what to expect when bringing a potted hibiscus indoors

Lynn NevinsNovember 1, 2008

Hi all. This is my first year with a hibiscus. It is a potted plant and I brought it indoors about 3 weeks ago. I am keeping it in my low sunlight apartment (where the heat is never too hot).

Almost immediately upon bringing it indoors, the appearance of the plant went from healthy to bad. The leaves are shrivelling up and wilting and more and more the plant is looking "dead". Is this just a normal function when you bring hibiscus indoors? Or is it possibly because my apartmnet doesn't have enough light? Would it be better to keep the plant in a more cool place like the basement and if so, should I keep it in a closet in the basement, or out where it can get light?

Should I expect the plant to look "dead" and then once the Spring comes and the danger of frost has passed, I can put it back outside and the plant should come back again?


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I hope you repotted it in real dirt and not store bought potting (potty) soil. (1)If you have it sitting in a drip pan to catch water that drains through, remove it. IT will liik like the leaves are drooping becasue of lack of water. That is deceptive. Tropical hibiscus are notorious about getting root rot if they have wet feet, even in hot summer weather. (2)Water only when needed. (3)If they are inside a dark room, they will drop all the leaves. Hibiscus like lots of light. (4) They like heat. I suggest you go to your local Big Box home store or discount store and buy a two headed halogen shop light on a stand less than $30. It will provide heat and light. Water thoroughly about once a week while inside. Fertilize with 1/2 strength blue stuff about once every 6 weeks. OR let it go dormant by watering only enough to keep it alive. Next spring you can fertilize and put it outside.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 9:22PM
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I had 2 tropical in all winter and they did fine. Even bloomed a little. I did have an aphid problem once I took them back outside though.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:32AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

It's not unusual for potted plants to drop a few leaves or do poorly when brought indoors, in part because they are getting less light and the humidity is often lower. Overwatering could be a culprit. It's also possible that the hibiscus had spider mites, which they are prone to (especially indoors) and can cause similar symptoms.

I agree with most of what tsmith2579 said but don't understand the comment about "real dirt" and "potty soil". Most "real" soils are much too heavy to use in pots, will compact to a concrete-like consistency and will drain poorly. Hibiscus and other tropical plants will do quite well when potted in most commercial potting soils.

BTW my hibiscus was in a relatively cool room (never above 70) but got plenty of sun and did just fine and even bloomed off and on all winter.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:03AM
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