Althea, commonly called rose-of-Sharon, flowers in late summer, providing a flush of color after other flowering shrubs have begun to fade. It fits into borders or can be grown as an informal specimen plant in beds. A range of cultivars allows you to choose an althea variety in the color and size that works best in your landscape design.
'Aphrodit'e althea grows up to 10 feet tall. It grows as a shrub or can be pruned into a small tree depending on your preferences. The large flowers have dark pink petals with a deep red center. It begins flowering in early summer and continues to blossom until mid fall.
'Minerva' althea reaches up to 6 feet wide and tops out at 10 feet tall. It works well as an informal hedge because of its width, or can be trained into a more tree-like form. The 2-inch diameter flowers have lavender petals with a red center that is slightly lighter than the center of the 'Aphrodite' varieties. 'Minerva' flowers in late summer and fall, and requires high amounts of soil moisture during the blossoming period.
The large, pure white flowers of the 'Diana' althea are reminiscent of the moon, which is why this shrubs shares its name with the Roman moon goddess. 'Diana' shrubs grow up to 8 feet tall and are nearly as wide. They work best as shrubs, but can be pruned into trees if desired. The single flowers bloom in late summer and fall.
One of the few blue varieties of althea, 'Blue Bird- produces 4-inch diameter sky blue flowers. The deep red center of each blossom is striking against the blue background. The shrub begins flowering at midsummer and continues to bloom through autumn. This 8-foot tall, full althea variety grows best as a shrub and isn't usually pruned into tree form.
'Red Heart' althea has the striking white blossoms of 'Diana' varieties, but with a striking ruby-colored center. A late-summer bloomer, each blossom is 5 to 6 inches in diameter. 'Red Heart' reaches up to 12 feet tall and is attractive when trained as a flowering tree.
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