rose of sharon

joyce75(6b ONT canada)June 6, 2005

I absolutely love ROS but I am having so much trouble growing them. Everyone talks about how they grow like weeds and mine just die. What am I doing wrong? A friend gave me one in Oakville and it just never got any leaves. I bought 2 at a nursery last year and one now has leaves (halleluya!)but the other one is dead..I think. Only has brown sticks, no leaves. I am wondering if the bunny who lived under our deck all winter could have affected it.

Anyway, I am thinking of buying another one but need any advice before I go spend money again. Any special tips about growing them? Should I try to grow some from seed packets and at least if they don't grow I will be further ahead financially?

Would appreciate any comments etc.

Thanks in advance,


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Garden_Heaven(z6b Canada)

I am also new to gardening, but I have had some luck with ROS in my Oakville backyard.

I had one in my front yard, with full sun, but no shelter and it did not make it through the first winter.

The two I have in the backyard are some what sheltered and are in full sun. They seem to love it.

It is quite possible the bunny got to them. I had planted a rose bush, and the bunny got to it this year. They even gnawed away at our deck to get under it!.

Happy Gardening.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 9:39AM
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peatpod(Z5b Ontario)

Joyce .. wait a little bit to remove it .. I have several and they dont always leaf out at the same time. My larger ROS is just starting to show signs of life this weeks .. so yours might not be dead

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 10:20PM
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owbist(6A-Niagara, Ont)

Joyce if you are within easy reach of Grimsby and would like some seedlings I have them for the taking. They are about 2 inches high at this point in time. I potted up 18 myself today as at some future point they need to be out of there. These are the single purple Rose of Sharon. Email me if you wish.

Sadly my double white and double purple never seem to drop seeds that grow.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 5:35PM
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Have to agree with Peatpod on the 'wait and see'. I had one for two years in a spot where the soil was not that great. (Was told initially I couldn't kill this plant...) Moved it last year, and it is just budding in it's new spot. Since I grow hardy hibiscus there, I expect it to do well.

They also do better in sheltered spot as GH says. That is not to say they won't make it in other areas, as my mother grows one which faces the rigours of winter on St. Mary's Bay here in NS. And those nor'easters can wreak havoc on her gardens. But her ROS does well every year!

Do try them from seed. I have other varieties growing from seed at this time. Very easy!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Hi Joyce, I had Rose of sharon envy because my adorable neighbour had the biggest shrub I have ever seen and was hacking it back because it interferred with her clothesline which is on the second story of her house! I asked her if I could have a branch or two and kept them in a vase in the living room all winter, got water roots, my Mom said forget it but you know what, I have three shrubs now of my own and they flowered in the second year , The leaves are only starting to show green buds this week, hope this helps M

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 10:32PM
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joyce75(6b ONT canada)

Thanks everyone. I will leave the brown twigs in the ground for a bit longer, just in case, and meanwhile I will take up Owbist's offer of some of her seedlings.

Wish me luck! ROS envy is definitely what I have!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 12:24AM
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Another thing you can do is to scrap off a little bit of bark on a stem and check for green underneath. (I just do it with my fingernail.) If green, then your's is still alive.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 9:06PM
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stellagord(z5b? Toronto)

Joyce, if it's any consolation, I very grudgingly ripped my "Blue Bird" Rose of Sharon out of my backyard garden about 10 days ago -- I figured it was dead... I left the "carcass" out in the sun... And guess what! IT STARTED SPROUTING NEW LEAVES!!! My husband noticed it a few days ago.

On the other hand, I did have a couple of them die a few winters ago -- I think I planted them in a spot where they sat in a puddle of freezing-and-thawing ice/water.

Don't give up. Your ROS will probably come back!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:20PM
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I used to have problem with my ROS losing all their leaves... i thought they were dying on me and i kept tossing them... i left one in its pot out of laziness and it rewarded me a few moths later... seems as if they just dont like the stress and they will protest by dropping their leaves. put them in their permanent spot and they will start to put out new growth once they are comfy in their new homes...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 11:10PM
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peatpod(Z5b Ontario)

So Joyce .. how is your ROS doing????


