The ‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’) is one of the most beautiful cultivars of the species, with excellent pink flowers and an upright compact appearance.
Whether planted in the garden or in a pot, it will not go unnoticed, because the advantages of the plant also include the large size of its flowers and its abundant and long-lasting flowering.
As long-term, of course, was the improvement work for the creation of this new Hibiscus syriacus cultivar, which began in 1971 in the U.S. National Arboretum, under the supervision of – who else? – of Dr. Donald Roy Egolf, and completed in 1988, with the entry of plants into the market.
The striking pink flowers and the leathery, bright green leaves of the plant were the main goals of the improvement program.
The basic characteristics of ‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon, together with some concise identifications, are given immediately below.
Genus: Hibiscus L.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’
Common Names: ‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon, Rose of Sharon ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Aphrodite’ Althea,
Plant Breeder: Dr. Don Egolf – U.S. National Arboretum (1988)
The ‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon is a triploid cultivar, which emerged from a selection of seedlings, after successive crosses of different ploidy cultivars [(Hibiscus syriacus ‘Suminokura’ / diploid / x H. syriacus William R. Smith’) x tetraploid seedlings H. syriacus ‘William R. Smith].
It is a robust shrub with dense vegetation, leathery leaves, large pink flowers, and lush, long-lasting flowering.
The height of the plant varies between 2.8 and 3 m (9 -10 ft) and its diameter is between 2.3 and 2.5 m (7-8 ft). If allowed to grow without pruning, it will gain these dimensions at the age of 13 to 15 years.
One of the most interesting features of the plant is that during the flowering period it attracts insects and butterflies, while the shrub itself can become a pole of attraction for various species of birds.
Its longevity is also remarkable, since the Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon lives about 30 to 40 years.
‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon
This cultivar of Rose of Sharon is suitable for:
‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon is a perennial, woody shrub with foliage that is lost in the winter. It has a moderate to fast growth rate and is of medium size, with dimensions smaller than those of the typical species.
Its canopy is naturally oval and symmetrical, whith regular outline, while it is medium textured and upright form.
‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon
The plant at an early age grows at a height of 1-4 cm (0.4-1.6 in) from the ground, many upright and moderately branched shoots. Their color initially is greyish but maturing becomes gray-brown.
Gray-brown is also the color of the bark, which is quite thin and its texture is slightly rough.
The leaves are relatively large, smooth and simple. They are ellipsoid – rhomboid shaped, with irregular dentate edges, are deeply 3-lobed and their length is between 2.5 and 9 cm (1-3.5 in) while their width is between 1.5 and 5 cm (0.6-2 in).
Their color at the beginning of the blooming period is green, to turn quickly into dark green. Late autumn the foliage becomes pale yellow and remains in the plant until the first strong cold.
‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon has single flowers of pure pink color with aprominent dark red eye spot, the length of which is 9-10 cm (3.5-4 in) and their diameter 7-7,5 cm (2.8-3 in).
Flowering begins (in the Northern Hemisphere) in June and ends in September, although it often continues until the end of Autumn.
When fructify, it produces few or not at all seed, therefore it is characterized as a non-invasive variety.
‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon
The ‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon cultivar is a bit more resistant to cold than the typical species. It tolerates low temperatures up to -29 °C (-20.2 °F) while the optimum temperature range for its growth varies between 18 and 32 °C (64-90 °F).
In terms of soil, it grows in a variety of types but thrives in sandy loam soils, with good drainage and pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.
As for the exposure, it can be planted both in sunny and half-shaded places, but if there is a possibility it is better to avoid the latter, because they have reduced flowering and less compact appearance of the plant.
Without belonging to the most demanding plants, and Hibiscus cultivars and varieties need elementary care, as expressed by fertilizing, watering, pruning and plant protection.
The fertilization of the ‘Aphrodite’ cultivar of Hibiscus syriacus is carried out by the administration of complete fertilizer in early spring, for established plants.
For this purpose, conventional, organic or slow-release fertilizers (for the most efficient nutrition of H. syriacus) are used, the content of which in the basic elements, i.e. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (N – P – K) is in the ratio 1: 0,5: 1.
The total amount of fertilizer is approximately 5 to 15 gr per meter of the plant – the large dose is for robust, vigorous plants, with dense vegetation-and the application can be done once (as in slow-released fertilizers), or in two to three equal doses, with the first one in mid-March.
The administration by spraying to the foliar preparation containing Iron and Magnesium together with Trace Elements, at the first dose, is considered beneficial for the plant.
As for watering, young plants should be irrigated when the surface soil and at a depth of 1 to 2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) has dried up.
But after they have estabished, watering can take place in less time periods, but it is generally recommended to be regular and not irregular.
And for the Aphrodite cultivar, it generally applies to all Rose of Sharon irrigation: the plants have a large resistance to drought but frequent drought stresses are associated with their reduced or non-existent sometimes blooming.
The pruning the variety ‘Aphrodite’ cultivar is not absolutely necessary, with the exception of the first 1 to 2 years of planting. Then the pruning of the plant can be done by removing about 1/3 of the length of the branches as it contributes to a more compact appearance of the shrub.
After that, a moderate pruning may be carried out every 3 to 5 years, if the arched form which the branches tend to take is not desirable.
Suitable season is late autumn and early spring, after 15 to 20 days have passed since the last frost.
From diseases, it usually does not encounter serious problems, but it can be affected by botrytis or cercospora (leaf Spot), while aphids, Japanese beetles and spider mites are reported from insects.
By using of the appropriate formulations, all these parasites can be treated satisfactorily.
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’ is exploited in a variety of ways:
The References of the foam article, entitled ‘Aphrodite’ Rose of Sharon – Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’, are presented by the veterans Aphrodite’s Child with their classic song Rain And Tears.
With Pomp and Circumstance
From Aphrodite’s Child ‘Rain And Tears’, to all Aphrodites (Venus) – borning or not from the foam in the waters of Paphos.
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