Purple blossom from a rose of Sharon.
image by Ctaroz: Morguefile
Rose of Sharon plants offer an extended summer bloom with a beautiful, hibiscus-like bloom. These hardy perennial shrubs can reach heights over 12 feet and prefer well-drained soil. Flower colors include white, purple, lilac, red or blue. These plants typically begin blooming in late June, and can continue through the summer months and into the fall. Common concerns with rose of Sharon include a noticeable woodiness that makes the plant spindly and limits the blooms. Pruning a rose of Sharon plant increases the plant's blooms.
Schedule your pruning session for a time when it will benefit the plant the most. Rose of Sharon produce flowers from buds formed on this season's new growth. Groom the plant in later winter to encourage abundant blooms.
Examine your rose of Sharon plant. If you see leaves dropping, small blooms or little to no blooms, the plant requires some pruning. A healthy rose of Sharon bush will have blooms all over the shrub.
Trim off any diseased or dead branches. Angle the shears to make a 45-degree angle cut where the branch joins the parent stem. Target these areas first with your pruning clippers. Angled cuts leave smaller wounds on the plant stems, which heal much quicker than straight cuts or tears. For branches larger than 3/4 inch, use lopping shears or a pruning saw to make clean cuts through thick branches.
Locate any branches that seem to be growing at odd angles. These include branches that cross others in an unnatural growth pattern, or extremely long branches. Prune these branches to the plant's parent stem.
Prune the oldest growth by clipping the old wood near ground level. It may seem extreme, but this type of deciduous plant thrives when it's groomed regularly. Try to remove 1/3 of the old stems each year to promote rigorous growth.