In The Garden Now …. ‘Red Heart’ Hibiscus

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rose of Sharon Shrub

Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

When you hear the name hibiscus you might first think of Hawaii and the beautiful leis that are created out of colorful tropical flowers. But there are fabulous hibiscus varieties that thrive in the Pacific Northwest … Hibiscus syriacus or Rose of Sharon is one of those. Rose of Sharon starts blooming in midsummer and continues until the last blossoms are taken by frost in fall.  This is a welcome bloom time since so few plants are in flower at this time of year.    

My favorite variety is ‘Red Heart’ which sports large white four inch trumpet shaped flowers with scarlet eyes. I particularly like the white flowers of this variety because they show up so well against green foliage in the garden as well as brightening the garden as it moves towards winter. If you prefer a different colored flower there are many other varieties available including those with purple, lavender, blue, pink or red flowers.  

Shrubs typically grow 8 - 10 feet high and 6 – 8 feet wide. The plant can be pruned to make it more tree like so that other plants can be grown more easily beneath it. ‘Red Heart’ has been growing in my garden for at least 20 years. It had gotten larger than I wanted so I cut it to the ground late last winter. It’s on its way back now and is already two and a half feet high. Next year it will probably grow another three feet and produce a bumper crop of flowers once again. 

In the Seattle area Rose of Sharon thrives in full sun to part shade. It produces plenty of flowers in either aspect. Be on the lookout for this gorgeous flowering shrub in your neighborhood. I bet there’s one in glorious bloom nearby! 

 Botanical Name:  Hibiscus syriacus ’Red Heart’

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.  vjgilleland@yahoo.com



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