Despite the plant being called the rose of Sharon, it is not a type of rose. It is a type of tropical hibiscus flower but with smaller flowers than other types of hibiscus. It is native to Asia and India and has been in existence since biblical times. It also gets an honorable mention in Shakespeare’s poetry.
Rose of Sharon produces different colored flowers with a dark-colored center depending on the variety. The colors are violet, pink, blue, red, white, purple, white, or lavender. The flowers are delicate and have a short life span.
Rose of Sharon plants are easy to grow, and they are best grown in moist, well-drained soil. The plant can be planted in spring or fall. They are also resilient and are resistant to drought, pests, and pollutants. Making them perfect for urban gardening.
Keep reading to learn how to grow and tend to your Rose of Sharon plants.
How to Grow a Rose of Sharon Bush from Cuttings
It is possible to grow rose of Sharon from both hardwood and softwood cuttings. For the softwood cuttings, do the cutting in late spring or early summer. And for the hardwood cuttings do the cutting late fall or early spring. Softwood cuttings are soft and usually have fresh leaves, while hardwood cuttings have no leaves, buds, or flowers.
Always pot the cuttings as soon as possible to ensure they do bot wither or dry up. Before you begin the propagation, ensure you prepare to make potting after the cutting successful. The potting mixture should contain a mix of sand and sterile potting soil. The mixture ratio is 1:1.
Sterilize the shear or scissors with rubbing alcohol to kill any bacteria. This will prevent spreading an infection to the rose of Sharon bush or the new cuttings. Pour rooting hormone powder into a plastic cup for dipping the cut stem to increases the chances of rooting.
The optimal time for taking cuttings is morning as the plant is hydrated, and the cutting will not dry out before potting. Look for stems that are at least 4-6 inches tall. They should not be thicker than one inch in diameter. Cut the stem at an angle using a sharp blade. Remove the leaves for softwood cuttings before you pot them.
Potting the New Cutting
Dip the new cutting into the rooting hormone powder and shake off the excess. Do not store the remaining rooting powder as it cannot be reused. Cover the bottom half of the cutting in the potting mixture and ensure it is completely upright. Press the potting mix to compress it. This will help the cutting stay upright. Then water the potting soil lightly around the cutting base.
Ensure the new cutting is adequately watered. It is best to expose it to bright warm light to increase the chances of successful rooting. The optimal temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a heating mat if the temperature is too low.
Cover the top part of the pot in clear plastic to retain moisture. Make sure the cover does not suffocate the cutting. Place the cuttings in a partially shaded location to ensure they stay warm and have access to constant sunlight.
Caring for the Cuttings
Ensure the potting mix does not dry up by watering it as needed. You can check the water level by poking the soil with your finger—the trick is to water it so that it is wet but not soaking wet. Rooting may happen in four to six weeks. It can also take a couple of months. To check if the cutting has taken root tug on it gently to see if it will bulge.
Once rooting has occurred, take the cutting outside to help it acclimatize to the environment before transplanting. You can remove the clear plastic at this point. This will help the plant to become used to lower humidity. Let it acclimatize for a week before transplanting.
Transplanting the Cutting
You need to transplant the cutting into nursery pots and let them grow for at least one year before you can plant them in your yard. Use large nursery pots with enough room for the plants’ roots to spread. A two-gallon nursery pot will be roomy enough for this purpose.
After the first year of growth, transplant the new rose of Sharon plants into the ground. Plant them in an area with loam soil. Rose of Sharon plants should not be planted in soil that retains water. Pick a location with access to bright sunlight or minimal shade. Space them at least four feet apart for root growth.
How to Grow a Rose of Sharon Bush from Seeds
It is important to note that plants grown from seeds will not resemble the parent plant. You can source for seeds from local flower shops or other sources. You can also look for seedlings that may have self-seeded around the plant.
You can then proceed to dig up the new seedlings and replant them. If you do not have access to seedlings or seeds, harvest them from the plant. Do not harvest the pods until they turn brown. At this point, they are mature enough to be able to propagate growth.
The best time to plant the seeds is late fall so they can sprout and grow throughout the winter season. You can also pot them indoors and transplant them outdoors once the plant begins to grow.
Plant the seeds in moist seed compost and cover it in a quarter-inch of dry compost. Keep the compost hydrated to help the seed sprout. Expose the planted seed to sunlight as it is essential for new plant growth. It will take two to three weeks for the seeds to grow.
Caring for Rose of Sharon Plants
Water your rose of Sharon plant weekly but do not water it if the soil is to wet. This may cause the roots to rot. Also, be on the lookout for yellowing leaves. This is a sign of overwatering. Dip your finger in the soil to check if the soil is dry before watering the plant.
