I like to call landscape Althea the Rodney Dangerfield of the landscape. It stands out but just doesn’t get respect. Most people don’t know what plant family it belongs to or what name to call it using the names Althea, Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus). Confusion abounds with this woody plant being mistaken for herbaceous perennial Hibiscus or tropical non-hardy Hibiscus. Dangerfield said his family was confused too…… “during the Civil War my great uncle fought for the West.” Just like Rodney the woody Hibiscus is a late bloomer. Dangerfield sold aluminum siding until he finally got his break as a comedian in his mid-40’s. Hibiscus syriacus is not a spring bloomer, waiting until August and September to put on a show. No child prodigy here, the plant has difficulty leafing out in the month of May producing foliage well behind emergence of other woody plants. Often relegated to the border as an unruly hedge row, there is something to be said for the performance of this plant in August when others can wither in the heat. The key is to prune the plant hard in spring to keep it in line and to get bigger flowers in August. Just like Dangerfield who had a wife constantly keeping him in line…….”my wife had me join a bridge club, next Tuesday I jump off”, with smart spring pruning you can enjoy this colorful character in your landscape.