Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sometimes I Just Get Lucky

Outside my kitchen door stands two massive Rose of Sharon shrubs. I wish I could tell you how I methodically researched them and amended the soil with guano hand harvested from the Woolly Siberian Snow Rat to have created such incredible growth, but I can't. Eight years ago I saw them at a local garden center, went home and Googled 'rose of sharon', decided they probably wouldn't die, and then drove back and bought them. I planted them in soil amended with store bought compost and that was it. Eight years later, I'm still not sure why they're so huge. I guess I just got lucky.


Pollinators of all types can be found visiting the flowers. Even hummingbirds seek them out. 


They do an excellent job of shading the back of the house, which receives afternoon sun. Plumbago, heart leaf asters, and white geraniums function as a shade loving ground cover beneath its branches. A pink rose and 'Laura' phlox grow near the rain barrel.


They reach almost to the second story.


A pink clematis grows along its branches.


The flowers open pink but fade to blue as they age.


Hundreds of double flowers will cover the shrub for the next several weeks.


With the red ring in the center, they look like little hibiscus. 


 Every fall after they've dropped their leaves, I dump an entire 40 lb bag of composted leaves (Leaf Gro) at the base of each shrub. If I remember, I also give them several cup fulls of Plant Tone, an organic fertilizer. When my worm bins are full and I still have extra kitchen scraps, I throw them behind the shrubs to decompose. One of my dogs occasionally liberates a funky apple and gives it a proper burial in the garden.



I only prune them if I find crossed branches or if the interior becomes too dense. Last winter I discovered a few branches had lifted the shingles on the fireplace bump out, so out they came. 


 Thinning out the interior every couple of years allows for more light to penetrate the heart of the shrub. It also helps create increased branching so that I don't end up with a shrub that's only leafy on the exterior but bare and twiggy on the interior. Right now the interior has a few open spots, but that's okay. The Rose of Sharon is a vigorous grower that will create new branches that will bloom next summer.


When I lay on my couch and look out the window, I feel like I'm in a tree house.



Summer 2011

Growing Conditions: Morning shade and afternoon sun
  • Thrives in peripheral reflected light from the surrounding patio.
  • I think this must be a fairly moist spot because I rarely have to water the shrubs, although the surrounding plants get thirsty. The area directly under its branches is dry and shady. The soil is well draining.

25 comments:

  1. Rose of Sharon is hardy in Santa Fe, too - unlike many of the tropical hibiscus. I like the idea of feeling like you're in a tree house.

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  2. Oh my! It does get big. But what pretty flowers! I'm glad to see what a grown up Rose of Sharon looks like. We planted several twig size plants that we received from Arbor Day a few years ago. They are slowly growing and have almost reached shrub size, and we have finally had a few blooms.
    Not as pretty as yours, though!

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  3. I think the plant is lucky to have such an attentive gardener. Looks like it loves its location. I didn't know that Rose of Sharon got that big. They are in the same family as hibiscus so the blooms do look similar. I may have to look into getting one of these plants for the pollinators. My dogs sometimes go into my compost pile and find fruits and veggies to nibble on. Silly dogs!

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  4. Those are some lovely ROS. Love the blooms on that one. Your living room is lovely also.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  5. My favorite view of your pretty rose of sharons is through the window from inside. How leafy and shady ... and they must fill the room with their pink blooms. I have one ('White Chiffon') under my dining room window and I want it to do the same thing, fill the view. It is growing beautifully and I prune it as you do for airiness in the inner branches, but it wants to go wider, not taller, and only peeks in the bottom of the window : )

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  6. Też bym z przyjemnością posiedziała w takim domku na drzewie i patrzyła na przepiękny krzew. Pozdrawiam.
    I'd be happy in this house sat on a tree and watched the beautiful shrub. Yours.

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  7. So many grew them here in the South that I think they came to be considered as "common", which is a shame because they are such a fantastic shrub. I have 3 in our garden (my favorite is "Bluebird") and they often reseed. I've never fertilized mine and they are always reliable bloomers.

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  8. What beautiful Rose of Sharon shrubs!! Love the views from the inside of the house as well. You do a lot to assist them with the leaf compost -- they are very happy!

