12 Rose of Sharon Varieties for Your Landscape

Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus)
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The rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is actually classified by botanists as a shrub, but the plants can be trained by pruning to form one main trunk, thereby making them look more like trees. This beautiful plant can be especially useful to gardeners seeking continual color in the landscape, as they bloom late in the growing season when most other shrubs are long past their floral heyday. Plant any of the different rose of Sharon varieties to complement shrubs that bloom in spring and early summer.

The main drawback of the plant is that rose of Sharon seedlings can be a nuisance, but the tree more than makes up for this with a great number of showy blossoms. Its needs are fairly simple: Plant it in full sun in rich, well-drained soil that's acidic to slightly alkaline, and keep it evenly moist.

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7 Helpful Tips on Growing the Rose of Sharon

Most rose of Sharon types grow to be about 8–10 feet high, with a spread of 4–5 feet. They make a lovely blooming hedge, but, because they're deciduous, they don't screen out views during the winter. Another use for the rose of Sharon is as a specimen plant for late summer. Flowers are often white, pink, bluish, or bicolored. Through grafting, some types bear multiple colors on the same plant.

Here are 12 popular rose of Sharon varieties for your landscape.

Warning

Most varieties of hibiscus are not toxic, but the rose of Sharon is an exception, as the flowers are mildly toxic to dogs and cats. Eating too many of its blooms may cause your pet to experience nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

  • 01 of 12

    Blue Chiffon (Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Chiffon')

    'Blue Chiffon' rose of Sharon flower with pale lavender petals
    David Beaulieu

    Blue flowers are highly prized for their unusual color. Plant developers have put a great deal of energy into expanding the horticultural blue palette, yet true blues remain somewhat rare. The 'Blue Chiffon' rose of Sharon is an example of a flower that pushes the violet hue in the direction of blue. It combines well both with orange flowers, such as torch lilies (Kniphofia spp.), and so-called "black" plants (those with dark foliage), such as 'Chocolate Drop' stonecrop (Sedum 'Chocolate Drop'). This cultivar blooms from mid-summer into autumn. What makes it especially beautiful are inner petals that surround the stamen, providing a frilly look.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 8–12 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 02 of 12

    'Sugar Tip' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Sugar Tip')

    'Sugar Tip' rose of Sharon with pink blooms
    David Beaulieu

    Like 'Blue Chiffon,' 'Sugar Tip' bears double flowers—in this case, pink ones. But it's not just about flowers with this rose of Sharon cultivar. The foliage is also attractive: Variegated leaves with creamy-white edging inspired the name. 'Pink Chiffon' has similar flowers but lacks the bicolored leaves. Most rose of Sharon varieties are valued mainly for their flowers, but don't underestimate the importance of attractive foliage. Such foliage plants, like this one, offer continuing appeal even after many garden blooms have wilted.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6–8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 03 of 12

    'Red Heart' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart')

    'Red Heart' rose of Sharon with white petals and red center

    matricul / Getty Images

    Many rose of Sharon varieties with white flowers are technically bicolored: Most of the petal is white, but the part near the center that forms the "throat" is a darker color. For example, in the case of 'Red Heart,' the throat is red. Those who consider white too plain a color will prefer such bicolored varieties. 'Red Heart' blooms from July into fall, with each blossom lasting just a single day. Like all rose of Sharon shrubs, deer usually avoid it.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 8–10 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 04 of 12

    'White Chiffon' (Hibiscus syriacus 'White Chiffon')

    'White Chiffon' rose of Sharon being visited by a hummingbird

    Donna Braswell / Getty Images 

    Some gardeners find white flowers too plain, while others value their clean look. 'White Chiffon' is a solid option if you seek a summer-flowering bush with white blossoms. Shrubs with solid-white flowers are ideal for gardeners designing moon gardens and those who wish to be purists in their plant selection. Unlike most rose of Sharon varieties, there's no contrasting throat to these flowers; the petals are totally white.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6– 8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    'Aphrodite' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Aphrodite')

    'Aphrodite' has delicate pink flowers, measuring 4 inches across, with a deep red throat. It's a very bushy, full plant, nearly as wide as it is tall, though it can be pruned to keep it a manageable size. It's less tolerant of shade than other rose of Sharon cultivars. In some regions of the United States, especially the Midwest, some rose of Sharon varieties can be invasive if allowed to escape garden cultivation. If you live in such a region, make sure to buy a sterile variety, such as 'Aphrodite,' which won't spread through seeds.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 8–10 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full
  • 06 of 12

