Plant of the Week: Dark Lavender CHIFFON® rose of Sharon

Tall plants get your attention

A lot of modern plant breeding focuses on smaller, more compact plants. That’s what most people need for their landscaping.

But sometimes, we need something tall enough to screen a backyard from a neighbor’s gaze or to add some height to a mixed border. Something smaller than a tree but taller than a mailbox.

Rose-of-Sharon, or althea, is a good candidate for that spot. As long as there’s plenty of sun, this plant will do just fine. It’s not finicky about soil, even tolerating clay, and will endure heat, dry conditions, air pollution, and even some road salt. Got a project near a parking lot? This is your plant.

Dark Lavender Chiffon® is the latest addition to the popular Chiffon® series of Hibiscus syriacus. Like the others in the series, it’s a beautiful specimen plant with graceful branching, abundant blooms, and low seed set.

We chose this plant for its darker color than the original, as seen above. That richer color gives this favorite even more impact in the garden.

It will grow 8-12′ tall and 6-10′ wide, so it’s perfect for anchoring a mixed border or keeping nosy neighbors away. It’s hardy in USDA 5-9 and will come into its own during the summer heat.

It’s the Year of the Hardy Hibiscus!

Botanist Carl Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2021 the Year of the Hardy Hibiscus. Okay, okay, rose of Sharon, while hardy, is not technically a “hardy hibiscus,” but work with me here…

When the National Garden Bureau announced the “year of” plants for 2021, I was so excited I wrote an article called Hardy Hibiscus and its Handsome Family for the GardenSMART website. Digging into all the types of hibiscus and what makes them special was actually pretty cool.

My favorite tidbit was that rose of Sharon, or Hibiscus syriacus gets its species name from the Latin word for Syria. Botanist Carl Linnaeus misidentified this species as being from Syria when in actuality, it is native to China and India. It just goes to show even the father of binomial nomenclature can sometimes get things wrong.

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