How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Rose of Sharon

Are you thinking of planting Rose of Sharon in your gardens? This flowering shrub comes in a variety of beautiful colors that will suit almost any garden style. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago digs into everything you need to know to plant, grow, and care for a beautiful Rose of Sharon shrub.

A trio of rose of Sharon blooms unfurls their delicate lavender and pearl pink petals in soft focus, their centers ablaze with vibrant crimson. The velvety textures stand out against the muted backdrop of blurred greenery, creating a striking contrast.


The Hibiscus genus is made up of a few hundred different species that range from tropical to hardy. Rose of Sharon falls into that hardy group of the beautiful hibiscus genus. 

This plant got its name from a fertile area on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, Sharon. These flowers are beautiful, and the plants are dependable. When grown in a group, the plants are quite breathtaking. 

This large flowering shrub is easy to grow and is perfect for a busy gardener. Let’s take a look at everything you will need to know to grow a happy Rose of Sharon in your garden!


A close-up of a Rose of Sharon flower, with delicate pale pink petals radiating outwards from a deep red center. The stamen, tipped with bright yellow pollen, protrudes from the center, adding a pop of color. The flower stands out against a busy city street, where cars, buses, and people can be seen moving amidst tall buildings.
Plant Type Flowering Shrub
Family Malvaceae
Genus   Hibiscus
Species syriacus
Native Area East Asia
Exposure Full sun to partial shade 
Height 8-12 feet tall 
Watering Requirements Average
Pests and Diseases Japanese beetles, Fungal diseases
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Moist and well-drained, tolerant of different types
Hardiness Zone 5-9

What Is It?

Rose of Sharon is a beautiful flowering shrub that is closely related to those tropical hibiscus plants everyone comes back from vacation in love with. While these shrubs aren’t quite as eye-catching, they can be an excellent replacement for those of us who live in chillier climates


A close-up of a single hibiscus flower in full bloom. The delicate petals are a soft pink color, fading to a deeper shade towards the vibrant red center, with a cluster of bright yellow stamens protruding from it. The flower is set against a backdrop of lush green leaves, which creates a sense of contrast and depth.
This deciduous shrub blooms in summer with trumpet-shaped flowers.

The Rose of Sharon is a deciduous flowering shrub. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and are made up of five petals unless the flowers are double, and then they have more petals.

It blooms from mid to late summer and can last into autumn.  The flowers are typically in shades of white, pink, purple, blue, or red. These shrubs can grow anywhere from 3-12 feet or more in height. They make excellent privacy screens throughout the summer months. 

These shrubs have the ability to self-seed and are considered invasive in some areas. Do your homework to make sure these plants are safe to grow in your area. There are a few varieties that do not produce viable seeds and may be better options for you. 

Native Area

A plant bursts with vibrant pink flowers, their ruffled petals framing red centers. Lush green leaves fill the frame, some new and unfurling, while others curl at the edges, hinting at the changing seasons. Dried brown leaves dot the vibrant foliage, adding a touch of rustic charm to the scene.
Originating in China, the Rose of Sharon was used for beauty and healing for centuries.

Rose of Sharon is native to eastern China, where it has been grown both ornamentally and medicinally for centuries. In the 8th century, we find our first recording of this plant being used as an ornamental in Japan. Do not grow it in the state of Virginia, where it is listed as an invasive species.


These shrubs can be planted both in the spring and fall. There is some evidence that shows that planting in the spring will be better overall for these flowering shrubs. Giving the plant the entire growing season to take up water and nutrients will affect its long-term health and ensure that it will make it through its first winter with rigor. 


A young hibiscus plant, its delicate stem adorned with a few glossy leaves, has been carefully transplanted from one pot to the bed of rich, carbonized ground. More pots wait patiently, ready to join their companion in this springtime transformation.
Create a spacious hole, position the shrub, refill with soil, water thoroughly, and mulch if desired.

There are no special tricks to planting. Just follow along with these easy steps!

  1. Dig a hole in your garden that is a little bit wider and deeper than the root ball of your shrub.
  2. Set your shrub in the hole, positioning the stem at the soil surface. 
  3. Backfill your hole with garden soil and water well.
  4. Add mulch around your new planting if you wish. This can help to retain water while also keeping weeds away. 

Growing from Seed

A cluster of seed pods in various stages of ripeness. The pods range in color from pale green to brown, with some split open to reveal dark brown seeds inside. The velvety texture of the pods is softened by the shallow depth of field.
Collect light brown seed pods, store them in darkness, and plant them 12 weeks before the last frost.

