#ProPlantTips - When to Prune Rose of Sharon!

#ProPlantTips - When to Prune Rose of Sharon!

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Rose of Sharon shrubs resembles the offspring of a Hollyhock and a Hibiscus! Their maple-leaf shaped foliage confuses further, but these definite hardy Woody Hibiscus family members retain the big satellite blooms in dramatic colors, but just arranged a bit differently!

Blooming later than most flowering shrubs, Rose of Sharon produces beautiful saucer-style blossoms beginning in the summer and blooming until fall! Also known as Common Hibiscus, these romantic and easy-to-grow garden beauties are anything but common! 

Like all flowering ornamental bushes, timing is very important when planning out your gardening chore list and pruning schedules!

Rose of Sharon Facts

What is so special about Rose of Sharon? These deciduous plants are native to China and Japan, and Hibiscus syriacus has also been known to go by the names Althea, Rose Mallow, orwhite rose of sharon bush Chinese Hibiscus.

Their showy blooms are delicate and flutter gently in the breeze, giving life to the landscape! The bloom time is what really sets these shrubs off since the flowers bloom in late summer through fall when many other shrubs are no longer flowering! Its flowers stay open for 1 day and close at night, with more waiting in the wings to open the next day. Their bloom time fills the gap when many other shrubs and trees are not flowering!

Each has the family’s long stamen and anthers held out from the center as if beckoning hummingbirds and bees to land on them! Some varietiesrose of sharon with a hummingbird have double-flowered and the blooms resemble carnations!

As well as attracting and providing pollen and nectar to a wide range of hummingbirds and butterflies, and bees! I’ve seen Leaf Cutter Bees cutting perfect circles out of the petals to use when constructing their larvae cocoons and I can't think of a better place I’d like to hatch!

Pruning Your Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon produces flowers on this year's growth (bloom on new wood). So timing is crucial so as not to remove that year's flowering display! rose of sharon tree with icicles on it

Prune as needed to shape in late winter or early spring before you see new growth, as that’s where blooms grow. Develop a pruning plan before you start, especially with new plants! It’s in your hands to train them however you want them to grow!

Pruning Rose of Sharon each spring will produce fewer flowers later in the year, but they will be much larger blooms. If you give it occasional pruning, it will produce a larger array of smaller blooms covering the entire shrub!

  1. Only prune while dormant in late winter or early spring. Pruning any other time and you risk removing branches containing your flower buds.
  2. Make your pruning cuts cleanly, at a 45-degree angle, just above an outward-facing bud. 
  3. Remove any crossing branches and remove branches that head into the center of the canopy, too. This keeps an open canopy for air circulation and sunlight penetration.
  4. Each year, cut back about one-third of the wood to maintain a smaller size if desired, or to just increase branching.
  5. After your new shrub is 3-5 years old, remove one-third of the larger, older or weaker branches, to ground level. Removing this old growth is called renewal pruning, and it encourages the production of lots of new branching and results in larger flowers.

Often sold as a multi-branched and multi-trunked shrubby form, a few single-stemmed tree-form varieties are also available! This shrub may also be trained as Espalier (training a plant torose of sharon seed pods in winter grow on a trellis or in a small area)!

Lastly, to keep your Althea blooming, deadhead to stop seed production and encourage plenty more blooms to take their place!

Rose of Sharon Care & Landscape Uses

Where does Rose of Sharon grow best? rose of sharon growing

Rose of Sharon shrubs are vigorous, hardy plants with few pest or disease problems, and tolerate heat, humidity, and drought! Easy to grow and forgiving, they are gloriously low maintenance and perfect for busy gardeners and newbies! 

Plant your Rose of Sharon tree in full sun to enjoy the boldest blooms in northern climates. They flower best with at least six hours of direct sunlight. In southern planting zones, however, they do appreciate some afternoon shade to protect them from the worst of the summer’s sun.

Rose of Sharon bushes and trees are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including poor soil, heat, humidity, drought, and air pollution. Shrub Althea is best planted in well-draining, slightlyrose of sharon with a bee acidic soil. Planting in the soil doesn't stay soggy is important! Don't forget the Nature Hills Root Booster for a lifetime of symbiotic support.

