In the last post, I mentioned that hydrangeas like to make whoopee. Yet of all the flowering plants in the garden, Rose-of-Sharon is by far the whoopiest. I started with two plants, one with white flowers and the other with blue. Now, years later, I have so many colorful, blooming volunteers –white, blue, dark pink , light pink, multi shades of purple etc. — I don’t know what to do with them all. And they keep coming nonstop. My own fault. I’m so curious to see what colors will turn up, I hesitate to weed out the masses of tiny seedlings. Mea culpa!
If you want to avoid that sort of thing, there are sterile (mostly sterile?) plants available, like the lovely, pure white H.s. ‘Diane’ a.k.a. ‘Diana’. Years ago I was awestruck by the beauty of the allee at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. (Unfortunately, I’m told it no longer exists). But without self-sown seedlings, I would miss the joy of anticipation and surprise. In fact, when the plants produced sports with green and white variegated foliage, I was absolutely giddy. In my world, cause for celebration.
Rose-of-Sharon is an easy plant to grow: it will flourish in sun or shade, acid or sweet soil, and while it will naturally grow to tree size, it can also be hard-pruned and thrive as a small shrub with large flowers. Though reportedly prone to an assortment of pests and diseases, that’s not my experience; in my organic garden, these reliable summer bloomers have been uber-healthy and problem-free.
Do try them. With Mother Nature’s help, you may even wind up with a sensational volunteer that will knock your socks off.