Monday, July 5, 2010

Althea, The Rose of Sharon

Posted by Picasa

This is the common Althea, the one sometimes called Rose of Sharon, and is a plant that can take care of itself. This single lavender with a red eye is commonly found at old home sites. In fact, that is where I got mine-it was here when we decided to build in this location, which was an old home site. The proper name of Althea is Hybiscus syriacus and it is a member of the cotton family as you can tell by a glance at the flower. Some posts on the internet indicate that it is an invasive weed for them, but I have never known this to be a problem wherever I have lived in the southeast. An occasional seedling may appear, but I am talking about one in 25 years. That is not what I call invasive. This plant typically starts blooming about high summer and continues through August. It does require some pruning to keep it in a manageable size, or not if you want the world's biggest bush.I have never tried to make a tree out of it and have never seen a tree Althea, but it might be possible to develop one with diligent pruning.
Right now the one I have has become so large that it is shading my Ramona clematis to the point where it has greatly reduced blooming. I am going to whack-a-roo soon. But I have no fear for the life of the Althea. It will spring back.
There are numbers of different colors and forms. I have a double light pink that I rooted from my mother's bush, and to me it looks like a paper carnation. There are doubles, singles,semi doubles, lavenders, pinks, purples,whites and all kinds. It is hard to beat for a carefree summer blooming shrub.
Oh yes. Cardinals like to make nests in them. Look for a nest about 3 feet off the ground.the closeness of the branches make an ideal platform for a nest. Unfortunately for redbirds, their nesting sites invite cat attacks.
Althea blooms at Hugo's birthday in early August. The first cake I ever made for him I decorated with these flowers, and I suppose necessity, the Mother of Invention made a special place for this shrub in my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips
Blogging tips