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Thread: Rose of Sharon/Stunted Shrubs

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Rose of Sharon/Stunted Shrubs

    I’m trying to figure out whether to give my Rose of Sharon another chance or not. They arrived as sticks about 7-8 years ago and have been moved twice. They really have grown no more than original stick size of about 3 feet. They will bloom. Although of the 4 planted in a row on the west side of my house only the ones that were furthest from the south side(closest to north side) bloomed; their leaves were dark green and they looked well—short, but well. The other two exposed to sun had light green leaves and did not look well. This tells me that these particular plants do not like full afternoon sun and probably not full sun at all. Admittedly, they are currently in very sandy soil(my bright idea years ago to counteract the clay). I intend to remedy that this fall by improving that soil(I will probably start by actually adding soil HA !
    So, any thoughts on whether the change in soil will encourage them to grow to new heights or are they just destined to be Bonsai ROS for evermore ?
    Last edited by Dazed_Lily; 09-17-2003 at 12:14 PM.
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Western Michigan near Muskegon
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    Cathy,
    I too have kinda the same problem. 2 yrs. ago planted 2 (divided from 1) and last yr. they did good. Got about 41/2 ft.
    This year one that gets a little more sun and in more consistently moist humusy soil is about 5 ft. The other gets more shade and is in sandy soil, it is about 1 1/2 ft. It gets way more shade than last year, but dries out quicker. So I figure my little one is getting moved to more sun with added humus! They do like lots of water.
    Happy Growing,
    Vicki in West. Mich.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Rose-of-Sharon/Althea/Hibiscus syriacus reportedly does well in full sun, or part shade, in most any soil type, except extremely wet or dry.

    A few of cultivars like 'Diana' and 'helene', are naturally puny and weak. If those are what you have, give up on them.

    Also, your 'soil improvements' may be contributing to their weakness. Adding sand to clay soil is nearly impossible to do right. You either do not add enough, and get brick hard soil, or too much and get a soil that will not hold nutrients long enough for the plant to use. Many times that method turns the planting area into a bowl that collects water in the rain and holds it just long enough to suffocate part of the roots. After that the surrounding soil withholds the moisture in the clay and you have an very planting area.
    Last edited by Tom; 09-17-2003 at 11:23 AM.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  4. #4
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    They are neither of the 2 wimpy cultivars mentioned. I don't know exactly what they are but they are double bloom lavendar with dark maroon eyes and the flowers turn blue after peak bloom. Good point about the sandy soil. I never considered some of those aspects. I'll give them one more shot in good soil. I still think they don't like full sun though.
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    Cathy,

    Those are all good pointers that Tom and Vicki gave you. I also have clay soil, but not as heavy as some that I have seen. Typically, my top soil is very good, but down underneath all that is the hard red clay.

    Your ROS will thrive with lots and lots of water. They seem to do best here in full sun despite our heat, but I have seen some that are well established and huge that get no sun before noon.

    I try to amend my hard clay soil with the peat moss that you purchase in inexpensive bails. I do not always have enough really good compost for all my best.

    I have noticed that it takes longer for the double blossomed varieties to really start growing, but I agree that by now, you should be seeing more upward growth. At least I would think so....

    You might try the addition of fertilizer. I have heard that the systemic rose food works quite well with plants in the hibiscus family, but I haven't tried it yet.

    Also, my double bloomers do not grow nearly has fast are as big as the more common single varieties.

    And they do adore it when their 'feet' are kept moist.

    Hope that helps...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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