hibiscus pruning to suit your preferences. If you prune Hibiscus syriacus 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.

Rose Of Sharon Winter Care

Once your plants are established, you can count on them to provide a glorious display as a patio tree throughout the summer months, even in some challenging conditions. Rose of Sharon trees are hardy throughout USDA hardiness zone 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 Hibiscus syriacus 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.

You may also like:

  • Blue Hibiscus aka Alyogyne Huegelii
  • Midnight Marvel Hibiscus

Pests To Watch Out For

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

Aphids can also attack plants and begin to suck the plant juices with their piercing and sucking mouthparts. Hibiscus and thrips can be an issue as well.

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 successfully 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 Hibiscus syriacus to be a successful, easy-care addition to your yard or garden.

Flowers transform your home instantly, whether you have them in your garden or just a few stems in a vase on your dining table. When it comes to choosing the flower you want, the many species available may make settling on a specific one difficult. However, until you have considered the Rose of Sharon, you are yet to exhaust your options. The Rose of Sharon isn’t a rose as the name suggest but instead falls in the Hibiscus family. It has many colors including purple, white, pink, blue and red making it an excellent option for adding that pop of color to your fence. Rose of Sharon offers you some versatility in that you can grow its bush in groups, singularly or in a hedgerow. For it to be as beautiful as you intend it be, taking care if it is not an option, so here are a few tips to help you.

1. Keep the soil well-nourished

For the Rose of Sharon to do well, you should make sure that you nourish the soil by adding some composted manure every spring. Although you can add fertilizer as well, compost is better in that it is organic and gives the plant more nutrition. However, too much fertilizer or compost results in overfeeding your plant which causes it to grow without producing flowers. When applying the compost ensure that the layer extends till it is in line with the branch tip edges where the rain drips onto the soil.

2. Mulch the plant

To ensure that your bush does not dry up, adding some mulch onto the compost layer will prevent too much water from evaporating thereby keeping the moisture in the soil. Mulching also prevents weeds from growing which enhances the soil nutrition but check that the mulch does not cover the trunk. The plant is drought resistant and can survive in full sun but if you cannot find some mulch, grow your bush in a partially shaded area and during hot weather, water it regularly. Further, if you notice that your plant is dropping buds prematurely, it means you are not watering it correctly; you are either giving it too much or too little water. When autumn comes, you should apply a new layer of mulch in preparation for the winter since the cold temperatures can cause branches above the ground to die.

3. Prune according to your preferences

If you want your bush to have plenty of large flowers, then you should prune severely before winter as the autumn season ends so that when spring comes, the flowers will bloom. However, if small flowers are your preference, then you can wait until springtime and prune lightly. Also, the size you want your bush to grow into dictates the time you should prune. If you want your plant to reach the size of a tree, then you should cut the lower branches in early spring or late winter after it attains a height of 4 feet. On the other hand, if you desire a shorter shrub, then you should prune around three of the largest and oldest branches till they are only a few inches from the ground. Still, whatever size of shrub or quantity of flowers you want, whenever you notice damaged branches, you should remove them regardless of the time of the year. Pruning allows sunlight to reach the entire plant and encourages air circulation.

4. Protect your shrub from diseases and pests

The Rose of Sharon shrubs are usually pest and disease resistant, but that does not stop them from getting infections. Overwatering the plant can lead to aphids, but you can quickly get rid of them by spraying them with water from the hose pipe. Japanese beetles can also feast on the flowers, but you can eliminate them by spraying them with water too or removing them with your hands. Fungus, leaf spots and other diseases will harm your plant but not kill it, so remove any infected parts on the flowers or leaves. Also, check to see if any leaves or flowers on the ground are infected and cut them off to prevent the spread of the disease. Other signs of infection include red bumps on the bark of your shrub’s branches, and you should remove such parts. Insects and diseases spread quickly therefore after cutting off any infected branches, remember to sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol. You should also burn the infected parts or dispose of them properly; taking care not to mix them up with the compost leaves.

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