Also known as the Rose of Sharon, Altheas are summer plants. And although named after rose, Altheas comes in an array of different colors, including pink, purple, blue, and even white.
Summer is not a usual time for attractive blooms, but you can plant Altheas to breadth life to your summer landscape. This deciduous flowering bush boasts extravagant tropical flowers that look alluring.
Althea Plant belongs to the hibiscus family and is one of the easiest plants to grow in your yard. So, if you are looking for plants that produce big blooms but require less maintenance, Althea could be the right fit.
This is also a good plant for beginners who are trying their hands in gardening.
Here, we will talk about Altheas and how you can grow these plants on your lawn or garden. So, are you ready to learn? Let’s start below.
Before we process further, let us check out some of the basic facts about Altheas.
|Common name||Althea or Rose of Sharon|
|Botanical name||Hibiscus syriacus|
|Height||3 to 13 feet Approx.|
|Blooming time||July to November|
|Hardness zone(s)||Zone 5- 8|
This is a low maintenance plant and requires only watering, fertilizing, and pruning primarily.
Types of Althena Plants
If you are new to Althea shrubs, it is better to learn about their types before planting them.
Altheas belong to the Malvaceae or “Mallow” family, and although it is often called the rose of Sharon, it is more of a Mallow.
There are different Altheas to consider with varying size, shape, color, and blooming time. You can choose your favorite plant type based on what looks good in your garden, the prevailing climate, and your personal preference.
#1. Aphrodite Althea
Just as the name suggests, Aphrodite Altheas look mesmerizing and also one of the largest varieties. This plant can reach up to the height of 10 feet. However, the most striking part of Aphrodite Altheas is its big rosy blooms.
The rosy tone of the flowers will surely add a dash of magic to your summer landscape under the clear blue sky. Each gorgeous blossoms are big enough to cover a diameter of 4 inches.
#2. Diana Althea
As beautiful as the late Princess Diana, Diana Althea is for you if you love pristine white flowers. The blossoms are big enough to catch people’s attention. The petals are pure-white tone, with a waxy texture and a ruffled shape.
Diana Altheas grow as shrubs, which make them an excellent choice as hedges or bushes.
#3. Azurri Blue Satin
Azurri Blue Satin is larger and reaches a height of 12 feet. So, if you have a big lawn, you can choose this variety of Althea to grow. Azurri Blue Satin can also be planted in a pot if you keep its growth under control by pruning.
The most striking feature of this variety is its large and stunning blueish flowers.
#4. Lucy Althea
Do you like pink roses? Then you will also love Lucy Althea. It is a fast-growing plant that reaches a height of 10 feet. But there’s more; this variety of Althea requires the least care so, plant it and give it some essential nutrition and you are done!
#5. Purple Pillar
Purple Pilar is an enormous variety of Althea that grows up to 16 feet tall and spreads around 3 feet. The flowers of Purple Pilar are incredible. The purple petals with a darker red center will immediately appeal to even the most somber of the mind.
Bonus Read: How to Care for Alocasia Silver Dragon?
Benefits of Althea Plants
Althea flowers look amazing and can add magic to your garden. But apart from the beauty factor, this plant also has other benefits that can encourage you to grow them in your lawn or backyard.
Easy to Maintain
This property of Althea Plants is possibly their USP, and we have already mentioned it. These shrubs do not need much attention to grow. You just need to water and prune them in time, and they are all good to go. So, if you have less time in hand for gardening, Altheas could be your right fit.
Althea flowers are big and showy, which attract butterflies and other pollinators. Hence, if you want butterflies to visit your garden regularly, Altheas can be a great option. Also, if you wish the bees to help pollinate other plants in your garden, growing these pants will serve you well.
Since Altheas are perennial plants, you just have to plant them once, and you can enjoy the flower show every year.
Can be Potted
Although this plant can grow as tall as 16 feet, if you prune it well, you can grow in pots as well. So, if you do not have proper soil in your garden, you can simply prepare the soil mix in the pot and grow it there.
Preparations to Plant Altheas
Now, let’s focus on how to prepare your garden to plant Altheas.
The Right Place
Choose an area that is clear of debris and has well-drained soil.
Altheas love sunlight; hence, preparing a spot that receives ample sunlight is essential for your plant.
The Suitable Variety of Plants
Next comes choosing the right type of plant. You are well aware of the different types of Altheas by now, So, choose a variety that suits your garden’s size and your personal preference.
Prepare the Soil
You would also need to prepare the soil to plant the new sapling. The soil can be prepared by amending it with compost or fertilizers.
Transferring the new Sapling
Transfer of a new Althea sapling is best done during the dormant winter months. Doing so will help the new tiny plant to develop roots throughout the winter and spring months.
Growing Altheas in Garden
It has been stated several times by now that you can easily grow Althea Plant without much effort. But this is only possible if the plant is growing in a conducive environment.
Here, we will talk about the steps that will make it possible for you to plant and grow your plant in the preferable ambiance.
Some of the ideal conditions to grow your Althea in may include:
- Full Sunlight:
Althea Plants love sunlight. Hence, planting them in an area that receives at least 5 hours of daylight is suggested.
