12 Rose of Sharon Varieties for Your Landscape

Rose of Sharon bloom with white and pink coloring

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

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 as a complement to 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 cultural 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.

Most rose of Sharon trees grow to be about 8–10 feet tall, with a spread of 4–5 feet. They can make for a lovely blooming hedge, but, because they are deciduous, they do not 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 bi-colored. Through grafting, there are even varieties that bear multiple colors on the same plant.

Here are 12 popular rose of Sharon cultivars 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.
    David Beaulieu

    Blue flowers are highly prized for their unusual and relaxing color. Plant developers have put a great deal of energy into expanding the horticultural blue palette, yet true blues remain somewhat rare. 'Blue Chiffon' rose of Sharon trees (Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Chiffon') is an example of a flower then pushes the violet hue in the direction of blue. Blue Chiffon combines well both with orange flowers such as torch lilies (Kniphofia spp.) and so-called "black" plants (plants with dark foliage), such as Chocolate Drop stonecrop (Sedum 'Chocolate Drop').

    'Blue Chiffon' blooms from mid-summer into autumn. What makes the flower so beautiful is the presence of inner petals that surround the stamen. These inner petals give the flowers a frilly look.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Height: 8–12 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (full sun is preferable)
  • 02 of 12

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

    Rose of Sharon's "Sugar Tip" variety with its double pink flowers.
    David Beaulieu

    Like Blue Chiffon, the variety known as Sugar Tip (Hibiscus syriacus 'Sugar Tip') bears double flowers (in this case, pink in color). But with Sugar Tip, it is not just about the flowers. The foliage is also attractive, as these plants have variegated leaves. The leaves have a creamy-white edging that is the source of the cultivar name.'Pink Chiffon' has similar flowers but lacks the bi-colored leaves.

    Most varieties of rose of Sharon are valued mainly for their flowers, but do not underestimate the importance of attractive foliage. Such "foliage plants" as this variety will offer continuing appeal after many a garden bloom has become little more than a memory.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6–8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (prefers full sun)
  • 03 of 12

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

    White rose of Sharon visited by hummingbird.

    Donna Braswell/Getty Images 

    Some gardeners find white flowers too plain, while others value them for their clean look. 'White Chiffon' is a solid option if you seek summer-flowering a bush with white flowers.

    Shrubs with solid-white flowers are ideal for gardeners designing moon gardens and who wish to be purists in their plant selection. Unlike most rose of Sharon varieties, there is 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 sun to part shade (full sun is preferable)
  • 04 of 12

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

    Closeup of bloom of Red Heart rose of Sharon.

     matricul/Getty Images

    Many of the rose of Sharon varieties with white flowers are technically bi-colored: 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 bi-colored 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 sun to part shade (prefers full sun)
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    'Aphrodite' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Aphrodite')

    'Aphrodite' has delicate pink flowers, 4 inches across, with deep red eyes. It is a very bushy, full plant, nearly as wide as it is tall, though it can be pruned to keep it at a manageable size. This plant is less tolerant of shade than other cultivars.

    Note; In some regions of the U.S., 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 will not spread through seeds.

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

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

    'Blue Satin' is one of the most striking of all rose of Sharon cultivars, with intense blue-violet flowers with deep magenta eyes 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.

    This plant is 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 sun to part shade (prefers full sun)
  • 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. The plant has an upright spreading growth habit with multiple stems; it requires quite a bit of pruning if you want to train it as a small tree.

    This variety has some of the most spectacular flowers of all the rose of Sharon varieties, so make sure to plant it where its appearance can be appreciated. You will be graced with a display from mid-summer all the way into fall.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6–8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (flowers best in full sun)
  • 08 of 12

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

    This cultivar with semi-double flowers has subtle red veins that radiate out into the light purple flower petals. It has a nicely rounded multi-stem growth habit, but can easily be trained as small tree by pruning away all but one central leader. Left unpruned, this is a vary full plant that is best suited for large shrub borders or screens.

    'Lavender Chiffon', like most rose of Sharon varieties, 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 sun to part shade (prefers full sun)
    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 white flowers with large magenta eyes. 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 single day, 'Lil Kim' has blooms that will typically last for as much as three days before wilting.

    When grown in a container, prune 'Lil Kim' in spring to maintain its shape. Like most varieties, 'Lil Kim' is fairly easy to propagate from stem cuttings.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 3–4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (prefers full sun)
  • 10 of 12

    'Lucy' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Lucy')

    'Lucy' is a fully double-petaled rose of Sharon with large, 4-inch pink blossoms. It is a very full-bodied shrub, but it can readily be pruned into a small tree. Left unpruned, it makes a good hedge plant.

    'Lucy' is one of the most dependable of the rose of Sharon varieties. It is especially easy to train as a small tree simply by pruning off the lower branches but left unpruned it makes a great screening hedge plant. Like other rose of Sharon varieties, 'Lucy' will tolerate some shade, but flowers will be most profuse if it is planted in full sun.

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

    'Minerva' (Hibiscus syriacus 'Minerva')

    'Minerva' is a large, bushy cultivar growing 5 to 7 feet wide with glossy green foliage and pinkish-lavender blooms with a reddish eye punctuated by an ivory white stamen. This variety benefits from some pruning, which creates a full growth habit that works well in hedge applications.

    Pruning back to two or three buds in late winter will produce larger blooms the following summer and fall. This is a relatively easy plant to propagate through stem cuttings.

    • Native Area: China, India
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Height: 6–9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (prefers full sun)
  • 12 of 12

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

    As the name suggests, this cultivar grows quite tall but remains relatively narrow (2 to 3 feet). The flowers have a bicolored appearance; the purple semi-double blooms have a large red eye. This plant blooms from July into September. It is excellent for creating a screening wall, or as a vertical accent in a mixed perennial garden. Like most hibiscus species, it will 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 sun to part shade (full sun is preferable)

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, Japanese beetles 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 beetles are active.