Caring for tropical hibiscus questions

mla2ofusSeptember 11, 2008

I was given a tropical hibiscus as a house warming present and have no idea how to take care of it now much less through the winter. Do they need a lot of fertilizer? any special kind? lots of water? Should I bring it in the house this winter or can it be put in my dark garage like a bouganvilla? What kind of care does it need during the winter? I'm a real dummy with tropicals and really need some help! :(

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I have a tropical hibiscus and it actually looked better during the winter in the house than it has outside this year all summer. Course I paid a lot more attention to it when it was inside and underfoot all the time.

To start with, yes, bring it in. Put it in a nice sunny window where it will get as much direct sunlight as possible. Make sure it has good soil and good drainage. A lot of gift plants are in pots that are too small for them, by crowding the roots they force the plant to bloom. I transplanted mine into a large terra cotta pot and used a good potting mix.

During the winter your house will be very dry due to the heating system. I spritzed my hibiscus every day, morning and night with purified water. Because hibs are such heavy feeders, I also added liquid indoor plant food to the water for foliar feeding. I kept the soil fairly damp all the time.

My hib bloomed with blooms as big as dinner plates. Once she went outside this Spring, she bloomed a couple more times, and then she has pouted and dropped leaves til about two weeks ago. With this rain lately she's started to perk up a bit.

A friend walking through my garden a month ago looked closely at her in all her bedraggled state and asked me if it was some kind of science experiment. Maybe I should keep her in all year, huh? Anyway, just feed and water and your hib should do fine. There's a forum just for hibs on the GW that has a lot of good advice.

Some folks put theirs in the shower every couple weeks to wash the minerals and salts out of the potting soil. Using purified water eliminated the need to do that, but it's not a bad idea. I just found the misting really helped all my indoor plants during the winter except the angel wing begonias. The AWB's developed scale when misted and I had to get rid of them. Yeah, yeah, I know, more info than you really wanted, but I ramble when I talk too, and there's no one here to interupt me and say, OK, that's enough now, shut up, Cheryl. So I'll just shut up. :o


    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 4:31PM
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I've been using Carl Pool Hibiscus Fertilizer with excellent results. You can also use an Azalea/acid loving plant fertilizer. Mulch made all the difference for me. They need water daily (at least outside in Austin), but they like a fast draining soil. I think next time I repot I'm using Miracle Gro Palm & Cactus mix with added compost/manure.

Watch out for aphids...

I couldn't have mine inside last winter, but they held up outside. I covered them when we had near freezing temps, and we didn't see much of that last year. I have read that they do well inside with enough sun.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 4:06AM
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Thanks for the info. I don't have a real sunny window but I can move it outside on the warmer days for a little extra sun. I didn't know they were heavy feeders. Poor baby is probably starving to death. I'll try to find the hibiscus food today.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 7:28AM
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