How to overwinter tropical hibiscus in pots?

jimhokie(7a/7b)November 24, 2013

I have several tropical hibiscus plants in pots that I bought new last spring. In previous winters where I've tried overwintering them in my garage, I can't seem to get them to recover in the spring soon enough to bloom before late summer. When I bring them back outside after the last frost, they start to grow new foliage well, but it has always taken 3 months or more to start blooming again. If I want blooms all summer, I have to buy new plants. What is the secret to overwintering them and then getting them kickstarted in spring to bloom early?

My garage is attached to my house with a room above it, so it stays reasonably warm--probably never lower than 55-60 degrees on the coldest days/nights of winter. And there are two windows on one side and one window on another....not a lot of light, but not dark for sure.

What should I do as far as pruning, fertilizing, watering, or anything else that may be important to getting them to recover and bloom quickly in the spring? I put them into my garage about 2 weeks ago, and can usually take them back out in early April.

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I think your over-winter tactics are perfect. Tropical Hibiscus go into a dormancy phase when they adjust and/or are subject to other than perfect environment.

The questions I would ask are as follows.
The light levels seems low, could you provide more?
What is you fertilizer/water routine for the winter?
How often are you monitoring them?

I am asking this, not because I think you failed, but because I think you want more. Address the plant's needs, and success is infinite. I would love to assist further.

I attached a photo of part of one of my winter grow rooms. The plants are still blooming after 2 months of being indoors.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:27PM
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kvenkat(5a Colo)

I have a Santana which I bought this summer. It has been indoors for over two months now. It just bloomed a couple days ago.
Does it need a dormant period or can I keep it near a window and water once a week like my other houseplants?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 7:50PM
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I would continue what you are doing.
Watch for over/under watering and cold drafts.
Great looking bloom by the way.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 11:50PM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

The biggest problem overwintering plants like this is not the temperature but light. Hibiscus rosa-chinensis, as its name suggest is from Southern China/ SE Asia. Low temps are not a problem as these areas regularly get cold snaps from Central Asia, though not freezing. The weather in winter is, however, predominantly sunny. Can you keep the plants in full sun over winter but keep the temp above freezing? Water as little as possible. Good luck - Ian.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 4:51PM
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My indoor tropical hibiscus need lots of water in my sunny kitchen where they perform well. Just never keep them sitting in a water filled saucer.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 8:49PM
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kvenkat(5a Colo)

Great! Makes life easier when I can treat my hib like my other houseplants. Thanks, Gutzmek.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 7:00PM
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motherjan(z5 N.E. OHIO)

I have 2, 3 color (braided) hibiscus that I brought in the house in October of last year. One of them still has many beautiful leaves and the other no leaves left. I pruned it back, hoping this spring it will bloom again. I water maybe once a week and fertilize maybe twice a month. Any advice?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:21PM
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