If you already have a rose of Sharon growing in your garden, growing more plants from seed is a breeze

  1. The first option is to allow the seed pods to drop and self-sow in your garden. You will not need to do anything aside from resisting the urge to deadhead.
  2. If you would rather have a bit more control and less mess in your garden, you can collect the seed pods right off of your shrub. Wait until the pods have begun to turn light brown, and snip them with gardening shears.
  3. Store these seed pods in a cool and dark place until the pods open naturally and release the seeds. Storing the pods in a brown paper bag can be an easy way to keep them in the dark while also making it easy to keep the seeds in one place. 
  4. Plant your seeds about 12 weeks before your last projected frost date. If you don’t know when this is, simply google it with your zip code. 
  5. Plant your seeds ½ inch deep into a container filled with your choice of growing medium. 
  6. Lightly water, only enough to keep the soil moist.
  7. Place your container in an area that is nice and bright and stays warm at about 75 degrees F(24 degrees C). 
  8. Continue to lightly water (misting can be helpful here). You should notice germination in about 2-4 weeks!

How to Grow

These are low-maintenance shrubs, but that should not be mistaken for no-maintenance. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to keep your flowering shrubs growing happily for years to come. 


A group of vibrant pink flowers with ruffled petals and dark red centers stand out against a clear blue sky. Some of the flower buds are still closed, hinting at the promise of even more blooms to come. The lush green leaves provide a contrasting backdrop to the delicate flowers.
Full sun sites are preferable.

Rose of Sharon grows best in full sun, receiving anywhere from six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. You may notice, however, that it will also do pretty well in partial shade.

If you decide to plant one of these flowering shrubs in partial shade, be prepared for there to be fewer blossoms and for the branches to be a bit leggier than those shrubs that are growing in full sun. 


Sunlight kisses a jewel-toned bloom, its velvety petals awash in a sunrise dance of violet-kissed pink. Crystal dewdrops tremble on the edges, like liquid diamonds reflecting the first blush of dawn. Delicate veins trace their way through the silken surface, painting intricate patterns in deeper shades of rose.
Maintain consistently moist soil until the plant is established.

Provide consistently moist soil, especially before it is established in your yard. Older plants are tolerant of shorter periods of drought. 

These shrubs are tolerant of different types of soil, just as long as the soil drains well. Depending on the type of soil your plant is growing in, your watering needs will change.

For example, sandier soils will need to be watered more regularly, while clay soils may need to be watered less frequently. The goal is to keep your soil moist but not waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry a bit between watering sessions


A close-up of a pile of dirt and rocks. The dirt is a mix of clay and sand, and it is both crumbly and slightly sticky. The surface of the dirt is uneven, and there are small cracks in it. There are also a few small rocks scattered on the surface of the dirt.
These shrubs excel in various soil types, preferring slightly acidic but managing in alkaline conditions.

These flowering shrubs do best in rich but well-draining soils. They are tolerant of a variety of different soil types from sand to clay. Slightly acidic soils will provide the best results. However, slightly alkaline soil will suit these shrubs just fine. 

Temperature and Humidity

A cascade of vibrant pale pink blossoms unfolds against a backdrop of rich green foliage. Delicate petals with ruffled edges and red centers burst from their buds, creating a stunning show of summery beauty.
Hardy in USDA zones 5-8, Rose of Sharon adapts to diverse climates, tolerating heat, humidity, and cold.

These flowering shrubs are hardy in USDA zones 5-8. That is a wide range, with a lot of different micro-climates. The truth is, it does well in most conditions.

Rose of Sharon are fans of heat and are tolerant of some humidity. If you live in an area that experiences high humidity regularly, provide ample space between plants to increase airflow and decrease the risk of fungal diseases taking hold

Freezing temperatures are not a problem either. These shrubs are tolerant of chilly temperatures to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 degrees Celsius). You do not need to do much to prepare your plant for the winter. Adding mulch around the crown of the plant can be helpful.


This close-up captures a bunch of  flowers in different stages of bloom. The sunlight shines through the delicate petals, revealing their soft pink color. Some of the flowers are partially open, while others are still tightly closed, creating a sense of anticipation.
Fertilization is optional; assess soil needs through a soil test.

It is not necessary to fertilize unless you have poor soil. You can determine what your soil is lacking by completing a soil test. You can find these kits at garden centers or through your local university extension office. 

If you do choose to fertilize, it is best done in the late winter or early spring. A standard tree and shrub fertilizer will work just fine. Follow the package instructions while taking into account the size of your shrub. Note that your plant can’t uptake fertilizer in nutrient-poor soil, so amend lightly upon planting.


A cluster of tightly furled buds and partially opened hibiscus flowers. The flowers are large, with five petals that unfurl outwards, revealing a pale pink interior. The leaves are lush and deeply veined, providing a backdrop of cool green for the vibrant flowers.
As it matures, the shrub naturally forms a pleasing vase-like shape.

While your shrub grows, you will notice that it naturally grows into a very nice vase-like shape. Even the most attractive growers can use a haircut from time to time, and this is true for Rose of Sharon. 

