The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus, Tropical or Hardy

Question: I just bought a Hibiscus from my home depot here in cleveland TN, and I need to know what kind I have, a tropical or hardy type, the directions say nothing about bringing it in, in the winter it says to plant in the ground, the flowers are red and the leaves are heart shaped with serrated edges and are shiny green, it is the tree type and the flowers are around 4 to 5 in big.

Answer: The tropical hibiscus or H. rosa-sinensis is sold as a patio plant and can be grown outdoors in zone 8 or higher or wintered indoors in your zone 7 region. They have glossy leaves and big, bold flowers. I think that's what you have. There are the hardy woody shrubs called Rose of Sharon or H. Syriacus. They have dull green leaves and smaller flowers. This would probably survive outdoors for you if planted in a spot that is not too exposed, cold, and windy (they are hardy to zone 5 and your zip code places you in the coldest part of zone 7.) Good luck with your hibiscus!

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