Hibiscus syriacus, also known as Rose of Sharon and Shrub Althea, is a flowering shrub that has a massive display of flowers in the summer--a time when few other bushes and shrubs are in bloom. There are both single and double flower varieties and a wide range of cultivars available. The shrubs can produce flower colors varying from reds and pinks to white, gray, purple, lavender and shades of blue.
Choose Rose of Sharon if you have a location with issues that prevent other shrubs from thriving. The shrub tolerates any soil, transplants well and can grow in sun or partial shade. Specimens can reach 8 to 10 feet high with a spread of 4 to 10 feet. The plants are recommended in zones 5B through 9A, which includes most of the U.S. except the northernmost tier of states, such as Montana, the Dakotas and Wisconsin.
Plant Rose of Sharon in tandem with other bushes and shrub varieties that flower in spring for a transition of color across the seasons. They can also break up a wall of plain green foliage, adding a splash of color. Plant Rose of Sharon in a single or double row to act as a semi-private screen or hedge to form a border around a property. The shrubs are tolerant of windy conditions.
Trim Rose of Sharon to a single stem if you prefer it to act as a small tree. Plant single Rose of Sharon for a decorative and strong visual point of focus. The shrub can stand boldly alone as an individual specimen.
Allow the branches of Rose of Sharon to expand to develop a delicate, vase-shaped spreading arc for a low maintenance form. The shrub needs little pruning and is troubled by few pests except aphids and Japanese beetles.
Think twice before planting the shrub along a well-traveled area. Rose of Sharon experiences a heavy drop of flowers for several weeks following blooming. This makes the plant a maintenance issue and can lead to slippery conditions on walkways. In an out-of-the-way spot, the fallen flower heads can be allowed to accumulate to be gathered once and composted.
Select Rose of Sharon for areas where deer are a problem. The shrubs are rarely chosen by deer for feeding. Home owners who live in rural areas or in suburbs where deer are increasingly encroaching to find food can plant Rose of Sharon with the assurance that they are almost never lost to browsing or attractive to the animals. The bushes will attract birds and butterflies, including hummingbirds, according to Washington State University.