Wintering tropical Hibiscus

avidchampDecember 22, 2007

We have 3 tropical plants that we are trying to carry through the winter. We have placed them in the bathtub of the spare bathroom and have a 60 watt grow light on them about 12 hours each day. We lightly water them every couple of days and the plants are losing leaves and have a number of yellow leaves. We just put the grow light on them because of the yellow leaves and lost leaves.

The room does get some diffused sunlight each day through the small West facing window, but another building blocks the sun by mid afternoon and of course, the sun is now quite a ways to the Southwest.

I would appreciate suggestions for how to care for them and if we are neglecting anything with them. We are not fertilizing at all.

Thanks, Bob

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Hi Bob,

I do not know if I can be of much help. But I will share with you what I am doing to overwinter my Hibiscus. I am growing it under high intensity fluorescent plant lights. I am fertilizing it and misting it twice a day and it gets 16 hours of light daily. I want to keep it blooming in the winter and so far it is doing great. I saw bugs under some of the leaves today and rinsed it under the faucet. I also have sticky paper traps in my plants to trap the flying insects. Here is a picture of my Hibiscus. Today it has 3 blooms that will open in the next day or so. This picture was taken about 3 weeks ago.

Good Luck. I love my Hibiscus that my boss gave me last Fall.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 4:00PM
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Your tropical hibiscus will be fine.
Don't let it get cold, don't overwater it and you have it in the best place, in the tub.
It loves it's leaves wet every once in awhile, try once a week.
Put plastic over the pot and dirt and pray the leaves with water.
I don't know exactly where you live, but I put my tropical hib out after Mother's Day here in SE PA.
Then it will be happy.
Oh, by the way, the yellow leaves are pretty normal from time to time, don't worry about it.
Good Luck and New Year!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 1:39AM
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I have 6 hibiscus trees (pruned them that way) inside that bloom throughout the winter. They get strong filtered sunlight from the south, only because they are behind some palm trees. I would suggest watering only when the soil becomes too dry. The best method I have found is to stick your finger into the soil about an inch or two. If it still feels most, do not water it. Some leaves turning yellow is part of their normal cycle of loosing leaves from time to time. My biggest problem in the winter is aphid control. Other than that they do fine and in the Spring I move them outside and bury the pots in flower beds throughout the yard after getting them used to the direct sunlight on a gradual basis. They really thrive in the direct sunlight throughout summer and build up strength to do better with surviving inside with less light in the winter. You can give them a weak dose of soluable fertlizer as long as it is higher in phosporus and potassium and low on nitrogen. This helps them bloom during the winter.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 12:04PM
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Bob, I have also been overwintering a tropical hibiscus for the first time this year. It wasn't very happy at first, but then I started misting 2-3 times daily with purified water that has a couple drops of liquid fertilizer in it. My hib is in a large clay pot, so I have to water 3-4 times a week with the same mix of 1 quart of water with about 3-4 drops of liquid fertilizer. I have it near a large north window so it gets full light all day, although the northern exposure doesn't give it any really strong sunlight. It has been blooming and the leaves are deep green, and so far it has lost only about 5-6 leaves. I also rotate the pot every two weeks for even exposure.

Personally I've never had much luck with plants in the tub, but I never misted before either. I have observed that all of my houseplants have gotten healthier from the daily misting with fert/water mix. I really think that it's the misting that makes the most difference, but plants indoors aren't going dormant so their needs for nutrients wouldn't change from the rest of the year. So that was my rationale for winter feeding.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 1:02PM
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This past week I found a potted tropical hibiscus that had been set out along with the trash. I think it had just been set out that morning. I scooped it up, took it home, and it's now sitting in my warm sunny office. I pruned it back a bit, mainly to see if any of it was still alive. It was. It still had leaves on it but they were droopy from the cold. [I live in the DC Metro area, in Maryland. My zone is either 6 or 7 depending on who draws the hardiness maps.]Does this hibiscus have a chance or am I wasting my time?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 6:15PM
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That is a good question. You may have rescued the poor thing in time, but it is hard to tell. Even though it appears alive, the damage may have already been done. If it did survive, TLC is in order. Use no fertilizer until it starts to recover. And keep water to a minimum. The plant most likely tried to enter dormancy and this may have helped. My suggestion is to be patient, and offer sunlight with light watering. If the plant is to survive, it may take 3-4 weeks before you see any real progress. I wish you luck.

There may be a reason the plant was tossed. Keep an eye out for infestations, etc.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 12:39AM
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What a lucky catch! Rescuing plants is the most rewarding experience in my opinion. I would definitely keep the light levels high and like Gutzmek said be patient. It will take a couple weeks to tell if it is alive but seeing the life in the branches of the plant should be a good sign!

Good luck and happy new year

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 11:19PM
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