The Q&A Archives: rose of sharon

Question: I have a rose of sharon that is on the east side of the house. It starts out pretty upright but droops a lot by the end of the summer. Is this ok or should I stake it up or move it?

Answer: Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) really does best in full sun all day long, but it will grow and bloom in a half day of sun. In the lower amount of light, it may seem a bit leggy, especially if it is overfertilized. If it is a new plant, you might consider moving it to a sunnier location. If it is an established plant, it would be difficult to move it as they have deep root systems.

Make sure you are not overfertilizing with nitrogen. If it is adjacent to a lawn that is regularly fertilized, do not fertilize the shrub in addition to that. If it is in a shrub bed, an annual top dressing of compost along with a spring application of a complete granular or slow release fertilizer with an anyalysis such as 10-10-10 per the label directions should be ample.

You can also trim it back quite hard in the early spring. This will shorten the branches and encourage it to be denser. (Do not prune it during summer as that will limit flowering.)

Finally, a young plant is more flexible and will bend more than an older, woodier plant so a new plant may bend quite a bit. It does normally bend at the tips when in full bloom, but a mature plant should not be bending so much that it seems to be weeping.

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