Rose of Sharon


When we moved into our house almost 20 years ago, there was a little Rose of Sharon plant out in the back of the yard, behind the garage.  In the late summer, it got pretty flowers, so we just left it alone. Looking back, that might not have been the best idea.  Since then, that little plant has spread its seeds and now we have a dense clump of  trees.  Some are trespassing  in my neighbors yard, and a couple are permanently embedded in the fence.  I’ve removed a few over the years, and many more this year.  The good news is that they may grow to 8 or 10 feet tall, but their roots are not very deep.  The bad news is that they easily seed themselves, so it is difficult to remove them entirely.

Rose of Sharon, also known as Hybiscus Syriacus or Shrub Althea, is considered invasive in parts of the country.  In my yard in Michigan, it spreads a lot slower.  Part of the reason may be that they prefer full sun, and mine are mostly shaded.  Though I probably won’t ever need to, the seed can be easily saved, or the trees transplanted.  Under better conditions, Rose of Sharons can grow 6-10 feet wide.   The flowers are similar to Hibiscus, though smaller, and come in a range of white, purple and pink colors, in single and double varieties.  They bloom later in the summer, and into the fall, after a lot of other flowers are finished.

This summer, for a book discussion group, I read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  I found it interesting that the main character, Tom Joad, has a sister named Rose of Sharon.  Rose of Sharon is also mentioned in the Bible, though it’s not clear exactly what plant it refers to.  Regardless of the origin of the name, I enjoy the gorgeous flowers, and I will always keep at least a few Rose of Sharon trees in our yard.


4 Responses to “Rose of Sharon”

  1. Aunt Mary Says:

    My neighbor has always had Rose of Sharon plants which are not probably eight feet tall. As they grow along my fence, I have never needed to get any because they are monster now compared to what they used to be. He gave me a few cuttings many years ago and I planted them on my side of the fence but they never really took off but I am sure that is because they are in the shade of his. This year the “trees” as I call them were loaded to the max with buds. I have never seen it so full……but maybe only five blossoms. I would guess there are 250 buds. I think they need to really thin it all out big time. I have planted “minature” hibiscus in my front yard and they are really doing well. Lots of sun. They are only going to be about four or five feet tall. Love the blog, Margaret.

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  3. Robert Shumake Says:

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    Robert Shumake Paul Nicoletti

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