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Hollywood Hibiscus Plan their Winter Breaks

Published September 20th, 2019 by Nick

You’ve enjoyed your Hollywood™ Hibiscus all season long — it’s graced your poolside, greeted visitors to your garden, and decorated your patio. Now that the weather is beginning to turn cooler, it’s time to think about overwintering your tropical hibiscus so you can enjoy it again next year.

Tropical hibiscus are just that — tropical. So, they don’t take kindly to temperatures below 40 degrees (and that’s pushing it). If you live in a cooler climate, you’ll need to start making preparations for overwintering your hibiscus here pretty soon, but if you live in a milder climate, you still have some time. Zone 9 or higher? You’re good to go and can leave your hibiscus outside all year. Here’s what you need to know to help your Hollywoods smoothly transition to indoor life.

Remove any unwanted debris from the plant and the pot. Dead leaves, spent flowers, or dead branches— get all the bad stuff out of there and off your hibiscus. Trim off dead branches on the interior.

Check for insects before moving the plants indoors. If you spot any unwelcome interlopers, treat with an insecticidal spray like neem oil. Remember to check on the underside of the leaves as well, where bugs like to hang out and cause problems. (There’s no shame in a little spa treatment.)

Invite your Hollywood Hibiscus indoors. You don’t want to wait until the first frost. Be prepared to move them inside well before those temperatures dip that low. Ideal indoor temps for the winter are between 55 and 70 degrees with bright light near a west- or south-facing window.

Expect leaves to fall off when you move the plant indoors. That is totally normal and nothing to be concerned about. You’ll see the leaves turning yellow, then dropping off completely; they’ll begin to regrow sometime in late February or March when they’re ready.

Water regularly. But here’s the deal — do not let your plant sit in water; let it dry out a tad in between watering. It will likely be dormant and does not need the kind of moisture it does during the growing season, but being a tropical plant, it still needs regular drinks.

Repot if necessary in late winter/early spring. If your hibiscus has been in the same old potting soil for some time now, give it a good repotting with clean, fresh potting soil. (Everyone likes a fresh, new outfit, after all!).  Place the old potting soil in the compost pile, provided there’s no pest or disease issues present.

Prune and fertilize in late winter. At the same time you’re repotting, go ahead and prune back all the leggy growth and give your tropical hibiscus its first dose of well-balanced fertilizer of the year and continue feeding according to your directions on the label— all that beauty demands a little extra special nutrition!

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