Tips for wintering tropical hibiscus

Most of us who enjoy the many and beautiful blooms of tropical hibiscus feel compelled to bring those potted plants into the house over the winter. I get asked quite often about when to take them in for the winter and what to do with them while they spend their time indoors.  The best time to bring them in is in early fall when nighttime temperatures start dipping into the mid-to-low 50s.  By now, that’s already been done, and so then the question is: how can gardeners take care of them so they remain healthy throughout the winter months until they can be once again be brought outdoors into the sunshine in late spring?

Choose the sunniest place in the house for hibiscus plants.  Keep in mind, they are tropical plants and subsequently do not like dry air. Make sure the plants get some humidity. One of the best ways to achieve this is to place a humidifier near the plants.  Extra watering does not take the place of humidity, and over watering could cause disease, root rot and pest problems.

Dropping of leaves is normal, especially when the plant is first brought indoors.  Clean up any leaves that have fallen off the hibiscus.  In a short period of time, you will start seeing new leaf buds forming.  If you’re lucky, you may get some blooming on the plant during the winter months, but if you don’t it’s nothing about which to be concerned.

The main goal here is to keep the plants healthy over the winter, even though they might not be looking their best.  In fact, by mid-winter, the plants could start looking pretty tired and worn, but as long as they’re holding onto their leaves and putting on new ones, they’ll be fine.   It’s important to resist the temptation to water the plant every time you think they start looking dry. Always check the soil before watering to make sure you don’t over water.  Of course, it’s critically important to make sure your plant is in a pot that allows good drainage.  Make it a habit every time you water to check the leaves for insects, especially All in all, a tropical hibiscus needs no more care indoors than traditional houseplants. When the hot days of summer are back and your hibiscus begins to produce those amazing blooms, you will know the effort was well worth it.

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