Rose of Sharon is easy to grow, even for beginners, and is undemanding once established. It can adapt to many types of soil as long as the drainage is decent, and will even grow under black walnut trees. Acidic and neutral pH soils are preferred.
Choose a spot that receives at least 6+ hours of direct sunlight each day. All-day sun will be welcome in the coldest zones where this plant is hardy. Though it will survive in some shade, it’s best to find a good sunny spot, stand back and watch it do what it does best—bloom prolifically and bring in the pollinators.
You’ll need to keep the plant watered the first year while it is getting its roots established, but then it should be able to withstand mild drought in subsequent seasons. Rose of Sharon thrives in heat and humidity.
In areas that experience heavy snowfall, avoid planting Purple Pillar where it might be dumped on by snow falling off of the roof or nearby evergreen trees since this can bend or break its long branches.
If you are planting Purple Pillar as a hedge and want the plants to grow together into one solid row, space them about 3 to 4 feet apart. For stand-alone specimens, give them six or more feet of room to mature. Keep in mind that this upright columnar shrub won’t take up much space as it shows off its personality by growing up rather than out.
When planting, dig the hole about twice as wide but just as deep as the container it is growing in. If the roots are densely circled around when you take the plant out of the pot, loosen them up a bit to break the “root memory”. This will encourage them to grow outward instead of continuing to grow in a circular pattern.
Set the plant in the hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the surrounding soil. Then backfill the hole soil. Press it down with your hands and feet firmly to eliminate any big air pockets around the roots.
Lastly, water the plant again to help the soil settle. Water deeply but less frequently to encourage deep, healthy roots. Deep trickle watering is best when establishing shrubs and trees the first growing season. Spread some mulch around the base of the plant, taking care to keep it from touching the base or trunk of the plant. The mulch will help to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth and protect the roots during winter.