White Chiffon® Rose Of SharonHibiscus syriacus ‘Notwoodtwo’ (PP# 12,612)
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Hibiscus syriacus ‘Notwoodtwo’ (PP# 12,612)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon is a rounded deciduous shrub carrying many large, pure-white flowers from mid-summer into late fall. It grows between 6 and 12 feet tall, depending on how you prune it, and it’s perfect for late color in all your beds, or in a large tub. It makes a lovely informal barrier too, and it’s reliable even on poor soil and along the coast. Almost no seeds are produced, so it isn’t weedy or invasive, and flowers continuously, without dead-heading.
Full sun is best for the White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon, although a few hours of shade is tolerated in hot areas. It thrives in any well-drained soil, and avoids pests, diseases and deer. Resistant to salt spray and drought, it needs very little attention to thrive. A simple trimming in early spring is all it takes to control the size and encourage profuse blooming.
White flowers are always welcome in the garden. They blend with everything, and look great in every garden style. They brighten the garden in the early evening, just when you are coming home from a busy day, because white still shows in soft light, when darker colors have faded away. There are many to choose from, but few that are as easy to grow across such a large part of the country, or that provide blooms so late in the season, as the White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon. A handsome rounded bush, it will grow to 12 feet if left untrimmed – great if you want summer screening, or for larger beds. With just a little spring pruning it can be kept to half that, and even smaller when grown in a planter box, where it will thrive for many years.
The huge flowers are like moons, glowing pure white with a ruffled center. They begin in mid-summer, and they are often still blooming when frost arrives. The secret to the long blooming period is in the inability of this plant to create seeds – it puts all its energy into flowers instead. This makes dead-heading unnecessary, as the flowers simply fade and fall away. Without seeds, it can’t become a weed problem in your garden or a larger problem in the wild areas around your home. Wow, what a string of virtues in a plant that is also beautiful and so easy to grow.
The White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that grows 12 to 24 inches a year, soon reaching 6 feet and ultimately growing to 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide, in good growing areas. The leaves are dark green and glossy, divided into three lobes, and a little less than 3 inches long.
Blooming begins around mid-summer, and continues more-or-less continuously well into fall, even until the first hard frost arrives. Each new branch produces a continuous profusion of blooms as it grows, and 1,000 blooms for the season on a single plant just 4 years old is normal. Each bloom develops from a fat, green bud, and opens into a broad circle of 5 petals. In the center of the bloom, there is a cluster of 30 to 40 tiny swirling petals, creating a double flower of great beauty. It is as if the moon has come to earth, wearing a garland of chiffon fabrics. Because of the double flower, few or no seeds are produced, so flowers simply wither and fall after a few days, and are gone – to be replaced by more and more.
The White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon is the perfect way to keep your garden blooming through the second half of the season. Plant it behind or among spring shrubs, to keep the show coming. Grow it as a striking and unique lawn specimen. Plant a row for a reliable and neat casual screen for summer privacy and beauty. Young plants can also be grown for many years in large tubs.
You can grow the White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon right across the country, from zone 5 on, in all but the coldest areas. It grows especially well in areas with long, hot summers, exactly where it can be so hard to find summer blooms. In areas with cooler, damp summers choose a sheltered spot with plenty of sun. Plants in tubs can be left outside all winter from zone 7. In colder zones it is best to either plant it temporarily in a bed for the winter, or store it in a cold shed or garage. Light isn’t needed while there are no leaves, but it does need low temperatures.
For a good display, plant the White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon in full sun. In very hot zones it can take a little afternoon sun, but shade will soon reduce flowering dramatically. Once established this plant is resistant to drought and even grows in salty soils and coastal areas. It grows in poor soils too, and almost anywhere where the soil is well-drained. Some soil preparation is always useful, but you will be amazed at how well this bush does in the toughest places. Just avoid wet ground.
Although drought resistant, even established plants appreciate a deep soaking with water during hot and dry periods, and will respond with a big flush of flowers. Generally free of pests and diseases, and usually ignored by deer, it is incredibly easy to grow – it’s almost ‘plant and forget’ easy.
To control the size it can be pruned in early spring. Shorten back branches that grow in the previous year – you can cut them back to just 2 or 3 buds to keep it very compact, without sacrificing any flowering, for example in pot-grown plants. Otherwise leave 9 to 12 inches of stem, and remove a few of the oldest branches close to the ground, beginning after a few years. Don’t trim in summer, as this can greatly reduce flower production.
Although called ‘rose’, the Rose of Sharon is a type of hibiscus, and often called ‘Hardy Hibiscus’. Known botanically as Hibiscus syriacus, because it first arrived in Europe from Syria, it is actually native to China and Korea. There have been different color forms available since it was first introduced around 1600. The variety we call White Chiffon® has only been around for less than 20 years, and it’s a fascinating story. Growing up in England around the end of World War II, Roderick Woods always loved plants, but he was directed into science when a boy, and became a renowned teacher and researcher of physiology and cell structure at Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh Universities. His love of plants never went away, though, and when he retired he started a whole new career breeding his enduring love, the Rose of Sharon. Pure pink became an obsession, and he bred many plants at his garden in Great Shelford, outside Cambridge. The result was a series he called Chiffon®, a name registered as a trademark by his American distributor, Spring Meadow Nursery, who released them as part of their Proven Winners® range. Available in several colors, we think that White Chiffon® is especially beautiful and valuable in the garden. Woods patented this plant in 2002 with the name ‘Notwoodtwo’.
Plant the White Chiffon® Rose of Sharon and you will be rewarded with a profusion of blooms for months on end. These newer varieties have become incredibly popular, and they sell out fast, so order now – you won’t be disappointed.