    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 9:56AM
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crabbybug(6a Tor)

Hi Joyce, I too am a residence of Oakville and have just started to plunk down some ROS. My sister gave me a whole bunch of her babies. I decided to plant them in all different areas of the yard to see which and where they would grow the best. So far the best has been on the West side of the house where I get a lot of afternoon sun. I decided to be a wise girl and move my Big ROS to the back of the house. I shocked it and now have to wait to see what happens next year.
I have had great results with all of my ROS. They are all leafing great but am awaiting the results.
Will let you know.
BTW sometimes it takes two years before they can establish themselves. Do not give up just yet.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 8:08PM
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joyce75(6b ONT canada)

I got tired of the ros taking up good space so I decided to pull it out..then I felt bad and planted it in another spot...I think it really is dead but I will leave it there for now. Crabbybug, you may be right about 2 years to adjust. The one in the front of the house is about 1 1/2 feet high so we'll see what happens to it.

Meanwhile owbist gave me a whole bunch of baby ros and they are now in little pots...when should I plant them? A couple aren't looking so good but most are ok with about 4 leaves. I plan on doing like Crabbybug and planting them wherever I have sun but not sure when. And as seedlings, is it ok for them to get lots of sun? Not that we have had much for the last week.

Thanks Joyce

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 6:09PM
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Mine is just beginning to leaf out and it is 5 years old. By August, it will be full of blooms and well worth the wait.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 7:27AM
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Like any seedling grown indoors, you should put the pot in a partial sun area to climatize for a few days, then gradually place the pot where you want to transplant it for a few hours and see how it does. Your new seedlings should bloom at a height of about 1 1/2 feet if grown in partial sun.
I think that stellagord saying: "planted them in a spot where they sat in a puddle of freezing-and-thawing ice/water." makes alot of sense as to why some of them die. I lost 1 over this winter and when I inspected the area around the base, it is not raised as well as the other rose of sharon plants and the water seems to sit in that area.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 9:49PM
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I had previously mentioned that 1 of my Rose of Sharon 'sky Blue' plants was dead. Well this weekend it is just starting to sprout leaves. Go figure eh! All the others are full of leaves already.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 11:51PM
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I love ROS too. My problem: My plant is in a large container on my balcony. Looks pretty healty and all but it seems to bloom one flower at a time. This is August shouldn't it have more blossoms. Should I fertilize it? If so, with what? It is called Bluebird and Chiffon.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 3:38AM
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Very informative thread. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 10:13AM
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joyce75(6b ONT canada)

Cadence - I have one that I bought last year and I finally got a couple of flowers this year but only about 2 at a time and maybe about 8 or 9 so far. I was wondering if it was because it was not getting enough sun...its in a partly shady spot. I keep seeing all these big beautiful ROS bushes around so I guess I have high expectations. Others in the neighbourhood were blooming weeks before mine did.

Meanwhile I got the seedlings from Owbist and have planted most of them around the garden but they are still only about 6 or 8 inches high. I truly hope they survive the winter! I still have a couple to plant so was very interested in the wintering perennials thread. I think I will plant them now and keep my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 9:23PM
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owbist(6A-Niagara, Ont)

Cadence - You should indeed be feeding you ROS. More so because it is in a pot. Little late now to go mad in my estimation but you could give it as lighter feed to encourage it. You could either use some slow release granules or I use water soluble 20-30-20 or 20-20-20 for my container grown plants.

Joyce - I have about 40 of those ROS seedlings still in 6 and 8 inch pots ready for my daughters - or me to go there and do the deed, haha. Many are now about 18 inches high. Should yours fail feel free to contact me next year to see if there are volunteers popping up again.

As my double ROS's do not put out seeds I am considering using some sphagnum moss and air layer them to start a couple of each. Anyone had any experience in this method?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 1:18PM
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EngiN117(7a GA)

If you know of anyone with a full grown Rose of Sharon, look around the tree on the ground around it for the small plants that stick out in the grass. The ROS that I have been around have dozens of baby plants around them. This would be a cheap way to get many baby plants and have as many as you need to get the soil and other growning conditions right.
Wish you the best,

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 9:22PM
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joyce75(6b ONT canada)

Owbist, thanks. I'll remember that in the spring if mine don't make it thru the winter.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 11:07PM
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does anyone have a picture of ROS seedlings they can post??? i have a purple ROS that is about 5 years old. this year i noticed alot of small unidentified plants under the ROS and am wondering if they are babies. if they are, i would like to pot them up. i know a number of friends who would want one. thank you in advance for any help.... Lisa

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 11:48PM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

If you do it by seed be sure to be patient. I WS mine and I didn't get any seedlings until late June! Almost gave up on them. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 7:38AM
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Air layering should work. You could also try to simply propagate from stem cuttings.

