The Q&A Archives: Winter Care of Potted Hibiscus

Question: I have many hibiscus growing in large containers. Last winter, I cut them back and placed them in a sheltered outdoor area. They came back this summer and produced beautiful blossoms but they were very late doing so (mid July). Also, if I should cut themback, how much? I think maybe I cut away too much and that is why they were so late blooming. What should I do differently?

Answer: Pruning plants usually stimulates new growth, which is tender and succeptible to frost, so do your pruning during peak growth periods. Prune them as needed to keep them shapely - they can take it! Late-season pruning interferes with hardiness development, since active growth makes plants think "spring!" Stop feeding them now for the same reason. Cut back on watering, too, to keep the soil barely moist. This winter, try heaping soil and straw mulch over the containers, and mulch the plants with hay as well. Uncover them slowly in the spring to allow them to adjust to gradually warming temperatures. Enjoy!

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