The Q&A Archives: Roots On Hibiscus Plants

Question: I recently purchased a yellow hibiscus from you at a local nursery. When repotting, several roots were severed, resulting in dying leaves. However, the stems are still green. Will this plant make it and what should I do? This is an annual in my state and I do winter them inside.

Answer: Based on your description, I hope a good proportion of the roots are still attached to the plant thus maintaining a balance between the top and bottom parts of the plant. The plant will possibly die back somewhat to compensate to some root loss, however transplant shock could also account for leaf drop, as could temperature swings, drafts, and just plain cold temperatures below 55 degrees. If the stems seem green, you can wait for the branches to leaf out again or trim them back. If necessary, particularly if the stems themselves begin to die back, trim back to healthy wood. Trimming will delay blooms on that part of the plant, but it can also be a way of shaping the plant. The spring repotting time is a good time to trim back as needed, too. Alternatively some gardeners will trim back selectively throughtout the summer so that the plant stays in bloom over a longer period. Good luck with your hibiscus!

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