Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hibiscus syriacus - Rose of Sharon

These are the old fashioned Rose of Sharon - the ones that pretty as they are, do seed all over the place. I've solved that problem, at least in part, by cutting off seed pods before they mature. That's probably better for the plant anyway, since maturing seeds does take some energy that could be used for something else.
This first one is Blue Satin. It is supposed to be an improvement over the older one, Bluebird, but the color seems to vary year by year according to the weather and some years one is better, some years the other and some years both just look lavender like the old ones. The other old one I have here is a white with a red eye, which as far as I know isn't named and is always just called 'the white on with a red eye'.

This is Bluebird. The difference in color from Blue Satin can be as much due to the camera and internet browser as the flowers themselves. All of these seem to stay under 8 feet tall in the sun, a little taller in the shade, but put them in sun since they seem to like it better. No fragrance on the flowers as far as I can tell, but since they seem to be constantly hosting those small bumblebees, I don't get my nose all that close anyway.

This is 'Rose Satin', introduced with 'Blue Satin' a few years ago. I think there might be another too, in addition to the doubles which I'll do tomorrow. This flower is about the same size as the 2 previous ones, maybe 3 inches across.

This is 'Aphrodite' which is a slightly lighter pink, a slightly smaller, wider bush, and a slightly wider flower at maybe up to 6 inches across. I think it is a clearer pink, also.

These aren't fancy or cutting edge, but they are dependable and bring a lot of color to the garden. Not especially good as cut flowers since each bloom doesn't last that many days, I do use them, removing the old blooms each morning to keep the bouquet fresh. They're low maintenance since once established they don't seem to require any supplemental watering except in severe drought and never need pruning unless you want to limit their size. If you do prune, do it right after bloom rather than in the spring since doing so in the spring will diminish bloom for that year.

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