How to Care for Hibiscus: Hibiscus Winter Care

Red, yellow, peach, white, and orange – a Hibiscus bush is easy to recognize from a distance because of its characteristic color, charm, and fragrance. Known for their bright and colorful flowers, these tropical plants are popular for their decorative use, which can transform any garden or indoor living space by making it more beautiful.

Plus, this flowering perennial shrub has a culturally rich history where it has been used by civilizations across the globe for its medicinal and healing properties. The liquid from the edible Hibiscus flower continues to be extracted to create plant products and for the purpose of making Hibiscus tea. Hibiscus winter care is important if you live in colder areas where they do not thrive below freezing temperatures.

Here are some things you need to know about taking care of your Hibiscus in winter...

How Often to Water Hibiscus in Winter?

Watering is essential for the Hibiscus plant all year long, but in winter your watering schedule’s frequency needs to decrease. The environment is much drier in winter, which means that evaporation and transpiration rates are lower than usual, so your plant is not absorbing and losing water as quickly as it is used to—only water your plant when the topsoil is dry to touch. Use your forefingers to dig into the top layer of soil where your Hibiscus is planted and if it feels dry to touch, then watering is due. Note that watering your Hibiscus plant more often than required can cause the roots to drown, which is particularly common in the winter season.

Is My Hibiscus Dormant or Dead?

Most perennial Hibiscus varieties, such as a Seminole Hibiscus enter a dormant stage near the end of fall, which typically lasts through the winter season. You will notice that the leaves will lose their color, flowers will drop, and new growth will stop for a brief period. When you see these signs, the best you can do is help your plant brave through winter without trouble. Use a winter mulch and apply it near your hardy Hibiscus plant’s roots to act as an insulating sheet. You can use organic materials such as compost and pine straw to have the same warming effect on your plant. Remember that it is normal for your plant to form buds and drop them during this stressful season. You can expect to see bright flowers when the growing season begins!

How to Winter a Hibiscus Plant?

If you are planning to winterize your plant and bring the hibiscus indoors, then you will have to start planning early. Dig up your Hibiscus plant before the temperatures drop too low. Otherwise, the roots might be damaged by the cold. Find a pot that is spacious enough for your plant and transport your Hibiscus indoors for the winter. When transplanting add an acidic potting mix to help with flowering. You can now treat your potted Hibiscus plant like any other indoor container plant. If you notice yellowing leaves (some may even turn brown), then there is no need to be alarmed, as the tropical Hibiscus plant begins to lose its glossy appearance when bringing them indoors. Optionally, you can keep your hibiscus plant in a container year-round for easy transport at any time.

Shift your Hibiscus plant to a pot in the winter season:

  • Wash and clean your Hibiscus plant before you move it indoors. Doing so will ensure that no pests and germs have latched onto it. You can use a damp washcloth to wipe the side of each leaf.
  • It is not a good idea to continue fertilizing your Hibiscus plant, even as it sleeps through winter. Doing so is crucial for it to go into dormancy and it makes it easier to wake your plant up when the growing season begins. Fertilize your hibiscus plant again in early spring during the active growing season.
  • Continue to pamper your Hibiscus plant even as it enters its dormant stage and starts to lose leaves. Use a water spray bottle (and a piece of cloth) to wipe down the leaves or spray them every once in a while to keep them hydrated.
  • Make sure that your plant is placed in a location where it gets enough sunlight. There is nothing that the Hibiscus plant enjoys more than a direct dosage of sunlight, especially in the cold winter season.

Related: When To Repot Plants

To sum it up, all you need to do is have a plan, water, and winterize your Hibiscus plant. Winter hibiscus care is important for the health of the plant, to keep it blooming year after year, and looking its best.