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Over-wintering tropical hibiscus in MN

Posted by sheepco MN z4 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 28, 10 at 21:36

Hi,
New here. I'm sorry if this has been covered before, but all my 'googling' isn't getting me very good answers.

My neighbor recently gave me an unknown hibiscus to over-winter while they go south. I'm assuming its tropical. The blossoms are single, peach colored with a red center, with not very shiny, sort of heart shaped leaves. The 'not very shiny' may be due to stress, it was very dry, had been exposed to 40F, and had lots of dead leaves (evenly distributed throughout the bush) before I got it. The 16" tall x ~28" wide plant is in a 14" diameter x 12" deep pot. I don't know how long its been in the pot, not more than 2 summers. The 'trunk' is ~ 1" diameter at soil level. I removed all it's dead leaves and it is now in a south window at ~ 70F.

It's thriving! Has 3 blooms today and about 12 buds! I have had it 12 days. I have heard they should be watered sparingly so except for drenching it when I 1st got it have only given it one 8oz glass of water per week.

So, can I enjoy it's next round of blossoms? I know I need to prune it. I've read 30%. When? When to fertilize assuming it hasn't had any since mid-summer? And can you give me a schedule of care for over the winter?

I'd like to keep this alive for my neighbor for the winter, and while I do have a sorta green thumb, I have NO experience with hibicus!

Thank you! Sarah


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Over-wintering tropical hibiscus in MN

I have overwintered tropical hibiscus inside for many years.
They are pretty easy to keep healthy. Give them as much light as possible and keep them moist at all times. They use a lot of water (even more when it it is warm and sunny) and don't like to be soggy or dry. From December to March my plants rest (they are in a cool sunny room they stays 50-60 F when it is very cold out). March-April I start to feed with a dilute bloom fertilizer and I prune a little bit for shape. I don't prune much, they bloom earlier when left unpruned. I also repot them with new soil every 2-3 years and cut off some of the old roots in the process to keep the plant smaller.
Finally, I bring them outside in mid May, first into the shade to acclimate for a couple of weeks so their leaves don't get scorched by the bright sun.
Watch out for aphids, white flies, and spider mites in the winter, they love Hibisus.


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RE: Over-wintering tropical hibiscus in MN

Thank you so much for the info! I'll try your suggestions. I have started to give it more water, it was looking droopy between waterings. It continues to bloom, 2 - 3 new blossoms each week. Still dropping a few leaves too, but probably due to lack of water.
Thanks again.


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