When to Trim Rose of Sharon Bush

Written by bonnie grant
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When to Trim Rose of Sharon Bush
The Rose of Sharon produces a large fruit which resembles a small persimmon. (Rose of Sharon image by David Baker from Fotolia.com)

Rose of Sharon is a spectacular blooming bush that is in the same family as the mallows and hibiscus and produces bright, often pink, single-petalled blooms on a shrubby plant. Rose of Sharon benefits from spring pruning to increase blooms, remove old wood and reduce the size. Rose of Sharon is a late-leafing plant that gets its golden leaves in late May. They darken up over time to deep green, and the blooms arrive in July and continue until September.

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Rose of Sharon can be found wild in the wooded mountainous areas of China and India. The plant has a rather untidy appearance when not maintained and can easily grow 8 to 12 feet tall. The Rose of Sharon will broaden to 10 feet, making it a rather large and awkwardly rotund bush. The plant has no site requirements but will flower best in full sun. Continuously soggy soils are not beneficial, but the plant has excellent tolerance to drought conditions.

When to Prune

Pruning should be done before the Rose of Sharon has begun to bud or you will cut off the new growth. Midsummer blooming plants flower off of the current season's shoots. The ideal time would be in late March to early May, depending upon your zone. Early spring pruning will enhance the shape of the plant and encourage more flowers. It also forces lateral branching to help balance the shape of the plant. Rose of Sharon should be developed into a vase shape for optimum exposure and flower production.

How to Prune

The bush can get large quite quickly and requires pruning to keep it in check. Some gardeners actually cut it all the way down to 2 or 3 feet in late winter and allow the canes to come up fresh. The bush doesn't require pruning as it grows and flowers in the wild without human assistance. It helps the plant to reduce excess growth in the centre and provide circulation and to remove old dead wood. Any other pruning is done purely for aesthetics or to reduce size, but it will encourage more flower production.


Rose of Sharon is a prolific bloomer, and all those blooms tend to produce fruit. Fruit carries seed, and that means baby plants--lots of them. The bush can be littered underneath with baby Rose of Sharon plants. The bush has been known to escape cultivation. In fact, Connecticut has labelled it as having an invasive tendency. The plant is hardy to USDA Zone 5 but may experience winter die back. As a flowering hedge, Rose of Sharon is a brilliant border, but plants need to be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart at planting.

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