Rose of Sharon does appreciate watering on a consistent basis for best results, while they may seem like they can thrive on neglect, for best results apply a 3-4 inch thick layer of mulch over their roots and water deeply during extended drought and extreme heat of summer. Don’t let them dry out or you may lose out on seeing their flouncy blooms. Fertilize in spring using a formula for flowering shrubs.

If your Rose of Sharon is dropping unopened buds, that means it is stressed! Don’t reach for the fertilizer! Instead:

  • Give your shrub a good long deep soaking if it has been dry
  • Warmer climates need to water their shrubs regularly to support them through drought and hot summers!
  • If it's in a soggy area, route excess moisture away from the area for better drainage or transplant it to a more well-drained location or bermed planting site if it's still young.
  • Spread a few inches of compost over the soil surface and topdress with mulch
  • Prune back any excessive leggy growth by a third when dormant, no more

Landscaping with Althea

Available in both a shrub (multi-branched/multi-trunked) and tree form (straight single trunk), Nature Hills has a wide variety of Rose of Sharon plants available to you! Double blooms, large single flowered, to colors ranging from blue to pink and white, even red and lavender! There are many bi-color and a wide range of sizes and shapes!

Rose of Sharon, such as Freedom, can be used in an area where space is limited or can be used to create a stunning landscape feature. rose of sharon bush in front of house

  • Borders and Backdrops
  • Airy Privacy and Screening Hedges
  • Fantastic Focal Points & Accents
  • Strong Eye-Catching Single Specimen Plants

We sell tree-form Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) that has been carefully crafted by our nursery professionals. We select the world's best-known Rose of Sharon varieties and unite them on a tall standard trunk.

These grafted shrubs can easily become a petite flowering tree with some pruning, Nature Hills also sells several Tree Form varieties already trained onto a sturdy straight trunk! One of the benefits of a tree-form rose of Sharon bush is the ability to study the tropical blooms closer to eye level.

  • Unique focal points to draw the eye purple pillar rose of sharon
  • Lovely pop of color in small yards
  • Color when other shrubs and trees are done flowering
  • Showy partner in front of evergreen shrubs
  • Thriller plant experience in an oversized outdoor container
  • Strategic privacy screen when carefully positioned on a patio

They'll look like a million bucks but won't cost you a dime in time. In fact, the Rose of Sharon Hibiscus is one of the easiest plants to grow, even for beginners.

The roots of Rose of Sharon are not invasive, but older varieties can self-seed in some areas. Nature Hills protects sensitive areas where these shrubs may get into trouble by using Plant Sentry™ to ensure we don’t ship plants into those threatened locations. However, there are now many sterile Rose of Sharon that eliminate this problem and can be shipped to these areas without issues!

Happy Healthy Rose of Sharon!

With a lifespan of blooms for 20 or 30 years, a Rose of Sharon will bring beauty to your landscape for years to come! Find out why the meaning behind the name ‘’Rose of Sharon’’ is love,paraplu violet rose of sharon beauty, and healing! 

Nature Hills has a wide selection of these fantastic flowering ornamentals available for you in a wide range of colors and sizes!

From the lovely lavender-blue Blue Bird Rose of Sharon and Azurri Blue Satin® Rose of Sharon shrubs and trees, to the dramatic two-tone blooms of Red Heart Rose of Sharon! Then there are the gorgeous two-tone blooms of the Satin® line of Rose of Sharon!

For flower options, there are the juicy hues of the double blooms of the Smoothie line of Rose of Sharon Tree and Shrub form and fluffy Chiffon® Rose of Sharon shrubs and trees! For unique soft green foliage, check out the Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon. Can’t decide on a color?white chiffon rose of sharon Look into the Summer Soirée Rose of Sharon Shrub with lavender pinkish and white blossoms!

Try a columnar Purple Pillar® Rose of Sharon if you are short on space, or a small, almost dwarf Lil' Kim® line of Althea! Fill up large areas with the rounded and fully packed Blushing Bride Rose of Sharon! 

So check out the many gorgeous varieties of these vivacious blooms for your landscape today at Nature Hills Nursery!

Happy Planting!

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