Sugar Tip® Rose Of SharonHibiscus syriacus 'America Irene Scott' (PP# 20,579)
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Hibiscus syriacus 'America Irene Scott' (PP# 20,579)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon is a great dual-feature deciduous shrub, with attractive white-edged glossy leaves that would be worth growing for that alone. There is so much more, though, once mid-summer comes and the first blooms open. A delicious true-pink, the double blooms cover the bush from mid-summer right through fall, and this sterile variety makes no seeds, so no dead-heading is needed, and there won’t be any troublesome seedlings sprouting everywhere. It’s compact and bushy, easily kept to 6 feet tall and wide, so it’s perfect in your shrub beds, or for growing in a tub.
Plant your Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon in full sun for the best leaf color and the most blooms. Any well-drained soil is suitable, even poor and dry soils, but some extra richness is always appreciated. Avoid wet areas, particularly in colder regions. Pests and diseases leave it alone, and so do deer (usually). A spring pruning is always good, but not essential, but avoid summer trimming, which will prevent blooming.
Double your pleasure, double your fun, and double the garden impact. It’s simple – simply grow the gorgeous Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon. The new take on a classic favorite is simple to grow too, so it’s a guaranteed favorite with everyone. While waiting for the beautiful pink double flowers to open in late summer, enjoy the beautiful variegated green and white foliage that’s delicious right from the get-go in spring. Vigorous but compact, a quick spring trim will keep it below 6 feet tall, or for larger spaces let it go and enjoy a larger shrub topping 10 feet. Either way, it’s a winner.
Older varieties of Rose of Sharon needed regular dead-heading to keep them blooming, but new ones like Sugar Tip® don’t produce any seeds, so the blooms just drop and disappear, and the bush just keeps on blooming and blooming, often right until a hard frost puts the brakes on. It’s easy to have early color in your garden, but much harder to keep it going all season. Let the Rose of Sharon now make it easy for you.
The Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon will grow about 12 inches a year when young, so it won’t belong before you have a beautiful compact shrub about 6 feet tall. Although that is usually about its full height, under good conditions it can grow taller. It has a dense, bushy growth pattern, so it’s easy to keep it controlled with a yearly trim, so this is one bush that isn’t going to get ‘out of hand’. A deciduous shrub, it’s bushy and leafy right to the ground, and even before flowering begins you will be admiring the handsome foliage. The leaves are about 3½ inches long, with a long, tapering form accented by two broad side-lobes and a slightly jagged edge. Each glossy leaf has a bold white border, which really makes it attractive, and a bright garden feature for that alone. You will be amazed to see that even the flower buds have green and white-striped exteriors.
Flowering begins around July, or even earlier in hot zones, and continues unabated well into fall, sometimes even after the leaves have yellowed and fallen. Clusters of buds develop at the ends of every new stem, and these open in sequence, each bloom lasting about 3 days, but followed by an unending flow of new flowers week after week. Each bloom is about 2½ inches across, opening into a circle of 5 overlapping petals. But these are hardly noticed, instead it is the profusion of smaller petals in the center, twisting and curling, forming a bright ball of elegance and charm. The petals are a beautiful true bright pink, enhanced by touches of dark red at the base of many of them. The impact of these colorful blooms on the white and green foliage is simply beautiful. Spent flowers simply shrivel and fall, with no need for dead-heading.
With its bushy, compact form, the Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon is a great addition to your shrub beds, bringing lots of color after the early flowering shrubs have finished for the year. Grow it along a path to be admired, or in a corner beside steps, or flanking an entrance. It’s also perfect in planters – so colorful it needs nothing more – and brightens terraces, patios and porches so easily.
Hardy even in zone 5, the Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon grows in hotter zones too, relishing hot, sunny weather, which gives maximum blooming. From zone 7 a plant in a pot can be left outdoors all winter, but in cooler zones, it is best to slide it out of the pot into a bed temporarily, before the ground freezes. Alternatively, you can store it in a cool shed or garage. It doesn’t need light in winter, but it does need low temperatures, so don’t bring it into a warm room.
You will have the greatest success with the Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon if you grow it in full sun, especially where summers are not so hot. Some organic material at planting, and regular watering until it is growing vigorously, is valuable, but always plant in well-drained soil. It will grow well in almost all kinds of soils – just avoid wet places, especially during the winter months.
Opinions vary on how much, if at all, deer will bother with your Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon, but everyone agrees that it is pretty much free of other pests or diseases. Don’t over-water, especially in cooler areas, but in hot places with very dry weather, it pays to give even an established plant a deep, thorough soaking from time to time. When grown in a tub, make sure you have a drainage hole, and only water when the top few inches are dry – but water thoroughly when you do.
As for pruning, it’s optional, but if you want to keep your bush nice and compact, trim back last year’s stems to between 6 and 12 inches, in early spring. In tubs, or on full-size plants, cut back harder, leaving just 2 or 3 buds for new growth.
Rose of Sharon is a species of hibiscus called Hibiscus syriacus. It’s closely related to the tropical hibiscus you might have grown as a houseplant, and wild plants have similar, if smaller, blooms. This plant has been grown in Europe since around 1600, when it came via Syria, where it had arrived long before along the Silk Route from China, its native home. This plant was incredibly popular until around the middle of last century, when it fell out of fashion. With new varieties that don’t make seed its enjoying a big revival.
Many of our new plants are created by professional breeders, but the Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon was found by an amateur gardener called Sharon Gerlt, who lives in Independence, Missouri. She had a plant of an old variety called ‘Lady Stanley’, and one day in 2001 she spotted a unique branch on that bush. It had different-looking flowers, and the green leaves had a broad edge of creamy white. She sent it to Tim Wood, Product Development Manager at Spring Meadow Nursery, Michigan. He helped her patent her discovery, and they released it as Sugar Tip® among their Proven Winners® range. It’s official botanical name is ‘America Irene Scott’.
Get all-season beauty from a late-season bloomer – plant the Sugar Tip® Rose of Sharon in your garden. It’s truly adorable and hugely popular, so order now. Everyone wants one, but supplies are limited.