We had the hardest winter in history, and now my hibiscus tree at my front door which is as tall as the roof, looks dead. Is it ? Should I trim the dead branches now ? Please advise. Thanks.
Hardiness Zone: 9a
By Mary from Houston, TX
A friend of mine once had an 8 to 10 foot red hibiscus she thought was killed by cold. She trimmed it back almost to the ground just to see what would happen. Within a few months she was seeing new growth and it only took a few years to get back to where it was. Apparently they are hard to kill.
I forgot to mention she lives in Katy.
Try scraping the base of the tree trunk with your thumbnail and see if there is green live wood. I find they take maybe a month longer than some other plants to recover from freezing. A neighbor was ready to toss his big Hibiscus that had frozen this year and it had live wood at the base. We too had one of the hardest winters in 160 years.
We leave things as they are until we see new growth. After a reasonable time, if there's no new growth, we cut it down. If there is new growth, we trim off the dead stuff.
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I live in Phoenix Arizona and we have had some pretty cold weather lately, in the 20's some mornings.