My mother has an ROS which I wanted, and she's the Queen of Propagation. Don't know why, but everytime she sticks a branch of something in a pot, it starts to grow... Wish I had her thumb at times!! Anyway, she's got four started up for me. You may want to use rooting hormone and other things, but she just uses nothing but compost and dirt!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 8:36PM
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Just wanted to mention that the double forms do not produce seeds, but can be propagated by cuttings.

The key to cuttings is simply moisture. Though not
necessary, a spray bottle squirted on the cuttings
as often as you can will definitely make a difference.
Keep the cuttings moist and spray them often with mist.

It helps to keep them in a location you will pass by several times each day when you first take your cuttings, that way you don't forget to mist them.

You'll soon be rewarded with a bounty of new growth.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 6:11PM
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kmagggi(Upstate NY)

I am new to ROS but have fell in love with them! My friend gave me 3 seedling babies of white,pink and blue. I have taken off the pods that formed and taken out the seeds inside. Does anyone know what to do with them to start new plants? If not, how would I start them another way. Thanks! kat

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 11:12PM
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Fairly new to Rose of Sharon..Last year i dug up five little seedlings of my neighbors ROS..They all are budding now and look terrific..They are about a foot tall. Question- has fast will they grow?...when can i expect something in the five feet range?...Thanks lots

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 2:51PM
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mary_rockland(USDA4 Ottawa)

Hi everybody,

Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus Syriacus have got to be the plant who is the very last to send out leaves. You simply must be patient even if it seems dead and it's June. It's just that late. It's a hibiscus after all and why should it send out leaves until it's darned sure there won't be any more frosts or cool weather to harm those beautiful flowers.

I've even grown one here in Canada's zone 5. It was a Blue Bird and out of zone. It took several attempts and several sites. It did really well up until last year at over 6 feet it finally died. It had blooms beginning early August.

We've been growing them at my parents home near Brantford for about 30 years. The trick to having them bloom early is to let them grow. The older the plant the longer the bloom season and the earlier they start.

I currently have a few babies from southern ontario that came from my brother's house. They survived one winter in the back yard, but I really ought to bring them to the south side of the house where the last one did so well.

Sorry, I can't remember how many years before you get the height. As I recall, one year they just suddenly take off. It would depend on your zone, but I'd say give it 3 years or so.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 9:36PM
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I winter sowed some seeds from a white ROS. Will the babies be white as well or is each one in rose seeds ?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 7:28AM
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joyce75(6b ONT canada)

Wanted to give you an update on my ROS babies from last summer. The ones I planted in the garden have mainly survived and are anywhere from 6 inches to about 1 foot high. My biggest surprise was 2 little seedlings that I hadn't planted yet in the fall so I put them both in a 12in pot and put them in the garage. In April/May they started getting leaves and are now still in the pots and are about 12 inches high. It was an experiment and I am thrilled that it worked! Now I just have to find another spot to plant them. Can you have too many ROS in a townhouse garden I wonder? they may not bloom this year but I hope maybe next year I'll have loads of blooms!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:54PM
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I have a Rose of Sharon I planted 2 1/2 months ago. Full Sun. It was so full of dark green leaves you couldn't even see the middle of the plant. Now the leaves are a very light green. It keep blooming though. It just got through the Jap beetles season and survived. How can i get the dark green leaves again? I live in middle NC. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 3:00PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Sometimes, I give my brugmansia a shot of epsom salts when their leaves turn yellowish. It brings them right back. I wonder how it would affect your ROS. I use a handful of epsom salts : 2 gallons of water once a week for a couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 8:50PM
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Roxane_(5B S Ontario)

A trick I've been using is to feed my ROS granular rose food when the leafs start to show in June.

Six years ago I was feeding my Hybrid Teas & shrub roses & thought the ROS could do with a little food as well. Rose food... rose of sharon... both produce flowers on woody stems - I figured it was worth a shot. What a difference that year! I think it doubled in size & gave me oodles of flowers. Now I feed it every year.

I measure out about 1/2 cup of fertalizer, scratch it into the soil - and I'm done feeding for the year. My Blue Bird is 8 years old now and my neighbours are always astounded at the number of flowers it produces. I think the rose food also helps with the yellowing leaves - because it's always green and lush.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 10:59PM
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