The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus

Question: I purchased Hibiscus shrubs at a local store assumming that they wouldn't sell them if they could not survive the winter in this area. Well I've heard that I need to bring them inside during the winter which would be impossible for me. Is there a way I can protect them adaquetly from frost or even freeze? They are beautiful and would like to keep them for as long as possible.

Answer: There's some truth to the saying "Buyer Beware!". Two commonly sold types of hibiscus have very different requirements; Rose-Mallow, the perennial hibiscus is a hardy shrub that grows 6-8 feet high. It dies down each winter and produces new flowering stems each spring. Chinese hibiscus is a tropical plant that grows all year indoors, or spends summers outdoors and winters in a greenhouse. These plants reach 30 feet in the tropics, but stay much smaller if grown indoors. There's not much you can offer in the way of protection from frost and winter freeze other than to bring the tropical kind of hibiscus indoors, or into a greenhouse during the winter months.

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