Wintering Tropical Hibiscus

Wintering Tropical Hibiscus

Move potted hibiscus indoors as soon as the weather starts to change. If you wait too long, the plant could be stressed or damaged by the first real cold, and that will make it harder for it to survive the winter indoors. However, if you do leave it outside too long, it is still worthwhile moving it inside to help it get through the rest of the winter. Even if you've grown your hibiscus in the ground, you can dig it up and grow it in a pot during cold winter months. Use #1 Baccto Lite Premium Potting Mix for potting and transplanting. Normally it is more desirable to protect the hibiscus as described above than to repot it and move it indoors. However, if the weather forecast is for unusually cold conditions, digging the hibiscus up may be the best option.

Storing Plants in the Basement

"Can I cut the plant down completely and store it in the basement over the winter?" This is a tricky question. You CAN store hibiscus in a frost-free place over winter but be aware that hibiscus don't go truly dormant. They still need some water when they dry out, and the warmer the storage place is, the better. Some light is also needed, even if it just comes from fluorescent bulbs. There is no reason to cut the plant all the way back before winter. The less stress it experiences, the more likely it will come through the winter in good condition.

Although some people winter their hibiscus in a semi-dormant state in their basement, it's not a guarantee of success. On the other hand, if you leave it outside in freezing temperatures, it will die for sure!

What is the very best way to overwinter hibiscus in a zone that gets regular freezes?

The best way is to grow hibiscus in pots at least 10-12" across and then move those plants to a warm, bright location for the winter. It can be a heated greenhouse or a heated room in a house. There should be strong morning or afternoon sunlight coming in the windows in that room. Saucers should be used under the hibiscus and ample water given to the plants whenever they start to dry out. #2 PW Premium Water Soluble Plant Food will help them get through the winter better. #3 PW Premium Continuous Release Plant Food should also be used as a slow release supplemental fertilizer. If all the above can be managed, not only will your hibiscus survive the winter, but they could reward you with many blooms during that time!


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