Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon

Excellent Shrub for the Late-Summer Landscape

Blue Chiffon rose of sharon (image) has flowers in a powder-blue color. Its genus: Hibiscus.
Blue Chiffon rose of sharon offers powder-blue flowers. David Beaulieu

Plant Taxonomy of Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon:

Plant taxonomy classifies this blue rose of sharon as Hibiscus syriacus 'Notwoodthree' Blue Chiffon™. You may recognize the genus name as being the same as that for the hardy hibiscus flowers that are nicknamed "dinner-plate hibiscus." Blue Chiffon is the brand name, while the rarely used 'Notwoodthree' is the cultivar name. Another common name for this species is "shrub althea."

Plant Type:

Hibiscus syriacus Blue Chiffon is a deciduous flowering shrub.

Characteristics:

Blue hibiscus flowers adorn Hibiscus syriacus Blue Chiffon from mid-summer into fall. Flower color is a violet-blue. As with other hibiscus flowers, a striking stamen protrudes from the center; and the centers are stained a burgundy color, which "bleeds" outwards, terminating in rivulets. But Blue Chiffon offers a piece de resistance, as the white stamen is surrounded by a cluster of smaller, inner petals (also violet-blue in color) that gives these hibiscus flowers a frilly or "double" appearance. The shrubs stand 8-12 feet tall, with a spread of 6-10 feet, at maturity.

Growing Tips:

Hibiscus syriacus Blue Chiffon grows best in planting zones 5-8. Grow this plant in full sun to partial sun and in well-drained, loamy soil enriched with humus.

Uses in Landscaping for Hibiscus Syriacus 'Blue Chiffon':

With its blue hibiscus flowers, this bush is attractive enough to be used as a specimen.

Plant several of the shrubs together along a border to form an ornamental hedge; but as a deciduous shrub, it makes an effective privacy hedge only in summer.

Care for Rose of Sharon:

Mulch the shrubs for weed control and to maintain moisture in the soil. Fortunately, the bushes are fairly tolerant of dry conditions once established.

In fact, yellowing leaves on althea can be an indication of too much, rather than too little water. For help with buds dropping off rather than blooming, see my article on why flower buds don't open. See below for information on how to prune rose of sharon.

Aphids and Japanese beetles commonly attack the plants. Spray with neem oil for the former; the latter are best removed manually. 

Some diseases to which these plants are susceptible can be dealt with by removing infected parts before spreading can occur (if you spot the problem soon enough). These include leaf spot and canker. 

How to Prune Rose of Sharon:

Since it is one of the shrubs that bloom on new wood, Hibiscus syriacus is normally pruned in late winter or early spring -- if, indeed, pruning is deemed necessary, at all. Some may choose to prune it for shaping purposes or, on old shrubs, for rejuvenation.

Wildlife Attracted by Blue Chiffon:

Hibiscus syriacus Blue Chiffon is a plant that attracts butterflies and is useful in hummingbird gardens.

Fortunately, rose of sharon shrubs is relatively deer-resistant.

Outstanding Characteristics:

Numerous and attractive flowers are a hallmark of the species, as is a late blooming period. Because they are late summer flowering shrubs, these plants are able to offer color in late summer and early autumn, when many shrubs have long ceased blooming. But Blue Chiffon offers an improvement on the species: its double hibiscus flowers. While the flowers are sometimes only bluish, at best, when fully open (the closed blooms appear bluer than the open ones), the fact that they are double is a major selling point.


Return to Index for Rose of Sharon