The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus Adjusting to Indoor Living

Question: I was told by a friend to bring my hibiscus in the house for the winter. I placed it in the bathroom where there is a lot of light. It's still blooming and and want to know how to care for it as a houseplant. I can see some brown spots on the leaves as if something has been eating them. What do I do about that?

Answer: Since you've already moved your plant indoors, place it in the sunniest spot you have. Keep it out of drafts and keep the humidity around it high if possible (bathrooms tend to have high humidity). Expect some yellowing of leaves in protest of the move. Reduce watering and fertilizing as the plant's growth slows. If these conditions are met, it should keep blooming throught the winter. Keep an eye open for any pest problems that might arise, and use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil as directed to take care of them.

In the spring, when the nighttime temperature remains above 50F, ease your plant back outdoors, gradually exposing it to brighter conditions and to wind so that it can adjust comfortably.

Brown spots might indicate a disease, a cultural problem, or insect activity. If only a few leaves are affected, pull them off the plant and destroy them, then watch carefully to make sure no other leaves are affected.

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