The Q&A Archives: Cherie Hibiscus w/ peeling bark, no new growth

Question: We purchased our Cherie Hibiscus tree last spring along with a rose of sharon tree that is starting to bud now. Our Hibiscus still looks like it did last fall except the bark is showing peeling in spots and there is no new growth at all. I was not told that this tree could not be planted outside in our zone (5-6) at the time of purchase. Is there anything we can do to save the tree?

Answer: Peeling bark may be perfectly natural for older stems so before giving up on the plant, I'd first determine whether or not the branches and stems are still alive. You can gently scrape the bark with your fingernail to see if there is live wood. Green tissue just beneath the bark means that branch or stem is still alive; brown or rusty colored tissue indicates that part is dead. If you find green tissue, just wait for the plant to break dormancy and start to leaf out. If you find dead tissue, prune that part out, pruning back until you find live wood. Best wishes with your hibiscus!

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