The Difference About Rose of Sharon vs Hibiscus

Many people think that hibiscus is a type of flower, and it is often compared to the Rose of Sharon. But in fact chinese hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. Meanwhile, Rose of Sharon a.k.a Hibiscus syriacus is a flowering plant of the Hibiscus type. Simply to say, all Rose of Sharon are hibiscus, but all hibiscus are not Rose of Sharon, do you understand?

Hibiscus seems to be known as one of the flowers referring to one of the varieties of hibiscus, namely Hibiscus rosa-sinensis or Chinese hibiscus. Whereas rosa-sinensis is also the same as Rose of Sharon, which is a variety that belongs to the genus Hibiscus.

Rose of Sharon vs Hibiscus

Well, people may wonder what the differences are between Rose of Sharon and rosa-sinensis (Chinese Hibiscus). Certainly, there are a few points which make them different, though they are both hibiscus.  So, let’s find out the differences between Rose of Sharon and rosa-sinensis in our post below!


In fact, there are numerous members of the hibiscus family. Some of them are tender and tropical in nature, and others are hardy landscape shrubs.

The Rose of Sharon or hibiscus syriacus is a great shrub for late summer bloom. This plant is potentially large with up to 8 to 12 foot shrub with lovely blooms in mid to late summer. Rose of Sharon is easy to grow which can be pruned for size in very early spring. It performs best in full sun in any reasonable soil. Then, the double flowered forms are very striking.

Chinese hibiscus or rosa-sinensis is a frost-tender tropical plant which is most often grown indoors in cold-winter climates. It’s hardy outdoors in your gardening zone. Then, the leaves are glossy deep green and plants can grow 30’high and 20’ wide.


The Rose of Sharon is from China which was found at higher elevations with subtropical to temperate climates. Numerous sources may cite that this shrub is native to the Middle East, but Flora of China revealed that this one was spread along trade routes from the Far East across other parts of Asia.

The Chinese hibiscus’ originality is unclear since it has been bred for centuries, initially by the Chinese. However, its believe that this variety originated in tropical southern Asia, likely southern China, as a red-flowering shrub.

Growth Habit

The Rose of Sharon definitely became more erect but oval in comparison. This variety matures everywhere from 5 to 13 feet tall and 4 to 10 feet wide.

And hibiscus rosa sinensis shrubs mature anywhere from 3 to 10 feet tall and equally as wide. The variety typically look rounded or as upright ovals. Uniquely, modern cultivars it usually grows in a variety of ways, from broad mounds to open or dense ovals.


The Rose of Sharon flowering occurs from mid-summer to mid-fall. Its flowers resemble trumpets with five petals and finally open wide, but not nearly so as the Chinese hibiscus. The flowers of this variety develop singly or in pairs, appearing from the bases of leaves anywhere in sun-exposed branches. Often the center of the flower is a contrasting darker shade of pink or red and the stamens are white.

The flowers happen on Chinese hibiscus any time or year, as long as the weather remains warm. The flowers consist of five petals which spread wide and flat around a slender floral tube. The solitary blossoms grow from the branch tips and twigs.

Additionally, flower colors of both varieties’ cultivars are highly variable and diverse.


The Chinese hibiscus foliage is evergreen. Each glossy green leaf blade of this chinese hibiscus looks like a broad-lance. The edges of the leaf show a few small teeth. Well, the common size is up to 6 inches long. Otherwise, Rose of Sharon leaves are winter-deciduous and smaller, maturing up to only 4 inches long.

The green leaf comes in a variety of shapes from broad ovals to triangular or diamond-shaped, sometimes with three shallow lobes. Moreover, the coarse teeth line the edges.

Plant Hardiness

Many temperate-zone gardeners love planting Rose of Sharon as it will survive significant winter cold in comparison. It will grow across USDA zones five through nine.

Chinese hibiscus grows where frosts and freezes do not occur. They are properly suited for USDA plant hardiness zones 10 and warmer.


Both Rose or Sharon and rosa-sinensis really require full sun, good drainage, deep watering, regular, and also frequent feeding.

If you prune both of them in early spring, it will encourage new flowering stems. Then, if you pinch out the tips of the new growth in the late spring and early summer, well, the flower production will increase a  lot.

If you water, make sure to apply liberally to wet the entire root system. You also have to feed the plants two weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer from spring through the end of summer. Ensure to pinch out the tips of the new stems and then your plant will produce blooms.

Most hibiscus varieties are widely used as ornamental plants as theri gorgeous flowers. Chinese hibiscus are commonly used for polishing shoes in India and as offering flowers. In China, the red flowers are generally used as food coloring.

In some countries, the leaves and the flowers are used in various traditional treatments. The dried hibiscus is also served as a tea. In Japan, hibiscus is often used as a hedge plant. This plant is called Gushōnu hana which means the flower of life after death, so it is widely planted in tombs.

Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus syriacus is known as the national flower of the Republic of Korea. In korean, hibiscus syriacus is called mugunghwa. The flowers do not have a festive look or smell quite strong, so they look normal. Therefore, this flower is considered to reflect the national character of Korean people.

Moreover, Hibiscus syriacus for Koreans symbolizes perseverance, determination and gentleness. Even though this flower has been favored for a long time, it was neglected as the national flower by the Korean during the Japanese colonial period (1910 – 1945).

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