Winterizing Hibiscus

(Question)

I was given a standard hibiscus which has many blooms on it yet to come out. It stands about 5 ft tall and is in a pot with a 12 inch height and diameter with good rich soil. Is it possible to bring it in for the winter? Do they winterize well or what can I do with it.

(Answer)

Many Canadian gardeners grow topical plants outside in the summer months and successfully overwinter them indoors.  Your standard hibiscus should be moved indoors well before the first frost. It will not survive outside.

There are several steps you should follow: First, check the plant for insects prior to moving it indoors. Hibiscus commonly attract whiteflies. Give your plant a good blast with the hose before bringing inside to dislodge any bugs, particularly the undersides of leaves. Remove any dead leaves and debris where insects may find shelter. It’s more than likely your hibiscus will lose its leaves shortly after moving indoors and the blooms may not open up. This is quite normal. New growth will eventually appear. Hibiscus overwinter best indoors if provided with bright light and warm temperatures. Keep the soil consistently moist, but do not allow the plant to stand in water. Its a good idea to repot your plant with fresh potting soil in the spring before taking back outside. At this time, prune back all leggy growth that has appeared and begin fertilizing with a well-balanced fertilizer every two weeks. Your hibiscus can be slowly acclimatized to the outdoors temperature and into full sun after all danger of frost has passed.

The following article published previously on the Toronto Master Gardeners website provides further information on your topic.

Hibiscus – Overwintering on Balcony