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Connecticut Garden Journal: Enjoy the late summer blooms of a Rose of Sharon shrub

A bee explores a pink rose of Sharon.
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A bee explores a pink Rose of Sharon.

My mom always loved flowers but in her later years she really couldn't garden much anymore. So, when she was still living at home, my brother planted a Rose of Sharon shrub in the front lawn just outside her kitchen window. Mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen and even though it wasn't the best spot for the Rose of Sharon, she loved seeing the late summer blooms.

Rose of Sharon is in the hibiscus family as you would guess from the brightly colored, trumpet-shaped flowers. It's a hardy shrub in our landscape. Most varieties grow 8- to 12-feet tall, so watch where you plant it. The Chiffon series is a newer type that offers semi-double flowers in colors such as blue, pink, white, rose and lavender. There are dwarf varieties such as 'Lil Kim' with white flowers and a red eye. And 'Sugar Tips' that has variegated leaves and double pink blooms.

Rose of Sharon is not a fussy plant. It grows in full sun or part shade on average soils. It tolerates heat and humidity and once established it's drought tolerant. It will flower into September.

Rose of Sharon has a graceful vase shape and looks great planted with other deciduous shrubs in a border or hedge, at the back of a perennial flower garden or as a specimen plant in the yard. It doesn't require regular pruning, but it can grow 2 feet a year. If you need to reduce its size, prune in late winter or early spring. Deadhead spent flowers to keep your Rose of Sharon from setting seeds and spreading.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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