These shrubs produce their flower buds on new wood, so all pruning should be done in the late winter or early spring to ensure that your plant will bloom beautifully. When you trim your shrubs, keep in mind that each snip will encourage new branch growth, which also leads to more blossoms. 


A vibrant pink hibiscus flower in full bloom. The delicate petals are backlit by soft sunlight, casting a subtle shadow on the velvety surface. The thick stem and serrated leaves provide a sense of contrast and depth, while the blurred background adds a dreamy quality to the scene.
This plant self-seeds, producing baby plants from fallen seed pods.

Rose of Sharon is known to self-seed regularly. As these seed pods drop to the ground, they may produce new baby plants. This can be a good thing if you would like to transplant the seedlings to another area of your garden. However, if you do not want to deal with this, you need to add deadheading to your care schedule. 

It blooms from mid to late summer. As the flowers fade, seed pods will appear in their place. Once you see the seed pods, grab your pruners and snip them off. This can be tricky depending on how large your shrub is. If the seed pods fall to the ground before you can get to them, just do your best to gather them by hand or by using a gentle garden rake. 


The easiest and most successful method of propagating is through cuttings. Take cuttings in midsummer for the greatest rate of success!


This is a close-up of two delicate pink hibiscus flowers. Their velvety petals unfurl outwards, revealing a vibrant red center that fades into the veins of the petals. The center is filled with a cluster of prominent stamens, tipped with pollen-laden anthers.
Propagate by snipping a 4-6 inch stem, planting it, and waiting for roots to grow.
  • Look for a stem on your shrub that is about 4-6 inches in length. This stem should be about the thickness of a pencil.
  • Snip this stem off and gently remove its leaves from the bottom half. 
  • Rooting hormone can be helpful with woody stems, but it is still optional. If you would like to use rooting hormone, this is the point where you should dip your cuttings. 
  • Stick your cutting into a pot with a well-draining planting medium, such as sand. You can bury up to half of the stem’s length in the soil.
  • Water to moisten the growing medium, and cover the cutting with a plastic bag. Using a plant stake can help minimize contact between the leaves and the plastic bag. Leave this bag on for about one week. 
  • Only water as needed. Allow the growing medium to dry out. You do not want to overwater.
  • Your cutting should produce roots in about one to two months. 
  • Signs of root growth are new leaves and resistance when you gently tug on the cutting.
  • Be patient. Do not rush to plant your new rose of Sharon in your garden. Allow it to produce a few inches of stem growth. 

You will find that most varieties come in shades of white, pink, purple, or blue. There are many variations, including bicolored and double flowers. Here are a few of the most popular varieties of this flowering beauty!

Blue Chiffon

A close-up captures the delicate beauty of a Blue Chiffon hibiscus flower. The velvety petals, in varying shades of blue and lavender, unfurl gracefully around the central stamen. Smaller, star-shaped petals emerge from the base of the larger petals, adding a touch of whimsy to the bloom.
This cultivar boasts double blue flowers with red star-like markings, reaching 8-12 feet and blooming mid-summer to fall.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus syriacus ‘Notwoodt3’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 8-12 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

‘Blue Chiffon’ produces double flowers in a lovely and calming shade of blue. Near the base of the petals, you will notice red star-like markings.  This shrub will grow from 8-12 feet tall with a spread of 4-6 feet. This variety will bloom from mid-summer into fall. 


A macro photo showcases the intricate details of a ‘Minerva’ Rose of Sharon. Its velvety petals, in a mesmerizing blend of purple and pink, stand out against a backdrop of lush greenery. Blurred stone paths add depth and dimension to the image, while the dark contrast enhances the flower's delicate form.
With ruffled lavender blooms, a red eye, and a compact size, ‘Minerva’ is ideal for seedling-free gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus syriacus ‘Minerva’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 5-8 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

‘Minerva’ produces ruffled flowers in a perfect shade of lavender with a deep red eye and a crisp white stamen. The foliage is deep green and very dense.

This variety is a bit more compact, maxing out at eight feet tall and six feet wide. ‘Minerva’ does not produce many viable seed pods and is a great choice if you are worried about seedlings popping up in your gardens

Purple Pillar 

A close-up of a purple hibiscus flower, with delicate water droplets clinging to its velvety petals. The ruffled edges of the petals add to the flower's delicate beauty, while the dark background creates a sense of drama and suspense.
This variety is a tall, space-saving variety with semi-double purple blooms and a red eye.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus syriacus ‘Gandini Santiago’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 10-16 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

If you are tight on space but have room for height, ‘Purple Pillar’ is a great variety for your gardens. The blossoms are semi-double and bloom in a lovely shade of purple that is accented by a red eye. ‘Purple pillar’ will grow up to 16 feet high while only taking up 2-3 feet of width. 

