Hibiscus forum: Overwintering Hibiscus

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Jul 29, 2018 10:13 AM CST
I live in USDA Zone 8a and I have two hibi's which are presently outside: a H. rosa-sinensis (unregistered cultivar, it's a hybrid from a local nursery) and a H. moscheutos (Fireball). They are both in huge pots outside the house.

I think I'll just move the Fireball to a sheltered location in the Fall after pruning it hard, but I'd like to know if I should keep the soil moist and if it's better to perhaps insulate the pot by wrapping it in straw.

The other... I've tried overwintering tropical hibi's for years now and it's always a tragedy. I usually move them to a sheltered location once night temperatures hit 60F and move them inside once they hit 50F and it's at that point the problems start. inside the house they usually lose their leaves and have serious issues restarting in the Spring. To make matters worse last Winter my two now deceased hibi's were devastated by whiteflies.
I keep the temperature inside the house at a steady 65F in the Winter. Yes, I hate heat and gas bills. Grumbling

I have zero problem with garden plants, fruit trees, vegetables etc but when it comes to indoor gardening I am at a complete loss.
OK, last Winter was a disaster (lost an incredible amount of seedlings due to a bad growing medium) but I'd like to know what I am doing wrong.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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Jul 29, 2018 10:24 AM CST
I overwinter tropical hibiscus in my greenhouse heated to 60 degrees F. They do well over the winter, and bloom constantly, but get infested with aphids and sometimes whiteflies. I can keep them both down by using a lot of Safer Soap.

I have brought tropical Hibiscus into the house for the winter but they don't do as well. I think it's just too dry for them in the house. They lose leaves and look sad, but they do perk up when they go back outside in the Spring.

I'm a zone lower than you, and just planted a Fireball out in full sun. I'm planning to mulch it well and leave it outside all winter. It's in the ground. I'm sure hoping it will survive!

Can you post a pic of your Fireball and your tropicals?
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Jul 29, 2018 10:37 AM CST
Depending how big/small the pot is I don't really think insulating fireball is necessary in Z8, but if babying it makes your soul feel better over the winter insulating fireball will not hurt.

But it will be fine either way its hardy to z5...i'd be worried if you were trying to overwinter it in a pot in z5 now that would be risky.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
Jul 29, 2018 10:44 AM CST
I agree. It should be fine with no babying.
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Name: Eric
Hawthorne, fl (Zone 9a)
Jul 29, 2018 10:53 AM CST
I bring my hibiscus into the downstairs laundry room under 40 and i really did not have any yellowing of leaves. I had 20 plants in there.temp was around 60 there. Not sure why you are having the problem. Could be the variety of hybrid you have.

Jul 30, 2018 3:41 AM CST
Thanks very much to everybody.

This is the first H. moscheutos I am keeping so you can understand my hesitation despite the fact it was prominently labeled as "Winterhard". So outside is staying with no further pampering unless it gets really really cold.
Pictures will come as soon as the flowers start opening (a matter of hours).

H. rosa-sinensis... I've had several different cultivars over the years and overwintering is always a problem. I have tried putting them in different rooms, I've tried different sunlight levels, I've tried different watering approaches and it's always the same: leaves start dropping, the plant becomes weak and has problems restarting in the Spring or just rolls over and dies.
I am even tempted putting it under a growth lamp and sticking a heating mat underneath this Winter... I am thinking of buying new gear to start the annuals so I may have some spare ones.
[Last edited by ElPolloDiablo - Jul 30, 2018 10:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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Oct 23, 2018 9:36 PM CST
H. moscheutos really is a hardy species of hibiscus, totally different winter requirements than its tropical cousins. I've kept them outside in pots over winter in zone 6b, just regular nursery pots, not really by design but just by not getting around to planting a late-season clearance purchase... and they have sprouted up fine in spring.

So far I've not succumbed to the lure of H. rosa-sinensis. Well, I had a cute little bush one summer but decided to view it as an annual. Sounds like they don't reliably go dormant and re-start in spring... guess you have to try to keep them "in the green" in a sunny window or under lights... ?
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