The Q&A Archives: Care for Hibiscus

Question: I live in Houston and have planted beautiful hibiscus twice. They love the hot weather, but when light frost comes they die. What can I do to prevent them dying?

Answer: Tropical hibiscus love the heat and the sunshine but are quite tender when it comes to low temperatures. A light frost is okay but a heavy freeze will kill them. If your garden regularly gets hard freezes, plan on keeping your plants in pots and burying the pots in the ground in the garden. When winter weather arrive, take the potted hibiscus indoors until spring. Or, if your garden only gets occasional frosts, you can cover the plants when cold weather threatens to protect them from the cold. Use frost blankets, available at garden centers, or cover them with a light weight blanket. (Sheets are sometimes used but I don't think they are very effective.) Be sure to remove the frost protection when the sun comes out or the plants can bake in the heat. Minor winter damage can be pruned away each spring.

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