Hummingbirds Will Fall in Love With Rose of Sharon

The rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) bush in their front yard captured me on a recent family vacation in Michigan. Everything with wings was drawn to it!   

I took a lawn chair into the bush's shade one afternoon to watch for visitors for an hour. I soon discovered that rose of Sharon attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, wasps, and flies.  

The flowers also attracted gigantic swallowtails, enormous spangled fritillaries, and cabbage white butterflies.  

Dragonflies perched on the branches, and little songbirds flew over them. It was incredible how one tiny bush fed and housed so many backyard creatures.  

The Asian rose of Sharon is grown in zones 5–8 in the U.S. It grows well in most soils and blooms summer to fall. It can be pruned into a hedge or tree or left wild. Visit your local garden center for multiple cultivars or ask a friend or neighbor for a stem cutting to root.  

The 6-foot Chateau variety has many branches laced with pink, white, or rosy purple blossoms from summer to fall. The Diana is pure white at 9 feet tall. Blue Bird, another favorite, has a deep burgundy core and dazzling white stamen.  

In my garden, two rose of Sharon plants grow together. One flowers profusely, the other less. I tried fertilizers, but the blooms only bud. Birds & Blooms reader Don Buehler of Yardley, Pennsylvania, asks why.