Hibiscus During Winter - Knowledgebase Question

Perkiomenville, PA
Question by pmcdermott
October 26, 1999
Last month I was blessed to recieve 2 big potted hibiscus bushes. I am very worried that they may be dying. I brought them inside to protect them from the frost. (Are they tropical plants or shrubs?) Unfortunatley many of the leave have turned yellow and then shed off. I only water them when the soil seems dry and then only with a very weak solution. I was watering them once a week but their leaves seem to droop in the middle of the week. There have been only 3 flowers between them, one with brown spots(frost damage?) and they've curled up and died a day after they've bloosomed. Is that usual for this type of plant?


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Answer from NGA
October 26, 1999

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These tropical plants are probably protesting the move, but they should be okay eventually even if the leaves fall off for now. They may also need a bit more water than they have been receiving, especially if they are pot bound. The quick wilting flowers could be a sign of needing water or a sign of being exposed to cold, or a sign of being in a warm draft (such as from a heat vent.) Ideally to bring one indoors you need to check it all over for pests and then gradually begin acclimating it to the lower light levels it will have indoors. Move it gradually to a shadier location but do not leave it outside when temperatures drop below about fifty. Then move it indoors to the sunniest spot you have. Keep it out of drafts and keep the humidity around it high if possible. Expect some yellowing of leaves in protest of the move. Reduce watering and fertilizing as the plant's growth slows. In spring, reverse the process to reacclimate it to the outdoors. Good luck with your plants!

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