The Q&A Archives: Tropical Hybiscus Care

Question: My father used to wrap his fig tree with carpet padding,leaves and plastic in the cold weather and it would comeback every year. I was wondering if I could do the same thing to my tropical hibiscus and save my poor back. If so, when would be the best time to do this and what specific materials would you reccommend and how would I best apply them? Thanks for any input.

Answer: Unfortunately, tropical hibiscus is far less cold tolerant than a fig so you will have to bring it inside. Ideally, here is what you would do for your tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus sinensis) growing as a potted plant: 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 but do not leave it outside when temperatures drop below about fifty (if you want it to bloom indoors later). 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.

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