Roses of Sharon add color when most plants aren't blooming

Published: Sunday, Aug. 19 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

"Diana" has white flowers; "Helene" has white flowers with a red center; "Aphrodite" has dark pink flowers with a red center; and "Minerva" has lavender-pink flowers with a red center. "Lady Stanley," "Ardens," "Lucy" and "Blushing Bride" are also popular.

New introductions from Proven Winners include Lavender Chiffon, "Notwoodone"; White Chiffon, "Notwoodtwo"; Blue Satin, "Marina"; Blush Satin, "Mathilde"; and Violet Satin, "Floru."

The plants prefer full sun to partial shade exposure and moist, well-drained soils with abundant organic matter. However they adapt well to most soils as long as the pH is not too high. Avoid poorly drained soils and avoid overwatering, as the plants will likely develop iron chlorosis.

The blossoms are formed on the twigs that grow in the summer, so prune the plant in late winter, not in the summer. Otherwise you will cut off the flowers buds that flower that season. Prune to keep the plant at the right size. Heavy pruning before leaves appear gives fewer but larger flowers. Minimal or no pruning gives more but smaller flowers.

One drawback is that with some cultivars, the flowers close after one day. These often take several days before they drop from the plant or they sometimes develop brown seedpods, making the plants less attractive.

Check out these mallow relatives at your local nursery. They just might be a great addition to your favorite plants.

Garden tips and events

This week's Garden Talks in the Park will focus on the principles of designing your own Garden of Eden. The talk will take place Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m. at Brigham Young Historic Park on the southeast corner of State Street and North Temple. No tickets are required and all ages are welcome.

Red Butte Garden is offering a class on native seed collecting on Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants will visit the natural area of the garden to collect native seeds. They'll also learn when to harvest, how to handle seeds after collection, and where and how to plant them for best germination results. Plant lists and seed collection envelopes provided. Bring hand pruners. Registration is required. The course is limited to 30 participants. Cost is $16 for members; $20 for nonmembers. To register call 801-581-8454.

Larry A. Sagers is a horticulture specialist for the Utah State University Extension Service at Thanksgiving Point.

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