Overwintering a Hibiscus

beautiful red hibiscus bloom
In colder climates you will want to bring your hibiscus indoors in the winter. They can reside in the garage or in the house. If they do not go dormant you will need to water sparingly. This page contains useful information regarding overwintering a hibiscus.

3 Questions

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November 22, 2008

I brought in a double hibiscus tree for the winter. It is still blooming but the leaves are turning yellow and it is dropping some buds. What am I doing wrong or how do I stop this?

Anne H.


By Phil (Guest Post)
November 22, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I bring my hibiscus inside every year. It usually loses some of its leaves but comes back out. I leave it in full sunlight by a window.

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November 9, 2018

I'm told that I can bring my hibiscus plant (in a pot) in for the winter. It is only 2 1/2 feet tall and still has about 8 buds on it. It has a bloom right now. Should I cut it back? Some say to leave it in the garage to go dormant. I could, but still don't know if I should cut it back. I live in southern Michigan.


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November 9, 20180 found this helpful

When I used to have them in NO VA, I just brought them in and our basement had a sunny slider and they lived out winter there. It was a heated room so that was critical as they need to be at at least 50 degrees. I never cut mine back. They sometimes lost leaves, but sometimes not.


If you don't have a sunny spot to keep them going, you can winter them just the same, just make sure they stay at at least 50 degrees. Don't worry about cutting back you can prune in the spring if needed.

Here is probably more info than you need about these lovely plants. They are beautiful. I miss mine (I moved and had to leave them behind).

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November 9, 20180 found this helpful

I would not cut it back. Leave it in a place that gets sun and water evenly.

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November 10, 20180 found this helpful

I would only trim when you want to shape it up or if it needs cutting back
because it got too leggy (not enough light/warmth) and then you can trim it almost anytime after it blooms.


Pghgirl is right about the 50 degrees as I live in Florida and I have to protect my plants when the temperature drops below 50.

Try not to over water it while you have it indoors and it needs sunshine or a light several hours a day.

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November 18, 20180 found this helpful

southern Michigan gets very cold, and if this is a plant that does not do well in under 50 degrees, then maybe having it go dormant, if you can't be assured to provide it the light/warmth it needs, might be the way to go

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November 22, 2008
Q: I recently inherited two beautiful Hibiscus plants. I have managed to keep them alive throughout the summer and they have done pretty good. Two questions - I plan to bring them into my garage for the winter. I am not sure how to cut them back, how much should I take off and which of the branches should I cut - also should I fertilize them before I bring them in?


A: Sherry,

Some people aggressively cut back their hibiscus in the spring. Others prefer the "maintenance pruning" approach to shape plants, which can be done any time of the year. One strategy of maintenance pruning is to cut back by 1/3 to 1/2 only those branches that are long and out of balance with the rest of the plant. You can either cut all of these long branches or only half of them-cutting the other half next year.


To do this, follow branches down until you find a node or "eye" pointing in the direction you want the new growth to grow (an up and outward direction is usually preferable). Using a sharp pruning shears, cut the branch off cleanly leaving 1/2" of wood between the eye and the cut. New growth will start below the cut from the eye. Don't be afraid of pruning, your hibiscus will do well with it. If you prefer, you can wait and cut the entire plant back hard in the spring. Make sure you leave the thick wood and some leaves, or at least 2-3 nodes (eyes) on each branch. Begin fertilizing when you see new growth emerging.

In regards to fertilizing, I'm not sure where you live, but I assume you're in a zone with frost. As you prepare to bring them indoors for winter, stop fertilizing. If your garage stays cold enough to give the hibiscus a chance to go completely dormant, you can prune them hard after 6-8 weeks of being cold and then bring them into an environment of warmth and light to stimulate growth.


Resume fertilizing then with a low phosphorus fertilizer to encourage blooms.

If you don't think your hibiscus will go completely dormant, especially if your garage has a lot of windows and stays relatively warm, maintain a feeding and watering schedule, but cut back on watering and reduce fertilizer to no more than half strength.

Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.


Bringing a Hibiscus Plants Indoors for the Winter

I don't know where you live. I live in Michigan I bring my hibiscus trees in every fall. I keep them in the house. I put them next to the window so they get a lot of light. I don't think they will survive in the garage. They are tropical. (09/20/2005)


By Donna

Bringing a Hibiscus Plants Indoors for the Winter

I don't know where you live, but it must not be in the tropical parts of the South. You can cut the plants back when you bring them inside. No fertilizer until next spring/summer when it is time to move them outside--and outside cannot be before all frost is gone. The most important part of all this is sun.

Unless your plants are in direct sun for a good part of the day (as they were when outside) they will not survive the winter. In any event, after a few years, it is best to replace them and start with new. I have kept mine successfully over winters, but only in my sun room. Good luck. (09/21/2005)

By mm

Hibiscus - Winter

I have a Moscheutos Hibiscus. Can I leave this one outside for the winter. I live in Ontario, Canada. The leaves on this one are red. I also have another one with pink leaves. Not sure if this one is as Hardy as the other. People are telling me that I cant leave any Hibiscus plants outside in the winter. (Confused) (08/27/2008)

By Linda

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November 29, 20170 found this helpful
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I usually "wash" the plant and pot with luke warm sudsy
water. I use Dawn. I water until I know the plant and the pot are soaking. Then I rinse and take them in. Any bugs usually head for the Hills either over or thru the holes in the bottom of the pot. I do the for my Hibiscus, wandering Jew, Spider plants, geraniums and Charlies, papyrus and Orchids No bugs inside!!!

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