Rose of Sharon Landscaping Ideas
The Althea shrub, better known as Rose of Sharon, is ideal if you have a sunny entrance way just begging for the right shrub. It is popular, colorful and an excellent choice for any area. Make a spot for the beautiful Althea shrub.
With an interesting choice of colors this beautiful shrub is best known for its large showy flowers (in single or double flowering form, with solid colors or bicolors) that bloom all Summer long. Having color choices of white, red, purple, mauve, violet, or blue, or bicolors with a different colored throat, you are sure to find the perfect variety to complement your garden.
Why The Althea Shrub?
This wonderful summer blooming shrub is a member of the amazing mallow family, an incredible group of gorgeous bloomers including hollyhocks, cotton, okra and even marsh mallows, plus the tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus sinensis).
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) can reach a height of 8′-10′ with a spread of 4′-6′ making it an excellent and beautiful choice for hedges.
But don’t stop there! With its beautiful upright vase-shaped form it makes a great addition to a shrub border or your sunny garden bed.
Interesting and fun planting combinations for your new Althea shrub
For a cottage garden, the Althea shrub blends beautiful with daylilies, viburnum, Belinda’s dream rose, apple blossom yarrow, homestead purple verbena, rosemary, and lantana.
- It works just as well in a traditional setting with boxwood, trailing lantana, columbine, st. johns wort, lily turf, miniature petunia, mono grass, and lilies.
- This shrub looks beautiful underplanted with spring bulbs like grape hyacinth and small daffodils.
- Plant smaller shrubs and medium-sized perennials such as yarrow, daylily or salvia to hide the leggy lower trunk.
Varieties of the Althea Shrub
You may be more familiar with the traditional Rose-of-Sharon shrubs, generally in many shades of pink. But there are lots of varieties to choose from making this shrub a beautiful and very versatile choice for your garden.
- Aphrodite: A single, ruffled dark pink petal with a dark red eye.
- Diana: A single, ruffled pure white flower.
- Minerva: A single ruffled, lavender pink flower with a red eye.
- Helen: A single, ruffled white flower with a maroon eye.
- Blue Bird: A single lilac-blue flower with a red eye.
- Tri-Color: Double red, pale pink and blue-purple blooms on the same plant.
- Lucy: Double, red-purple flowers
The Althea shrub grows happily in full sun to part shade, doesn’t fuss over soil, withstands heat and cold and tolerates drought and wind; and even transplants well.
Self sown seedlings may be a minor pain, but they are easy to pull and fun to share with other gardeners.
Since it blooms on the new wood each summer, it is easily controlled and its size can be maintained by cutting it back in late winter or early spring. You can plant the Althea any time of the year and is easily rooted from cuttings.
Pests and Diseases
One of the most common Rose of Sharon health issues is “Flower Bud Drop.” Your shrub may be in bud or full bloom and then the next day the buds or flowers have fallen off. To avoid this, the soil moisture must remain constant; it can’t fluctuate excessively between dry and moist.
This is why a rich, organic moisture retentive soil is recommended. To reduce evaporation and maintain a cooler soil temperature, apply a 3-inch layer of mulch under the shrub. This should curtail any future bud drop issues.
This old-fashioned shrub was common in gardens around the turn of the century and is coming back into vogue once again. The newer varieties have bigger blooms and longer bloom periods and as a result, are experiencing resurgence in popularity with gardeners, not to mention hummingbirds and butterflies, which find them irresistible.