    'Blue Satin' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Satin')

    Macro of Flawless Blue Rose of Sharon with red eye
    Kbytes / Getty Images

    'Blue Satin' is one of the most striking of all rose of Sharon cultivars, featuring intense blue-violet flowers with deep magenta throats and yellow stamens. This plant is fairly tolerant of salty soils and drought, though, like all hibiscus, it prefers regular, even moisture. This is a relatively easy variety to propagate through stem cuttings. It's sometimes sold under the trade name Azurri Blue Satin.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 8–10 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 07 of 12

    'Blueberry Smoothie' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Blueberry Smoothie')

    This cultivar has fully double flowers, 4 inches across, which approach a genuine blue in color, as well as an upright, spreading growth habit with multiple stems. It requires quite a bit of pruning to train it as a small tree. 'Blueberry Smoothie' has some of the most spectacular flowers of all rose of Sharon varieties, so make sure to plant it where it can be appreciated. You'll be graced with a striking floral display from midsummer all the way into fall.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6–8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 08 of 12

    'Lavender Chiffon' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Lavender Chiffon')

    Hibiscus syriacus Lavender Chiffon or Rose of Sharon. Pink flower in bloom
    ANGHI / Getty Images

    'Lavender Chiffon' boasts semi-double flowers with subtle red veins that radiate out into the light purple petals. It has a nicely rounded, multistemmed growth habit but can easily be trained as small tree by pruning away all but one central leader. Left unpruned, it's a very full plant that's best suited for large shrub borders or screens. 'Lavender Chiffon,' like most rose of Sharon types, is known for having good tolerance for difficult conditions, such as high humidity, salty air, and urban pollution.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 8–10 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    'Lil Kim' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Lil Kim')

    'Lil Kim' is a well-behaved dwarf cultivar with 3-inch-wide white flowers and magenta throats. Its small size makes it an excellent container specimen, blooming from midsummer into autumn. While most rose of Sharon varieties produce flowers that last only a day, this cultivar's blooms typically last as long as three days before wilting. When grown in a container, prune 'Lil Kim' in spring to maintain its shape. Like most rose of Sharon plants, this one is fairly easy to propagate from stem cuttings.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 3–4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 10 of 12

    'Lucy' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Lucy')

    Hibiscus syriacus 'Lucy' Double Flowered, Pink
    MasterChefNobu / Getty Images

    'Lucy' is a fully double-petaled cultivar with large, 4-inch pink blossoms. It's a very full-bodied shrub, but it can readily be pruned into a small tree by removing the lower branches. Left unpruned, it makes a good screening hedge. One of the most dependable rose of Sharon cultivars, 'Lucy' will tolerate some shade, but its flowers will be most profuse if it receives full sun.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 8–12 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 11 of 12

    'Minerva' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Minerva')

    A large, bushy cultivar growing 5–7 feet wide, 'Minerva' features glossy green foliage as well as pinkish-lavender blooms with a reddish throat, punctuated by an ivory stamen. This variety benefits from some pruning, which creates a full growth habit for hedge applications. Pruning back to two or three buds in late winter will produce larger blooms the following summer and fall. This rose of Sharon cultivar is relatively easy to propagate through stem cuttings.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6–9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
  • 12 of 12

    'Purple Pillar' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Purple Pillar')

    As the name suggests, this cultivar grows quite tall but remains relatively narrow (2–3 feet). 'Purple Pillar' flowers have a bicolor appearance: The semi-double purple blooms have a large red throat. This rose of Sharon variety, which blooms from July into September, is excellent as a screening wall or a vertical accent in a mixed perennial garden. Like most hibiscus, it'll attract bees and other pollinators. 'Purple Pillar' has a better-than-average tolerance for drought.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 10–15 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full, Partial

Gardening Tip

The most serious pest problem common to all rose of Sharon varieties is infestation by Japanese beetles, which often attack the shrubs while ignoring other plants. Left unchecked, they can completely defoliate these plants. The best control method is to pick off the beetles by hand, but pyrethroid-based insecticides will also kill them. Pesticides, however, may need to be reapplied every two to three weeks while the beetles are active.