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How Do I Care for a Hibiscus in Winter?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 16, 2024
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Proper care is essential for a hibiscus in winter. These are tropical plants that are not designed for cold temperatures, so it is usually recommended that these plants be brought indoors before cold weather arrives, at least before the first frost of the season occurs. In addition to providing a properly controlled temperature, the hibiscus in winter has different watering needs than during the summer months. Ensuring adequate lighting and providing the correct amount of fertilizer are additional concerns for the hibiscus in winter. Taking these precautions can keep this beautiful plant healthy, green, and ready to be planted into the yard once again after the weather begins to become warmer.

Those who live in warmer climates may be able to properly take care of the hibiscus in winter without moving the plant to an indoor location. The area of the plant around the root and main stem should be mulched over before adding a thick layer of compost or leaves. The entire plant should then be carefully wrapped in a specially designed frost cloth for added protection from cold temperatures. For a little extra warmth, outdoor holiday lights can be placed underneath the frost cloth and turned on during particularly cold winter nights. Providing adequate warmth for these tropical plants is the most important step in making sure that they survive the winter.

Preparation for taking care of a hibiscus in winter actually needs to begin long before the arrival of colder temperatures. Large plants should be pruned and trimmed so that they remain healthy yet small enough to transplant into pots before moving them inside. The plant will grow more slowly during the winter months and should remain a manageable size without overtaking the house. Ensuring adequate amounts of light is essential for the hibiscus in winter. If it is not possible to place the plant near a window where it will receive both morning and afternoon light, artificial lighting, such as a lamp, may be used instead.

The hibiscus in winter does not need as much water as during the warmer summer months, so care should be taken to not over-water the plant. The plant should not be watered at the first sign of dryness, but rather just before the soil becomes dry underneath the surface. The basic rule of thumb is to water the plant once the soil feels dry to the touch. A water-soluble fertilizer should be used approximately once per month in order to ensure the health of the hibiscus in winter.

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