Rose of Sharon

(Question)

Hi,

A friend gifted me a Rose of Sharon but I live in a condo and understand that generally they are planted in a garden. Is it possible to grow it in a pot outdoors on the balcony (south facing with no obstruction, full sun all day long)? Would I bring it indoors during winter? Thank you.

(Answer)

What a lovely gift!

Rose of Sharon can be grown in a container on your balcony (I assume you are in the Toronto area) but, is unlikely to survive winter outside in Toronto unless it is planted in the ground. So, you would need to bring it inside for overwintered.

Here are some considerations for growing Rose of Sharon.

  • Rose of Sharon likes to grow in sunny or part shade conditions. During the hottest summer days, given your balcony is in full sun, you may need to provide some shade for your plant. For example, you could set up a fabric shade cover.
  • This plant likes rich, moist, humusy soil that drains well. Make sure the plant is potted in a quality potting mix and repot annually.
  • The plant pot should be large enough so the plant is not root bound.
  • The soil dries out faster on a balcony due to high winds and the fact that plants are in containers. Any overhang from the next floor up will also reduce the amount of rain your balcony containers will receive. So, monitor your plant regularly and water whenever the soil seems dry. Mulching the pot with a 2 to 3-inch layer of organic material can help retain moisture.
  • Plants in containers require regular fertilization. For Rose of Sharon, use a balanced fertilizer — one that’s equal in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium — about once every three weeks during the spring and summer months. The University of Minnesota Extension Service advises using only half the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. Because growth stops in the winter, there’s no need to fertilize in winter.
  • Your Rose of Sharon may require a little pruning to keep it to a reasonable size for a balcony. Prune in early spring before the buds form, or in late fall after the leaves drop, or in winter. Note that pruning back branches to about three buds in the spring results in more flowers during the growing season.¬†Note for spring pruning: Rose of Sharon is a late starter and some branches will leaf out before others. Some branches may appear to be dead when they are still quite alive.

Good luck with your Rose of Sharon.