Watering Rose of Sharon

Roses of Sharon, which have the Latin name Hibiscus syriacus, are resilient shrubs that adapt well to a wide range of conditions. In terms of watering, they prefer moist, yet well-drained soil, which sounds like a contradiction. How do you know if you are over- or under-watering your rose of Sharon?

In order for your rose of Sharon to thrive and grow beautifully, it wants a regular supply of moisture that has ample opportunity to drain away an excess. Translation? Plant in well-drained soil, such as sandy or loamy soil, and provide consistent moisture. The good news is that roses of Sharon can tolerate some dry conditions once established – it’s just not their preferred conditions.


How To Tell If Your Rose of Sharon Needs to Be Watered

If your rose of Sharon is needing more water, it may show yellowing leaves or in very severe cases, browning and crisping of the leaves. However, yellowing can also be a stress signal resulting from too much watering, so check the soil moisture one-two inches down with your finger before watering. Flower bud drop can also happen from either too much or too little water.

How Often to Water Rose of Sharon

When newly planted, you’ll want to ensure the plant stays consistently moist – not wet. That’s why good drainage in the soil or your container is crucial. It’s surrounding soil should neither be soaking wet nor dusty dry. It can take up to two years for a large shrub to establish in a new location, so it’s important to keep up that care through the first two growing seasons. A mulch may be beneficial during this time to help retain moisture if the soil is very sandy, or you are not home regularly.

As mentioned above, rose of Sharon can be drought-tolerant once established. After that, once your plant is settled and rooted, a deep watering (the equivalent of an inch of rain) once weekly under normal conditions should suffice. In times of severe drought, or excessive heat, you may want to double that. 

In a container, pick a pot with excellent drainage, and that you choose a potting mix that promotes drainage too. Avoid mixes containing “moisture crystals” which can create pools of moisture around roots that could cause rotting for drainage-loving rose of Sharon.


Best Time to Water Rose of Sharon

The ideal times to water your rose of Sharon, if you are overhead watering with a hose or watering can, are in the early morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day when much of the water will evaporate in the air. However, if your soil is dry, it’s best to water when needed – no matter the time of day. Irrigation watering can happen anytime.

How to Water Rose of Sharon

Step 1 – Set the conditions for success 

Choose a location with well-drained porous soil rather than heavy clay. For containers, standard potting mixes are fine, but skip those with “moisture crystals”.

Step 2 – Help establish your plant 

For the first two years in the garden, keep the plant lightly moist – not wet. A mulch may be helpful. If you see yellow leaves or buds dropping, check the soil before watering.

Step 3 – Keep your plant healthy

A deep watering once weekly should be fine in-ground; in times of excessive heat, double that. Containers will need more frequent watering in general, especially when young. Again, watch for signs of stress – yellow leaves or buds dropping can signal over or underwatering. Test the moisture of the soil with your finger before watering.



Rose of Sharon Watering Tips

  • Plant your rose of Sharon in well-draining soil or potting mix and consider mulching.
  • Keep your rose of Sharon lightly moist the first two years.
  • Check the soil before watering if your rose of Sharon is showing signs of stress.
  • Once established, provide a deep watering weekly, or twice weekly in times of heat or drought. 
  • Containers may need even more watering.
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Author Erica Browne Grivas - Published 1-25-2022