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This is an example of the Hibiscus Syriacus Blue Chiffon (Rose of Sharon). The double Rose of Sharon blooms are very similar to many other varieties of hibiscus.
There are over 200 different species of hibiscus plants around the world, each variety differing in size, shape, and color. Some of those species are tropical and some of them are hardy. One example of a hardy species is the Hibiscus syriacus. The common name for the Hibiscus syriacus is Rose of Sharon.
If you are more than slightly confused over different flowers, you are not alone. Trying to recognize them when they are often so similar in appearance sometimes requires a master gardener or a botanist, and I am neither of those. I depend upon many reference guides when I write articles about gardening and flowers and still remain confused at times. It is my understanding, however, that the Rose of Sharon is simply one specific type of hibiscus. So, to put it quite simply, all Rose of Sharon flowers are hibiscus, but not all hibiscus flowers are Rose of Sharon.
One thing is for certain, however, if you plant several different types of hibiscus in your yard, as you can see from some of the photographs within this article, you can count on having a fabulous display of colors in your garden.
If you are planting a Rose of Sharon shrub, do so in the spring or fall and select a site that has full sun to light shade. Make sure you have moist, but well-drained soil.
Space your shrubs several feet apart, taking into consideration the expected size of the shrub at maturity. Dig the hole for the shrub only as deep as the root ball, but two to three times as wide.
The Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) is a deciduous shrub that is vase-shaped and upright, often reaching a height of several feet. The shrub bears large trumpet-shaped flowers that have prominent yellow-tipped white stamens.
The individual flowers are available in a variety of colors, although each is short-lived, blooming for only one day. The good news, however, is that a shrub produces a lot of buds on its new growth, which provides prolific flowering over a long blooming period in the summer.
The Rose of Sharon has a medium growth rate, growing about 12-24 inches a year. When your shrub is mature, it can grow up to 12 feet tall and have up to a 10-foot spread. When the Rose of Sharon is young, you can expect to see an upright growth pattern presenting a very compact appearance. As it ages, however, it will begin to spread out, causing many gardeners to consider them an invasive plant.
If you need to transplant your Rose of Sharon, the best time to do so is when it is dormant from late fall into early spring, when it sheds its leaves and has little or no growth.
When you initially plant your Rose of Sharon shrub, add a small amount (two to three teaspoons) of a general-purpose fertilizer, which will provide enough nutrients to sustain the plant for its first year. Simply mix the fertilizer in with the soil while you are filling the planting hole. It will disperse as you water and be available for the roots of the plant to absorb.
Fertilization should be done each spring and summer, although the type of feeding is different for the seasons. In the spring, you can apply the same small amount of general-purpose fertilizer that you applied at the time of planting, following the directions provided by the manufacturer.
Don't overfeed your Rose of Sharon! Too much fertilizer can damage your beautiful shrub.
In the summer, you will need to add some nitrogen to the soil, but I suggest a natural fertilizer such as ramial chipped wood (RCW) mulch, which is made from small, freshly-cut twigs and branches. Branches and twigs that are used are under 3" in diameter and have considerably more nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium than larger branches.
The wood is put in a chipper or shredder and ground into the mulch, which is rich in nitrogen, but only for the first three months after it is made. The mulch will lose many of the beneficial nutrients after that time. Apply this mulch in the same way you would apply any other mulch (about two inches thick), being careful to avoid any close contact with the main stem of your plant. In fact, keep the mulch approximately 18 inches away from the base of the shrub and spread it out to the plant's drip line.
The growth and appearance of your Rose of Sharon can be affected by various pests, such as aphids and Japanese beetles, and diseases like canker and leaf spot, all of which are discussed below.
© 2018 Mike and Dorothy McKenney
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on April 13, 2020:
We have moved and unfortunately, I don't have any Rose of Sharon trees at this time. Thanks for reading.
Swapna Kollu on April 09, 2020:
I'm interesting in some of the cuttings of rose of sharon trees. Please let me know if you can give me when you prune them.