The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus at Delaware Beach

Question: I have had a tropical hibiscus in a large planter for the past 3 years. In the summer, I keep it on the deck. In the winter, I bring it in doors. It has grown too large to bring in doors this winter. Do you think it can survive the winter if I plant it in the ground and cover the ground with straw? If so, is there something else I should do; e.g., cut it way back and cover with burlap?

Answer: A tropical hibiscus can survive short periods of temperatures of about 32F. Colder than that and the roots will die. If the plant is too large to bring indoors, you can cut it back by one half to two thirds to make it more manageable. It will regrow indoors and be ready to go back outdoors in the spring. If you simply cannot take it indoors I can only suggest that you wrap the container with insulation to keep the roots from freezing and then set the plant in a garage or outbuilding where the temperatures remain above freezing all winter long. It should survive and should recover next spring. If you have a choice, though, I'd strongly recommend cutting it back and taking it indoors for the winter months. Best wishes with your hibiscus.

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