Hibiscus - Knowledgebase Question

Chesapeake, Vi
Question by vrbuterfli51
October 14, 2009
I have a potted hibiscus. It is still outside. I brought it inside last week and the leaves started turning yellow so I put it back outside. It looks good now but I know that I will have to bring it in soon. When should I bring it in and how should I care for it? Do I need a grow light? I don't get much direct sunlight inside. What should it look like once it's inside and adjusted?

Answer from NGA
October 14, 2009


There are a number of species within the hibiscus family, some of which are hardy outdoors in cold winter areas such as yours. However, 'rosa sinensis' is the tropical cultivar and will be damaged if left outdoors in winter. The roots are not hardy enough to survive, even if you mulch to protect the plant. The plant will go through an adjustment phase when you take it indoors where the temperature is different and there's lower light intensity than it is used to. It will adjust but it will probably lose some leaves. Take it indoors, but do it gradually over a period of several days by bringing in at night and taking it out during the day so it can adjust to the temperature differences). Put it in a bright spot without direct sunshine, keep the soil moist but not soggy wet, and mist the leaves occasionally. Flowering will stop in the winter and you can cut back the stems by 1/3 to help keep the plant bushy. Supplemental lighting may be necessary if the area is dark. Gro lights or even a bank of shop lights can help. Keep the lights on 12-14 hours a day. In the spring, when the nighttime temperatures remain above 55F you can take your plant outside again.

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