Hibiscus plants cannot survive freezing winters outdoors, except for hardy varieties in some regions.
Hibiscus plants can only stay in many areas when temperatures dip below freezing if they are hardy varieties or brought indoors. They are sensitive to cold temperatures and need protection or should be brought indoors in colder climates.
The stunning, exotic-looking flowers of hibiscus plants have a short lifespan, usually lasting just one day. After their brief bloom, the flower will gently close and eventually fall off.
Hibiscus plants are native to various regions worldwide, from the tropical havens of Hawaii to the subtropical landscapes of Asia.
These plants are not only recognized for their ornamental feel but also their beneficial uses. Hibiscus flowers are often brewed into teas, enjoyed for their refreshingly tart flavor, and offer various health benefits.
But the main concern is whether they survive winter outdoors.
Hibiscus plants enjoy warm weather. But they can have a tough time when it gets cold and frosty. Hibiscus might be okay with a little help in some places with mild winters. However, in colder areas, we need to lend a hand to protect them.
How do I Keep My Hibiscus Alive During Winter?
Keeping your Hibiscus alive during winter can be challenging, especially in a region with cold temperatures. So, here are some critical points for you.
1. Indoor Shelter
If you live in an area prone to freezing temperatures, consider bringing your Hibiscus indoors. Find a sunny spot near a window to soak up as much natural sunlight as possible. Maintain a temperature between 60° to 75°F, and ensure it’s frost-free.
Before winter arrives in full force, give your Hibiscus a gentle trim. Pruning helps remove dead or weak branches, allowing the plant to focus its energy on healthy growth. It’s also an excellent opportunity to shape the plant as desired.
3. Adjust Watering
During winter, your Hibiscus requires less water than it does in its active growing season. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out, not completely, just a bit. If the soil becomes too dry, you’ll start noticing your hibiscus plant beginning to wilt, and it may even shed some of its leaves.
Hibiscus plants also love humidity. So, provide them with the moisture they like, consider occasionally misting their leaves with lukewarm water or placing a humidifier nearby.
Also Read: How to water hibiscus plant?
4. Protect the Plant
For Hibiscus planted in the ground, add a layer of mulch around the base to insulate the roots from extreme cold. On especially frigid nights, you can drape the plant with a frost cloth or burlap to provide extra protection.
5. Hold Off on Fertilizing
Winter is a period of dormancy for Hibiscus, so it’s best to withhold fertilizer during this time. Resume your regular feeding schedule in the spring when the plant begins to grow again actively.
6. Regular Monitoring
During the winter months, watch for signs of pests or disease. Spotting problems early and taking action is necessary to stop them from worsening. So, inspect your plant regularly – look at the leaves, stems, and the soil around it.
Also Read: Are Coffee Grounds Good for Hibiscus?
How Cold Can a Hibiscus Tolerate?
Hibiscus plants like it when the temperature is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is especially important for tropical Hibiscus, which prefer this range all year.
If they have to endure temperatures much higher or lower than this for too long, it can harm or even cause them to die.
During the winter, when Tropical Hibiscus isn’t in bloom, it can handle temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit without suffering severe damage.
However, freezing temperatures are a big no-no for Hibiscus—they can cause more significant harm and even kill your plant if exposed to frost for an extended period.
Interestingly, extreme heat is also a concern. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, hibiscus plants can experience adverse effects on their leaves as a sign of yellowing.
Also Read: How Big Do Hibiscus Plants Get?
Unlike tropical Hibiscus, hardy Hibiscus doesn’t demand the same warm and humid conditions, making them an excellent choice for those in cooler regions.
What’s lovely is that these hardy hibiscus varieties still deliver the same breathtaking blooms as their tropical counterparts. This makes them perfect for people residing in colder climates who want to enjoy hibiscus’ beauty.
Depending on the variety, hardy Hibiscus can endure temperatures as cold as minus 30°F. Yet, in especially chilly regions, providing some frost protection for your Hardy Hibiscus is a significant step.
Maintaining the Right Indoor Temperature
To grow Hibiscus indoors successfully, choose a warm, sunny spot with daytime temperatures above 55°F. Ideally, keep the indoor environment between 65°F and 75°F.
According to the University of Minnesota Extension, if it gets too chilly, you might notice the flower buds falling off or not forming at all.
Check this: Is Bone Meal Good for Hibiscus Plants?
Can Hibiscus Survive Winter Outside?
Hibiscus flowers genuinely shine during the warmer months of summer and fall, gracing us with their vibrant, colorful beauty. However, hardy and tropical Hibiscus have different preferences regarding their ideal conditions and how they handle the winter months.