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  9. I had the hibiscus like indoor flower many years ago. When I've been to Crete, I saw it growing outside, near the hotel and was surprised! Wonderful flowers and pictures!

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  10. Absolutely gorgeous! I am in awe at the amount of flowers on it. :)
    We have begun adding heaps of compost to the base of our plants and shrubs and it seems to be making a difference as well.

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  11. Lovely! You have it in the perfect spot, and thanks for the indoor view, too. My in-laws had a Rose of Sharon bush at their suburban Chicago home. I wasn't crazy about it, but yours is a prettier shade. I think I need to reconsider this bush based on your description, photos, and recommendation. Thanks!

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  12. I enjoyed your post about your rose of Sharon trees, and liked seeing the inside of your house. What fun to feel like you are in a tree house!

    There was a rose of Sharon tree already planted in the first house we bought many years ago. It wasn't nearly as large as yours, and I'm thinking it died after a few years. I don't remember how well I took care of it. It was a double lot, and I had two huge vegetable gardens that I was more into at the time.

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  13. Casa Mariposa, these are probably some of the most beautiful rose of sharon bushes that I have ever seen! I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the single flowered forms, but I like your soft pink double flowered version very much. Do you by any chance know the name of the variety? Actually I think you (and your dog ;-))are taking pretty good care of the shrubs, considering that you are feeding them with different organic materials. That is probably far more than most people do. Also your pruning might help quite a bit to rejuvenate the bushes. Thanks for featuring your stunning rose of sharons on your blog!
    Christina

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  14. Rose of Sharons are such amazing plants. Yours look fabulous. Mine won't bloom here for another two months. I love how you can see yours from your windows. Very nice indeed.

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  15. Your rose of sharon is really, really impressive. I love the double flowers, and wouldn't it be wonderful if they were fragrant too?

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  16. Very pretty pictures. I like the double flowers. I used to think this was a very exotic plant (when I was a kid) but I agree that it is one tough shrub. Mine's not quite so big but getting ever bigger.

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  17. Delightful images of one of my long-time favorite shrubs. I grew them in Georgia, and finally I've had a couple outlast the voles and deer here in Connecticut. Your fine collection shows me what I can aspire to.

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  18. My neighbor has a large Rose of Sharon and it drapes over my fence. It is tall like yours, but not nearly as wide and pretty. They do get a lot of pollinators and the shrubs are always buzzing. I do like the double variety you have, and it does look like you live in a tree house!

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  19. What a fantastic shrub, loved the shot of it next to the rain barrel. Suddenly I realized just how big it was. WOW. Perfect flowers for those of us in too cool a zone to have a hibiscus.

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  20. I had to laugh when I saw your post title. You are indeed lucky it seems! I am sorry that it has taken me awhile to get around with the news, but you won one of my recent book draws. I will email you with regard to the details.
    I always had bad luck with Rose of Sharon for some unknown reason, but last summer I planted a new one and surprise, surprise it made it through the Canadian winter just fine. It is a tiny runt of a shrub, but one day I hope it will be as big and pretty as yours.

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  21. I've never grown Rose of Sharon but after seeing your pictures, I definitely will have to try it. Lovely photos!

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  22. Your photos are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  23. I have never seen this shrub before - in the UK we call a totally different shrub Rose of Sharon. It is beautiful I wonder if it would grow here.

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  24. Oh, I love your Rose of Sharon! I have two, but they are still quite young. Thanks for showing me how potentially big and beautiful they can get! Of course, I may have to move a plant or two that I just now realize are WAY too closely planted to mine! haha (I'm always making that mistake!) And, about your question, I think Jacob's Robe will be a great rose for you. I don't grow it, but it has a great reputation. Good luck with it! :)

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  25. Beautiful!

    Do you happen to know if these are a named variety of Rose of Sharon?

    Per Phillip Oliver's comment, I've heard they can be invasive (see http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/newgard/msg0613523326960.html?5 for example. I'm probably err too far on the side of avoiding anything that could possibly be invasive, but just wondering if that's been an issue for you at all or if you planted a sterile specimen or one that's simply less likely to reseed?

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