While Rose of Sharon is a type of hibiscus plant, it is treated differently than other varieties. This is because it can withstand colder temperatures while other varieties only thrive in tropical weather. If you want a touch of paradise in your garden, even though you have cold winters, read on to find out when to plant Rose of Sharon.
When to plant Rose of Sharon: Rose of Sharon can be planted in either the spring or the fall. If you have very cold winters, plant the hibiscus variety in the spring, after the last frost date. This will allow it to establish itself. However, if you have a mild winter, you can plant in the fall, before the first frost date. Keep the shrub watered in the first few years but once it becomes mature, it will be drought tolerant.
Planting Rose of Sharon in Different Climates
Even though the Rose of Sharon is a type of hibiscus, it does not like to grow in a tropical climate. If you love hibiscus, pick a different variety that will tolerate the heat and humidity.
Rose of Sharon prefers soil that is moist in its first year or two of growth. After this, however, it can become drought tolerant.
There are some dwarf varieties of Rose of Sharon that do well in containers, so this might be a better option for a dry climate.
A temperate climate will support the growth of your Rose of Sharon quite nicely. It offers cooler winters and summers that should be warm enough for the plant.
Perhaps one of the best areas to grow Rose of Sharon is in a continental climate. This variety of hibiscus can survive winters that go down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, it is drought tolerant in its maturity, which means it will survive hot, dry summers with little water.
Even though Rose of Sharon is able to withstand cold winters, it still needs a long period of sun and warmth. A polar climate simply can’t offer this.
Reasons to Choose Rose of Sharon
Even though Rose of Sharon is part of the hibiscus family, it can be grown in cooler areas. In fact, it is a shrub that can withstand winters that go down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Conversely, the Rose of Sharon can also withstand drought and high temperatures. It won’t wither in the summer and instead will keep blooming, even if you forget to water it.
Another reason to plant Rose of Sharon is that it makes for an excellent hedge plant. You can grow the shrub to give some privacy and be rewarded with lush blooms as decoration.
Finally, Rose of Sharon will self-seed if left alone. While this might be negative or a positive, if you have a lot of space to fill in, having multiple seedlings of this shrub is a benefit.
Choosing Rose of Sharon Seeds
The leaves on this flower have creamy-white tips that give it a soft look in contrast to the pink color of the rest of the blooms. The shrub will grow about 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide, so leave plenty of space.
Complete with a double layer of flowers, these blooms have a purple-blue color that will radiate your garden from mid-summer to fall. This is a large variety and will grow up to 12 feet tall.
With bold, solid white flowers, these blooms will give a lovely contrast to the foliage and any surrounding flowers. It is not as large as other varieties and will grow about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
If you just want one Rose of Sharon shrub and not multiple seedlings, this is a good choice as it won’t self-seed. The flowers are white with centers that are dark red in color.
How to Plant Rose of Sharon Seeds
Seeds vs cuttings
There are two methods for planting Rose of Sharon. While you can grow the shrub from seed, it is also readily available by cuttings, which look like simple branches with just a few roots on them.
Starting with seeds means you will have to wait a few years before your shrub is established. If you want to speed up the process, start with cuttings or a small shrub that will then flower in the first year of planting.
If you live in a warmer climate that doesn’t have severe winters, then you can plant your Rose of Sharon in the fall. Do so before the first frost to allow the roots to take hold and develop a bit before winter hits.
However, if you do have colder winters, it is best to plant Rose of Sharon in the spring. Plant just after the last spring frost.
During the first year of growth, your shrub won’t flower a lot so don’t panic if there is a lot of foliage but few blooms.
With its colorful blooms, Rose of Sharon needs full sun. Try to aim for at least eight hours of direct sunlight.
While you can plant your Rose of Sharon in partial shade, you run the risk of smaller flowers. Furthermore, shade and moisture can cause fungal issues and other diseases.
Rose of Sharon does not have a lot of requirements when it comes to soil. It prefers slightly acidic soil but will also grow in slightly alkaline soil.
Just make sure the soil is well-draining. You can do this by digging up the area you will plant in and adding compost or even a bit of sand.
Even if you start small, your Rose of Sharon will grow quite large so keep this in mind when planting. Aim to space your plants out by at least 6 feet.
Furthermore, make sure there is enough room for your shrub to grow vertically. Some varieties of Rose of Sharon can grow up to 12 feet tall, so you don’t want any overhangs or structures to get in the way.
For those that are starting with a small shrub, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball. Angle the roots so that they are just above ground level.
How to Water Rose of Sharon
After first planting your Rose of Sharon, you will need to ensure it has plenty of water. Aim for moist soil but not pooling water.
However, once your Rose of Sharon is established, it will turn into a drought-resistant plant. You should still water during the height of summer but you don’t have to worry about it as you would with other plants.
If you are unsure if your Rose of Sharon is getting enough water, look to the blooms. They should be bright and open during the day. If they droop, it means the plant needs more water.
How to Grow Rose of Sharon
The best way to grow Rose of Sharon is by starting it off in soil that is already full of nutrients. This way, you won’t have to worry too much about adding fertilizer once it starts growing.
However, if you are worried about your soil, you can add a slow-release fertilizer to the area each spring. An alternative would be to add compost around the area by gently mixing it into the soil.
Overall, you won’t have to worry too much about pruning your Rose of Sharon. Instead, it will naturally grow in a pleasing way.
If you want a bit more tidiness or are worried about how large it is growing, you can do a bit of annual light pruning.
Aim to prune your shrub in late winter or early spring. Rose of Sharon flowers bloom on new growth so if you prune in the spring, you can affect the year’s growth and buds.
If you target stem tips, you will encourage the shrub to produce more buds and more flowers.
The only real maintenance you need to take with your Rose of Sharon before winter is to add a layer of mulch around the roots. This will help insulate them before the cold winter temperatures appear.
You can also help the shrub by planting it in an area that is protected from the wind. As hardy as the plant is, any help it can get through winter will ensure its survival.
How long does Rose of Sharon take to grow?
Rose of Sharon will take a year or two before it starts to bloom. If you don’t want to wait for this, start with a small plant that is already a few years old.
Rose of Sharon will grow to 6 feet wide and up to 12 feet tall, and this will take a few years before it is fully mature.
Tropical flowers are large and bold, so it can be disappointing if you live somewhere colder. However, you can plant Rose of Sharon, which is a type of hibiscus, even if you have cold winters. Plant in fall if your winter is mild or springs if your winter is cold.