KC Gardens

Is my Rose of Sharon dead or should I give it more time?

Pruned Rose of Sharon.
Pruned Rose of Sharon.


I pruned my Freedom Rose of Sharon bush/tree in early spring this year as I do every year. However, I have no leaves or buds this time; just a few suckers growing up from the bottom. It usually grows to over 7 feet tall with masses of flowers. However, for the first time this year, nothing. It just looks like it's dead.

I did remove one large branch when (I was pruning) that was leaning off to the side and sprayed the open wound with pruning seal. I recently cut a piece off a limb and it still has green around the edges. Should I leave my bush/tree and wait and see what happens next spring or should I remove it now? Thanks - Rose


A number of plants have had problems this spring with the effects on last November’s cold spell. We dropped from a fairly warm day down into the teens. As a result many plants had extreme dieback. We have not seen as much damage to Rose of Sharon but I think this might be the issue. How long ago was it cut back? A stressed plant will take longer to develop new buds so give it at least a month to six weeks to develop the new growth. You might also check to see if the vascular system is alive. Take your fingernail and scratch under the bark – if it is green good, if it is brown or dry, the branch is dead. If the vascular system is dead cut back to the ground and allow the new shoots at the base to develop. If green wait a few more weeks and see if new growth comes out. The good news is the plant is coming back from the roots. Hope this helps. - Dennis