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Rose of Sharon

by Valerie (May 22, 2001)
Rose of Sharon blossoms
One of the advantages of having many avian visitors to our gardens has been the addition of plants we would otherwise not acquire. The birds spend plenty of time in our tall trees, preening, snoozing, mating, and, of course, depositing the remains of their previous meals. These small gifts often include seeds as well as the fertilizer to help them germinate. I have tried several times to plant rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) seeds but none ever produced plants. However, we have a healthy pair of these shrubs that came up unexpectedly, almost certainly unintentionally planted by birds.

Rose of Sharon blossom

Rose of Sharon grows well in shade or sun, and ours are in rather heavy shade but still bloom regularly. This shrub grows to over 10 feet tall and tends to expand out quite a bit as well. The leaves are dark green with many rounded lobes. One very nice feature of this Asian immigrant is its resistance to drought. Although the seeds I've collected never seem to grow, they are rather interesting looking, having a ring of short hair around the edge.

There are other plants called rose of Sharon, but this one is a hibiscus, tall, woody, and with blossom colors ranging from white to deep pink to bluish lavender. Its other names include althea and shrub althea.

Rose of Sharon seeds

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