- Vast Area:
These plants can grow large and wide. Therefore, if they do not get enough space while growing, they may push away other plants in the garden. So, you would need to provide them with the room depending on their varieties.
- Well-drained Soil:
We have already mentioned that Altheas need well-drained soil. Soggy or water-logged soil may cause roots to rot and give rise to other issues as well. Also, you should not plant your Althea in a muddy area.
- Soil pH level:
The aptest pH level of solid for this plant is between 5.5 and 7.5. Therefore, testing the soil pH level before planting is suggested.
Time to Plant
Are you wondering what the right time to grow your Althea is?
Timing is crucial, as it would ensure that your plant is growing in the suitable environmental condition, without any or little interference from insects and pests.
The aptest time to plant Altheas is between spring and winter. That being said, as we have mentioned above, if you plant the new sapling in the winter, it can grow the roots throughout the winter and spring months.
Temperature & Humidity
Next comes the temperature and humidity level.
Althea shrubs are heat lovers and can handle high humidity if there is good air circulation. That being said, this shrub can also withstand freezing temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since Altheas grow large, it is always recommended to plant them at a spacing of 3 to 6 feet, depending on the variety. However, some of the types like Purple Pillar may demand space of at least 10 feet.
Steps to Grow Althea Plants
After learning about the conditions under which Altheas can grow, it is now time to grow your Rose of Sharon.
- Before you plant your sapling, you would need to dig a hole twice the width of the pot.
- Loosen the root balls of the Althea Plant by squeezing the sides of the container carrying it. Then hold the base of the container and the plant to pull the latter.
- You can cut the sides of the container and remove the althea root ball. Then gently spray some water and loosen up the soil around the roots.
- Place the Althea root ball into the hole that you have dug. Keep in mind to hold the root at the level equal to the ground.
- Fill the hole with the amended soil (refer to the above section for soil preparation).
- Remember not to suffocate the Althea root by putting excess soil on the root ball.
- Water the area sufficiently, but do not make the soil soggy.
- Cover the area with mulch to conserve water and reduce the frequency of watering. In addition, the (wood) mulch would decompose and add nutrition to the soil.
Steps to Care for Althea Plants
Although an easy-going plant, Altheas need a little effort to get them going, significantly when growing from saplings.
Watering is the utmost crucial thing to consider. We have mentioned severally that these plants love well-drained moist soil. So, keep in mind to water your plant once or twice weekly. You should check if the soil receives at least 1 inch of water every week.
Next comes fertilizing. As you have prepared the soil before planting your Rose of Sharon, it would add nutrition to the plant. Remember, your plant is not a heavy feeder but may prefer a fertilizer that is high in potassium (K), low in phosphorus (P), and medium with nitrogen (N) concentration.
You can also use organic compost and layer the soil with it once a year.
Pruning is essential to keep your plant in good size and shape. Altheas are suitable for hedging, so cutting the regular is necessary. But avoid pruning if your plant is flowering. Instead, wait until the flowering season is over and then prune the dead branches from the mother plant by hand.
You can also prune it from the base to give it a shape of a tree.
Adding mulch at the button of your plant can help it enormously. Adding organic mulch mainly helps the solid retain moisture for a longer time and protect the plant from the harsh freezing temperature.
Deadheading the dried blooms can encourage better flowering. In addition, it also prevents seed pods from forming in abundance.
Altheas generally do not need any special winter care in the hardy zones. However, they should be kept in an area protected from strong, dry, and chilling winds. If you live in colder regions, adding some extra layer of mulch can insulate the plant. But remember not to suffocate your plant in the process.
#7. Pest & Disease
To care for Althea’s is to protect them from common pests and diseases. The primary pest problem of this plant includes the Japanese beetles. These beetles can eat away Althea leaves. So, it is better to check on them before they cause damage. You can simply pick them up and throw them away or kill them by dropping them into a container filled with soapy water.
Other pests that may bother this plant are Blight, Aphid, and Canker.
Among the diseases your plant can face :-
- Leaf spot
- Leaf rust
- Bud drop
- Root-knot nematodes
Using pesticides and checking on your plant regularly might help keep your garden and plant safe from pests and diseases.
Ans. Altheas have a medium growth rate and grow about one to two feet per year. Therefore, it may take somewhere between 4 and 6 years to mature (depending on the variety).
Ans. The Rose of Sharon produces flowers during the summer season. The flowers are at their peak during July and August.
Ans. Yes, Althea is edible. This plant is a rich source of vitamin C, and you can consume its flowers, bark, and even leaves.
Ans. No, this plant is non-toxic to humans, cats, and even to dogs.
Ans. Your Althea buds may be dropping because of scorching temperature, high humidity, heavy rainfall, or harsh wind.
Althea Plants or Rose of Sharon are ornamental plants that you can grow in the summer months. These lively plants with large blooms will surely brighten up your summer garden and landscape.
These are low-maintenance plants, and you can simply follow the steps mentioned above to grow and care for them. Grow them as they would or prune them to give them a shape- anything would look great on these lovely flowering plants.