The Q&A Archives: Care For Hardy Hibiscus.

Question: I live in zone 5. This past spring I planted a hardy hibiscus, "Turn of the Century". I love the plant and want to do everything I can to see that it thrives, but I cannot find any information in any of the books that I have looked through. Does it need to be pruned, fertilized, how much, when do I start fertilizing? Anything you could tell me would help. I did mulch it for the winter. It is a beautiful plant with huge flowers. I'd really like to see it do even better this year.

Answer: This perennial hibiscus will die back to the ground during the winter and then re-emerge quite late next spring. You can remove the dead stalk in the fall and mark the spot where it is growing so you can find it again in the spring. You might give it a top dressing of well rotted manure or compost and/or a general purpose fertilizer according to the label instructions just as you would for your other perennials. It is a good idea to keep it mulched year round because it does best with ample soil moisture. It should just come up bigger and better each year. If you would like to see it branch a bit closer to the ground you may tip prune it lightly early in the season. Enjoy!

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