Red Heart

Close-up of pale pink hibiscus blossoms basking in the sun. Soft ruffles cascade from their edges, blushing deeper towards the tips like shy smiles. At the heart of each, a deeper pink whirlpool twirls, guarding a fiery red stamen that stands proud.
Featuring deep red hearts and white blossoms, ‘Red Heart’ stands at ten feet, ideal for impactful group plantings.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus syriacus ‘Red Heart’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 6-10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

‘Red Heart’ produces crisp white blossoms with deep red hearts. This color combination really pops against the deep green foliage. Growing up to ten feet tall, this is an average-sized example of this shrub. Plant this variety in small groupings to get the maximum impact from these beautiful flowers. 

Common Problems

For the most part, these are tough plants. They do not run into any uncommon pests and can generally be treated along with the rest of your garden when you are treating preventively. 


It is not uncommon to see aphids or Japanese beetles hanging out on your rose of Sharon. These insects are not picky when it comes to where they live or dine and often set up shop in a garden simply by hopping, crawling, or flying from plant to plant. 


This close-up shows a cluster of green aphids feeding on a vibrant green leaf. The aphids are of various sizes, and some are partially obscured by the leaf. The leaf has several visible holes and some brown spots caused by the aphids feeding.
Control aphids by spraying water or using neem insecticidal soaps for garden pest control.

These creepy crawly insects are so common in gardens that you are likely familiar with them. These insects show up in the masses and reproduce in even larger masses. Aphids feed by sucking the juices out of the plants, leaving them at least with stippling and at worse with loss of stems or flowers. 

The first and easiest measure of treatment is spraying down your plants. Oftentimes, the force of the hose water will send these insects flying. If this is not successful, insecticidal soaps or oils such as neem are very helpful. 

Japanese Beetles

A close-up symphony of textures and colors unfolds as a Japanese beetle, its metallic armor shimmering, savors the nectar of a rose of Sharon. The flower's petals, like delicate brushstrokes, cradle the beetle, their intricate veins whispering secrets in the breeze.
These beetles are managed by knocking them into soapy water and using neem oil for prevention.

Another common garden insect is the Japanese beetle. These beetles are quite pretty with their copper wings and green bodies. They can do some serious damage to the leaves of your plants, unfortunately. Beetles are flying insects, which can make it tricky to get rid of them. Oftentimes, treating nearby lawns for grubs is a great way to prevent the populations from getting out of hand

Fill a bucket with soapy water and knock the beetles off by hand into the bucket. This will take care of the current population. To prevent more beetles from returning, spray neem oil regularly on the entire surface of the plant. 


These shrubs are disease-free unless they are growing in an environment that is too moist. Excess moisture can lead to fungal diseases no matter what plant you are dealing with, and this holds true with Rose of Sharon as well. 

Fungal Diseases

Close-up of a rose of Sharon plant in distress. Delicate leaves, once vibrant green, now splotched with sickly yellow and edged in crisp brown, droop under the harsh sun. The fungal disease's grip is evident, stealing the plant's vitality and leaving behind a canvas of decay.
Copper fungicide is a comprehensive solution for these fungal diseases; follow safety instructions.

Common fungal diseases are blight, leaf spot, and rust. Each of these presents itself with consistent markings on the foliage of the plant. 

The best way to manage fungal diseases such as leaf spots or rust is by keeping your eye on the moisture levels in your garden. This can involve how frequently you water or how closely together your plants are growing. 

Copper fungicide is a great blanket fungicide that will take care of most of your run-of-the-mill fungal diseases. Follow the application instructions to make sure you are using the fungicide safely. Many times fungal diseases develop resistance to copper fungicide so check with your extension office to determine if you’re dealing with one of those.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you plant a Rose of Sharon with?

When selecting complementary plants for your Rrose of Sharon it is important to consider the growing conditions. If your plant is in full sun, you will want plants that love the sun. Similarly, if it is growing in partial shade, you should choose plants that like some shade.

Common companions are:

  • Hydrangea
  • Coneflower
  • Hosta
  • Salvia
  • Ornamental grass

Is Rose of Sharon safe for pets?

It can cause stomach issues to pets when its flowers are ingested in high amounts. To be safe, keep your pets away from these plants or consider an alternative plant, such as a shrub rose.

How do you overwinter Rose of Sharon?

Overwintering does not require any extra work from you. These plants are hardy. If they are growing in a windy area, loosely wrapping them with burlap can be helpful to protect any buds. Adding a layer of mulch to the base of the plant can also help protect roots.

Final Thoughts

If you have not grown a Rose of Sharon before, put it on your must-do list. These plants are large and stunning. They act well as statement plants or hedges. The flowers are beautiful and unique, which still gives us memories of warmer times. If all of this isn’t enough, they are incredibly low maintenance. Find a sunny space in your garden and make room for your new Rose of Sharon!

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