The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus - Growing Indoors In Winter

Question: I have a hibiscus plant purchased last summer or spring which bloomed beautifully during the summer months. I have now brought it indoors and hope to have it survive the winter indoors. The leaves are beginning to yellow and some are dropping and I expect more to do the same. What can I do to keep it alive for next summer?

Answer: The yellowing is fairly typical of a hibiscus when it is moved indoors abruptly. It may lose more leaves, but don't despair. Keep it in a bright location and barely moist and be patient. It should come back in a few weeks. Ideally, to bring in a tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus sinensis) growing as a potted plant, you first need to check it all over for pests and then gradually begin acclimating it to the lower light levels it will have indoors. Move it gradually to a shadier location. It should be ready to come in for the winter before temperatures drop below about 50F. Then move it indoors to the sunniest spot you have. Keep it out of drafts and keep the humidity around it high if possible. Expect some yellowing of leaves in protest of the move. Reduce watering and fertilizing as the plant's growth slows. In spring, reverse the process to reacclimate it to the outdoors. Good luck with your plant!

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