Mulch your rose of Sharon plant during springtime to reduce water evaporation. Remove the previous mulch used before applying 3-4 inches of new mulch to the plant. Apply fertilizer to your plant after pruning.
Rose of Sharon FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the rose of Sharon and their answers
Where is the Best Place to Plant Rose of Sharon?
Rose of Sharon plants is grown in hardy to USDA zones 4-9. They tend to favor tropical weather, making them ideal for growing in dry areas that can barely support most types of flowers and plants. The plant is best planted in sand, clay, chalk, or loam soil. The optimal pH soil range is 5.5-7.5.
Can Rose of Sharon Grow in the Shade?
Yes. A rose of Sharon plant can grow in a partially shaded area as long as the soil is not wet or waterlogged.
How Long Does it Take for Rose of Sharon to Grow?
On average, it takes at least two to four weeks for a rose of Sharon seeds to germinate. And it takes the cuttings four to six weeks on average to begin rooting.
How Can I Make My Rose of Sharon Grow Faster?
You can use Miracle-Gro or Miracid to propagate faster growth. Additionally, you should focus on spring feeding to make the plant grow faster. The plant also tends to grow much faster when exposed to sunlight, as it is a tropical plant.
What is the Best Fertilizer for Rose of Sharon?
For optimal results, use a balanced fertilizer for spring feeding and low nitrogen fertilizer for mid-summer feeding. You can use either the 10-10-10 or the 10-20-10 balanced fertilizers and the 0-10-10 low-nitrogen fertilizer.
You can also apply a slow-release granular fertilizer in late winter or early spring. If the soil in your yard is not fertile, try to fertilize your plants at least once a month with an all-purpose fertilizer. Ensure you do not feed the plant as this can lead to stem and leaves overgrowth at the expense of flower growth.
How Often Should I Water Rose of Sharon?
Ideally, water your rose of Sharon bush once a week when it is in a growing phase and more often during hot summer months. Ensure the roots are thoroughly soaked to be able to sustain the plant.
How Big Does a Rose of Sharon Tree Get?
A rose of Sharon can grow to a height of 12 feet tall and ten feet wide if it takes care of properly.
What Month Does Rose of Sharon Bloom?
They tend to bloom, starting from late summer to fall.
When to Prune Rose of Sharon
Pruning is mostly for size control and shaping the plant as it grows relatively slow. The best time to prune your rose of Sharon bushes would be in late winter to early spring before they start to experience new growth.
How Do You Prune a Rose of Sharon Tree?
Remove the bottom branches that are close to the ground. You can use this to propagate new bushes or dispose of them. You can also remove other branches that are growing out of place. If you are interested in shaping the bush, then prune the branches that are not growing in tandem with your desired plant shape.
Can I Cut Rose of Sharon Close to the Ground?
Yes. Cuttings provide the best propagation method or growing new bushes of the plant. This is because some varieties of the rose of Sharon plant do not produce viable seeds. Making it impossible to grow them unless you have access to cuttings. They are capable of rooting with cuttings with minimal effort.
How Do I Winterize Rose of Sharon?
Unless you live in a USDA zone 4-6, you need not worry about winterizing your rose of Sharon bushes. Start by watering the plant towards the end of the fall season. So it can have water to survive the winter. You need to stop watering the plant as soon as the ground freezes. Do not water your bushes until the ground thaws.
Cut off all flowers as the weather gets colder. The leaves will fall off on their own, but you can cut them if you wish. Then apply mulch around the plant roots to protect the plant’s roots. The layer of mulch should be at least two to three feet tall and four feet wide.
Next, you need to cover the plant in a plastic bag, bubble wrap, or a burlap sack to protect it from strong winds and to prevent its branches from freezing. Leave the sack or bag on the plant until it gets warmer and less windy.
Do not prune the plant during the summer season, as this will encourage new growth that will be prone to winter burn. And end up compromising the health of the plant.
Pests and Disease Control
While this plant is resistant to most pests and diseases, it is still susceptible to damage by Japanese beetles, aphids, leaf spots, or plant fungus. Avoid overwatering the plant to keep aphids at bay. And if you see beetles on the plant, remove them manually or by spraying them with water.
In the case of fungal infection, remove all the infected leaves, flowers, and branches to prevent it from spreading. You should also use cleaned shears to avoid spreading plant diseases and insects from another plant. Spray with insecticide if you notice an infestation.
You can plant your rose of Sharon as a hedge around the perimeter of your house. Blooming flowers will attract bees to your garden, so consider that when replanting your cuttings and new seedlings.