Purpureus variegated shrub hibiscus, or rose of Sharon, comes in many different varieties, but the one I find most striking is althea purpureus variegatus. This rose of Sharon is unlike the other varieties, and has beautiful variegated blue/green and velvety creamy white foliage from spring to fall. It flowers in late summer and the blooms resemble raspberries. The flowers are very tight and do not open entirely, like the other types. The blooms are dark purple or black in colour.
Another variegated variety is called sugar tip and, unlike the purpureus variegatus, the blooms open to reveal a double pale pink flower.
Plant these in full sun to part shade and prune in late fall or early spring.
Rose of Sharon can be used as a hedge or specimen shrub. Sugar tip and purpureus variegatus shrubs do not self-seed, so no pulling of seedlings is required like with some varieties.
They can be propagated by layering. Nick the branch, cover it with soil and place a rock on top until roots form — this could take up to a year — then cut the branch off below the roots.
This shrub will add lots of interest to your garden.
If you want to learn more about rose of Sharon and other plants, the Dunnville Horticultural Society meets on the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall, from September to June. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page. Club president Deb Zynomirski can also be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 416-566-9337.
Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.