Lucy Red Althea is a shrub variety from the rose of Sharon family. The plant may be grown as either a shrub or an understory tree. Like many rose of Sharon plants, Lucy Red Althea is a hearty mallow hibiscus. The plants bear pink or red blossoms with double leaves from spring until fall. In fall the plant's leaves change color and drop. Lucy Red will grow well in zones 5b through 9b, where they have slow growth and are moderately drought tolerant.
Things You'll Need
- Garden hose
- Pruning shears
Prepare a location to plant Lucy Red in a partially shady area. The tree will tolerate a wide range of soil, from heavy clay to heavy sand, but does well in a loamy, organic soil.
Break up the soil to a depth of 12 inches with a spade. Be careful not to damage the roots of any nearby trees. Spread compost over the soil at a rate of 3 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet. Mix the amendments into the soil with a rake. Lucy Red will avoid problems such as leaf drop if it is grown in a nutrient-rich organic soil that retains moisture. Leaf drop occurs when the moisture in the soil fluctuates to an extreme degree.
Open a planting hole in the soil that is twice as wide as the Lucy Red Rose of Sharon's root ball. Do not plant the tree too deeply. Set the top of the root ball at the soil line. Place the tree in the planting hole and fill in the rest of the hole with the soil.
Cover the tree's root ball with a 3-inch layer of mulch. Pull the mulch away from the stem of the tree in a 3-inch circle. The mulch will help keep the moisture in the soil from fluctuating.
Water the tree until the ground is as damp as a wrung out sponge. Lucy Red Althea Rose of Sharon will not need to be watered after this point. Too much water can also cause leaf drop.
Prune Lucy Red Rose of Sharon in late winter to control the size. The tree blooms from new growth.
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