Rose of Sharon White Flowers with Red Center
Rose of Sharon White Flowers with Red Center

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon takes a place among the classic garden plants, thanks to its abundant and long-lasting flowering, with large flowers in a variety of colors.

The following article gives information about its specific features as well as brief instructions for its cultivation. A special tribute to the plant pests and diseases is coming soon.

Until then, there is no particular cause for concern. Hibiscus syriacus does not kneel in front of pests and diseases.

 So honors the name of its species.

CONTENTS

Rose of Sharon the Three-lobed Leaves - © Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon the Three-lobed Leaves - © Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon Origin

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon Flowering Shrub - © John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon Flowering Shrub - © John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) - Brief Description

Scientific name

Hibiscus syriacus L.

Common name

Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus Syria, Shrub Althea

 

General characteristics

Type of foliage: Deciduous

Form: Shrub, with many upright branches, of medium density and oval symmetrical canopy

Texture: Medium

Height: 1.5-4 m (5-13 ft)

Diameter: 1-1.5 m (3-5 ft)

Growth rate: Moderate

Flowering period (Northern hemisphere): July – September

Fruiting period: Summer – Autumn

 

Shape and colours

Bark: Greyish-Brown

Leaves shape: Simple, obovate, three-lobed

Foliage colour: Green

Foliage colour in autumn: Yellow-ochre

Flowers shape: Trumpet-like, actinomorphic, cyme inflorescence  

Flowers colour: White, violet, red

Fruit: Dehiscent capsules, brown

 

Plantation

Soil type: Draining, sand, loam, clay, acidic to alkaline

Exposure: Sun, Half-shade

Soil pH: 6.5-7.5

Watering: Medium

Hardiness: −26 °C (-15 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 5b)

 

Uses

Specimen, hedges, mixed hedges, mass planting, urban planting, pots and containers

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon Fruit Formation - © JChris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon Fruit Formation - © JChris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) - General Notes

  1. The name of the genus ‘Hibiscus’ is a Latin word derived from the ancient Greek ‘Ιβίσκος‘. With this name described the plant Althea (Μολόχα) the important Greek physician and botanist of the 1st century AD. century Dioscorides, who originated in Tarsus of Cilicia – a city of Turkey that is very close to today’s martyr Syria. Specific epithet ‘syriacus’ is also the Latin version of the ancient Greek word ‘Συριακός’ – Syrian origin – and of course it did not refer to the origin of Dioscorides but to the belief of the origin of Hibiscus (Althea).
  2. Despite the legend, Rose of Sharon has nothing to do with the Arab world – beyond its love for the plant – since his native place is China, from where it naturally range up to India. Today it is cultivated in many areas of tropical and subtropical zones, thanks to its attractive and prolonged flowering.
  3. Flowering starts in July and lasts until September. The flowers are large, trumpet-like shaped, lasting from one to three days and are of many colors. Speaking of colors, it would not be a great exaggeration if it were said to have a range of hues, including those of varieties, as about the rainbow. Their remarkable and distinctive feature is that they open with the daylight and the night are closed.
  4. Flowers are hermaphrodite and are on the same plant (Monoecious). After pollination they form a dehiscence capsule fruit. Seeds produced by it, unfortunately, often have the annoying habit of germination and in large numbers.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon Formed in Tree - © T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon Formed in Tree - © T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) - Additional Informations 1
  1. Rose of Sharon is a medium-sized perennial, deciduous, woody shrub that can be appropriately pruned into a small tree. It develops many stems from the base, which are elevated giving it upright appearance – an element that gives το Hibiscus syriacus a special plastic interest, especially during the winter, although it often lapses to throw his leaves.
  2. The plant is highly adaptable and durable. It can be developed in a variety of soil and climate environments, both in the countryside and in urban areas. In relation to temperature, adults tolerant minimal temperatures up to -26 °C (-15 °F), but young plants are less hardy. In terms of soil, it can be planted from slightly sandy to clayey, but it thrives in medium texture and moderate fertility soils, with good drainage. Soil pH does not seem to have a particular effect on the plant, since it growing equally well in both acidic and alkaline-reactive soils.
  3. With regard to the exposure, it is preferable to have sunny places. However, in the warmer areas of the temperate zone as well as in the subtropical areas, the planting in half-shade positions does not adversely affect the flowering of the plant.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon The Trunk and the Bark - © T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon The Trunk and the Bark - © T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) - Additional Informations 2
  1. The Rose of Sharon presents a significant variation in irrigation needs, depending on age. Young plants need regular and systematic watering. On the contrary, adults need less watering, and they are extremely resistant to drought. However, it should not be underestimated that, for the satisfactory mobility of nutrients in the soil, and therefore adequate nutrition of plants, the presence of water is essential. Therefore, the less but systematic irrigation and adult Rose of Sharon plants is considered necessary. Moreover, since the  drought stress seems to be one of the most important factors for the sometimes abnormal to minimal flowering.
  2. Rose of Sharon is extremely resistant to heat and frost, and is sensitive to the increased presence of salts in soil and water as well as in saltsprays.
  3. In general, Hibiscus syriacus does not face particularly serious problems from pests and diseases. However, it is sometimes attacked by pests such as aphids and spider mites, while botrytis, leaf spot and rusts are reported from diseases. However, the application of the appropriate formulations can be satisfactorily addressed.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon Native Seedlings - © Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org
Rose of Sharon Native Seedlings - © Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) - Use and Varieties

  1. The Rose of Sharon is mainly used as an ornamental plant. Thanks to its excellent resilience to the burgeoning atmosphere of the cities, formed into a small tree, it can create blooming tree lines planted on pavements and road or avenue traffic islands. As a shrub is planted in parks, gardens and flower beds, as well as in pots and containers.
  2. Numerous plant varieties have been created, offering a wide range of sizes and single or double flower colors.

Some of the most important non-invasive ones are:

Other interesting varieties of Hibiscus are:

  • Hibiscus syriacus ‘Blue Bird’
  • Hibiscus syriacus ‘Red Heart’
  • Hibiscus syriacus ‘White Chiffon’
  • Hibiscus syriacus ‘Woodbridge’
  • Hibiscus syriacus ‘Meehanii’
  1. But perhaps the most important of all is this: Homo syriacus

From Algeria: Imarhan – Assossamagh

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