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Hibiscus syriacus is often confused with:
Abelmoschus manihot Flower
Vernicia fordii Vernicia fordii
Native alternative(s) for Hibiscus syriacus:
Hibiscus laevis Flowers
Hibiscus moscheutos Native habitat
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Ilex verticillata ilex verticillata fruit and leaves
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis

Hibiscus syriacus

Previously known as:

  • Althaea frutex
  • Hibiscus acerifolius
  • Ketmia syriaca
Phonetic Spelling
hi-BIS-kus seer-ee-AY-kus
Description

Rose of Sharon is a rapidly growing, large, deciduous shrub or tree in the Malvaceae (mallow) family and native to south China and Taiwan. It grows to 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide, so consider its space requirements when determining its planting location.

Plant in locations with full sun to partial shade. It is tolerant of neglect and is pH adaptable. It grows best in moist, well-drained soils but is tolerant of all except extremely wet or dry soils. It prefers hot weather. Spring pruning will encourage flowers on new growth and will increase flower size. The plant is moderately tolerant of salt, deer, heat, and wet soil.

Plant in a children’s, pollinator, or butterfly garden. Plant in multiples 6 to 12 feet apart to create a hedge. Flowers are an attractant for butterflies, specialized bees, hummingbirds, and pollinators and are a wildlife food source. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • large, tropical looking, 5-petaled flowers
  • erect, spreading habit with upright branches
  • 3-lobed leaves are 2-4 inches long
  • simple, alternate, coarsely toothed leaves
  • 5-valved, dehiscent capsule persists thru winter

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Rose of Sharon has been reported to be invasive in some states, including Virginia and Kentucky.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Relaxed Foundation Planting Path Garden Mountain Ridge Top Garden - East Lawn and Lower Drive Border Floricyle
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Aphrodite', 'Blue Bird', 'Blushing Bride' , 'Collie Mullens', 'Diana', 'Freedom', 'Helene', 'Lavender Chiffon', 'Minerva', 'Notwoodthree', 'Peppermint Smoothie', 'Pink Giant', 'Purpureus Variegatus', 'Red Heart', 'Smooth Fusion', 'Strawberry Smoothie', 'Tri-color', 'White Chiffon'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#small tree#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#salt tolerant#tsc#air pollution tolerant#hedges#specialized bees#ncemgva2018#fast growing#cpp#aggressive#children's garden#playground plant#dragonflies#pollinator plant#fantz#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#tsc-s#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Aphrodite', 'Blue Bird', 'Blushing Bride' , 'Collie Mullens', 'Diana', 'Freedom', 'Helene', 'Lavender Chiffon', 'Minerva', 'Notwoodthree', 'Peppermint Smoothie', 'Pink Giant', 'Purpureus Variegatus', 'Red Heart', 'Smooth Fusion', 'Strawberry Smoothie', 'Tri-color', 'White Chiffon'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#small tree#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#salt tolerant#tsc#air pollution tolerant#hedges#specialized bees#ncemgva2018#fast growing#cpp#aggressive#children's garden#playground plant#dragonflies#pollinator plant#fantz#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#tsc-s#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hibiscus
    Species:
    syriacus
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    S. China, Taiwan
    Wildlife Value:
    Attractive to hummingbirds. Members of the genus Hibiscus support the following specialized bee: Ptilothrix bombiformis.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Mildly resistant to damage by deer, moderate salt tolerance.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    A 5-valved dehiscent capsule, 3/4" long and wide, brown; persists through winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    2 to 4 in. flowers with 5 crepe-like petals; red, white, violet, purple, two-toned; single or double; last for one day. Campanulate; single or double, solitary.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple medium to dark green leaves; 2 to 4 in. long; coarsely toothed; modest yellow fall color. Alternate, simple, 3-lobed, 2-4" long, coarsely toothed, glabrous, can be shiny.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heat
    Salt
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy