Gardener Bloggers Bloom Day: ‘Sugar Tip’ Rose of Sharon

Sugar Tip double flowers

Sugar Tip double flowers

Today is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, the 15th of the month. Seven years ago, I was given a cultivar of the rose of Sharon shrub called Sugar Tip (Hibiscus syriacus) by Proven Winners Color Choice. I was unsure as I knew rose of Sharon plants were weedy, self-seeders. Like tall, thin cowboys, they provide lanky silhouettes across our Virginia countryside, too common to actually purchase and plant in one’s garden. But I had a particular space against the back fence that needed shrubs in full sun so I planted the cowboys, knowing they could take anything. Fortunately for me, my Sugar Tip plants grew to be large, robust shrubs, about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Although their shape is still vase-like at the bottom, at the top they are broad enough to screen out the view of the neighbors in the back forty. Unlike the species, Sugar Tip’s foliage is variegated green and cream and the entire bush is studded with pink, double flowers that look more like roses than the few simple, hibiscus-like flowers on the species.

Sugar Tip buds

Sugar Tip buds

In addition to beauty, my Sugar Tip shrubs grow in full sun, too far away from the garden hose, so the only water they receive is rain. Rose of Sharon is a “low maintenance,” deciduous shrub, tolerant of our Virginia heat and humidity. I never fertilize and I don’t prune (or worse, spend time deadheading the spent flowers), yet my Sugar Tip bushes thrive in the summer and bloom continuously until the fall. Try growing a variegated rose of Sharon cultivar such as Sugar Tip instead of the species and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sugar Tip variegated leaves

Sugar Tip variegated leaves

3 responses to “Gardener Bloggers Bloom Day: ‘Sugar Tip’ Rose of Sharon

  1. I am very glad to know about Sugar Tip rose of sharon. The regular shrubs would be too big for my new garden I think, but Sugar Tip looks delightful. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Beautiful photos. Looks like a great variety to try. I love the low maintenance part. Right now I have some knockout roses and my wife has another variety (not sure what she picked), both of which require a little more cutting back than what I wanted. Maybe I should give the sugar tip rose a try.

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