Hibiscus flowers have such a distinct look that they’re easy to pick out from a distance. You likely love keeping these plants in your garden because of how eye-catching they are.
It’s easy enough to care for these plants during the spring and summer. Things are a bit different when the winter months approach, though.
If you’re new to caring for hibiscus plants, you might not be sure how to handle winter care. Are there special things that you need to do to keep your them in good shape?
Continue reading for tips that’ll help you to care for your hibiscus in the winter to keep it healthy all year long.
Most Perennial Hibiscus Plants Will Be Dormant During the Winter
Most of the perennial varieties of hibiscus plants will be dormant during the winter. They actually start to enter dormancy during the final days of fall.
The dormancy period will typically last until the end of winter. When a hibiscus plant begins to enter a dormant state, you’ll notice that its leaves will start to lose color.
You’ll see the flowers drop and new growth will stop for a while. Take all of this as a message that you need to start doing your best to help your plant get through the winter months.
Trying to protect your plant from the cold will be ideal. You can do this by placing winter mulch around the plant to protect its roots.
There are many types of mulch that can be used as winter mulch to insulate your hibiscus plant. Some people buy winter mulch from a store, but you could use pine straw or compost if you’d rather go that route.
If you see your plant form buds and then drop them, you shouldn’t worry. This is actually normal during the winter and it occurs due to the stress that the plant is under.
Protecting your plant in this fashion should allow it to make it through just fine. When the spring comes, you’ll be able to see gorgeous flowers once again since you protected the plant to the best of your ability.
Watering Hibiscus Plants During Winter
You have to keep watering your hibiscus for it to thrive. Of course, you’re going to want to make some changes to how often you water it during the winter months.
To get the best results, you’ll need to manually check the soil to see if your hibiscus needs to be watered. Since the air is significantly drier during the winter, it isn’t going to dry out nearly as fast.
If you water it the same as you normally do, you’re going to drown it. That’d be horrible for it and it likely wouldn’t survive the winter.
You do need to water your hibiscus during the winter, but you need to water it a lot less than usual. Check the soil condition with your fingers to ensure that the topsoil is dry.
When you’ve confirmed that the plant needs to be watered, you’ll be able to go ahead and water it. Simply be careful not to go overboard and never water it without checking the soil first.
Watering the plant too much will cause it to die. Now that you know this, it’s much more likely that you’ll avoid making that mistake.
Some People Winter Their Hibiscus Plants Indoors
You don’t have to bring your hibiscus plant indoors if you don’t want to. However, it’s interesting to know that many people choose to do so.
If you’d like to winterize your hibiscus plant and care for it in an indoor environment, you’ll want to get started a bit early. If you wait until it’s too late, it’s going to be tougher to get good results.
You should dig the hibiscus plant up before the temperature starts to drop really low. This means that you’ll want to dig it up at some point in the fall.
In many places, you’ll need to dig it up during the earlier days of fall. How soon you need to dig it up will depend on how cold it gets during the fall in your region.
Once the plant has been dug up, you’re going to need to find a pot that is appropriately sized. The pot has to be able to fit the hibiscus comfortably, and it should also be easy enough to use while transporting it.
If you want the hibiscus to continue flowering, it’ll be helpful to add a bit of acidic potting mix to the soil. This can make it more likely that you’ll see blooms despite the transplant shock.
Once it’s indoors, you’ll be treating it as you would a normal indoor plant. You might notice some troubling signs such as yellow or brown leaves despite your best efforts.
This isn’t actually a cause to worry. Hibiscus plants are tropical and they simply stop looking glossy once they’re brought indoors.
If you find that keeping it in a container is convenient, you could consider continuing to do so. Some choose not to put the hibiscus back in the ground because they’ll just have to dig it up when it starts to get cold again anyway.
You might find it to be more practical to care for hibiscus plants indoors in your area. It’s still possible to transport them outdoors and keep them on a porch or deck while in a container.
Remember to Wash the Plant Before Bringing It Inside
If you want to keep your other houseplants safe, it’s going to be imperative to wash your hibiscus plant before bringing it inside. Outdoor plants are exposed to many pests and germs that indoor plants don’t have to deal with.
You don’t want to transport certain insects inside your home when you’re moving the plant. A simple rinsing will make it so that you won’t have to worry so much.
It won’t take long to wash the plant and it’ll help to give you peace of mind. Try not to forget to do this before you show the hibiscus plant to its new spot inside of your home.
Don’t Fertilize the Hibiscus During the Winter
It’s better to avoid fertilizing the hibiscus plant during the winter months. Avoid fertilizing it again until the early days of spring.
If you were to fertilize the plant while it was in a dormant state, that could throw things off. Technically, you might be able to get away with this in a greenhouse environment, but it isn’t necessary.
Give the Plant Enough Sunlight
When you take the hibiscus plant indoors, it’s going to be wise to find a good spot where it will receive enough sunlight. These plants do well when they get plenty of direct sunlight.
You might need to move the plant around in your house to get it the light that it needs. Sometimes it’s best to give it a couple of hours in front of one window before moving it to another spot where it can receive more sun later in the day.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.