Bee Lunch: Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) provides a late summer treat

Hibiscus syriacusThe Rose of Sharon comes to life in late summer with a long lasting display of tropical looking flowers that last until fall.  This late summer blooming shrub provides both pollen and nectar for hungry bees trying to find food at the end of the summer dearth.  Mature plants can get to 10-12 feet tall and are hardy in the northwest if planted in a sunny location that gets regular water during dry stretches.  There are many varieties and colors available to pick from, but try to avoid the double petaled varieties that make it harder for bees to access the pollen and nectar.  Another plus is that blooms are produced on new growth so winter pruning isn’t going to set them back for the season.  The only negative is that they are deciduous and often stay in a long dormancy period coming out of winter and may look dead until early summer.