Aphrodite Althea (Rose of Sharon) – Ornamental Plant of the Week for

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Aphrodite althea (Photo by Allen Owings)

Althea goes by the scientific name of Hibiscus syriacus. When most gardeners view the plants, they are reminded of the hibiscus family, to which this popular, Southern heritage plant belongs. These plants are also referred to as rose of Sharon.

Aphrodite althea is a Louisiana Super Plant selection.

Althea is a durable landscape shrub. It can be used as an attractive, deciduous hedge or single plant specimen. Plants reach heights of 10 feet and are outstanding bloomers from late spring to early fall.

Aphrodite is a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant release from 1988 and has clear pink, heavily ruffled petals. A prominent dark red eye spot radiates along the veins to the mid-petal. Plants are erect growers and grow in a diversity of soil types, but they do best in a sandy loam with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Flowering is heavier and growth is more compact when grown in full sun. Light shade is acceptable for a long-term location.

Pruning in late winter is recommended, as the blooms will only appear on new growth. Flowers will only last a single day; however, they are quickly replaced. Soil moisture is important to assure constant blooming, so mulch your althea and provide regular watering during dry summer periods. Fertilize annually in spring after new foliage growth commences.

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