- These hibiscus plants thrive when it’s not too hot and don’t mind cold winters.
- They can handle cold temperatures, even as low as -30ºF, and are okay with frost.
- Before winter, they drop their leaves, and they die back into the ground in very cold places. But don’t worry, they get back up in the spring.
- These hibiscus plants love warmth and stay green year-round in places with mild winters.
- But they start to struggle when it gets cold and the temperature goes below 40ºF.
- Leaves fall off, and they don’t do so well.
- So, if you want tropical Hibiscus in a colder area, keeping them in pots or indoors where it’s warm and cozy is better.
Hibiscus Winter Care Outdoors – Complete Guide
Proper winter care is essential to ensure your Hibiscus thrives year after year. Let’s see what outdoor winter care hibiscus needs.
1. Protect the Roots or Bring the Plant Inside
Taking care of your Hibiscus in winter means ensuring its roots stay warm. To do this, put a thick layer of mulch, about 8 inches deep, around the base of the plant.
This mulch acts like a warm blanket, keeping the roots cozy and preventing new growth until spring or early summer. You can use chopped leaves or pine straw for the mulch.
In icy places, you might even need to cover your Hibiscus with a tarp to give it extra warmth and protection.
2. Light and water
In the growing season, Hibiscus likes its soil to be moist, but it’s essential to let the soil dry out when watering it again. If you have potted Hibiscus, ensure the pots have drainage holes to prevent overwatering.
Hibiscus thrive in spots with full sunlight. If you have hardy Hibiscus in your garden, you typically don’t need to move them indoors during winter.
However, bring them indoors for tropical Hibiscus and put them in a well-lit area. This helps the leaves naturally turn yellow and fall off, which signals the plant to go into dormancy.
Check this: Best potting soil for hibiscus plant
Trimming your Hibiscus in late winter is a great way to promote a fuller, bushier appearance. For hardy Hibiscus, it’s best to wait until after the first hard frost before pruning to avoid any potential shock to the plant.
The ideal time for pruning hardy Hibiscus in winter preparation is late winter to early spring.
One of the advantages of caring for hardy Hibiscus is their natural ability to die back to ground level in winter, simplifying maintenance. To encourage robust growth or tidying up for the winter, consider cutting them back to about one foot above ground level.
Also Read: How to Revive A Dying Hibiscus Plant?
4. Look out for any pests and diseases
Keep a close eye on your Hibiscus for signs of trouble. Pests like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, or scale insects can sometimes find shelter on your Hibiscus, even in chilly weather. We should quickly address their presence to prevent any further infestations.
Diseases, too, can linger through winter. Powdery mildew and fungal infections are examples to watch out for. Regularly examine your hibiscus leaves for any unusual spots, discoloration, or other signs of disease.
Don’t use fertilizer in the winter season. Hibiscus naturally slow down their growth in colder weather, so they don’t need as much food during this time. Too much fertilizer can even harm them. So, it’s better to stop using it further.
Also Read: How to Use Epsom Salt for Hibiscus Plant?
6. Cover your hibiscus plant
Frost blankets and covers are like warm blankets for your plants during the cold winter nights. Choose frost blankets or burlap covers specially designed for plant protection. These materials allow air and light to pass through while providing necessary insulation.
Carefully drape the frost blankets or burlap over your plants in the late afternoon or early evening before the cold sets in. Ensure they reach the ground to trap warmth and prevent the intrusion of chilly air.
Also Read: Why My Hibiscus Plant Not Flowering?
How to Winterize Hibiscus Outdoors?
How you prepare your Hibiscus for winter depends on the type you have and how you’re looking after it. If you have potted Hibiscus, you can bring them inside when it gets cold.
1. Getting Ready for Winter
When fall is on the way, preparing your Hibiscus for the winter ahead is a good idea. One crucial step is choosing the right fertilizer. Instead of one with lots of nitrogen, use a potassium-rich fertilizer.
This helps your Hibiscus store the nutrients it needs when it starts growing again in the spring. Using a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer during the dormant winter months might encourage new growth that the cold weather can harm.
2. Pruning and cleaning
Wait until the first frost arrives before you start trimming your plants. When you do prune, focus on removing old, dead, and withered stems.
Additionally, tidy up the area around the base of your Hibiscus by clearing away dead leaves and plant debris.
This clean up is most effective in late winter, just before new growth begins. To do this, always use sharp and sterilized secateurs to avoid spreading diseases to the plant.
3. Mulching is great
If you’re growing hardy or perennial Hibiscus in regions prone to cold temperatures and snow, it’s essential to provide them with winter protection.
As mentioned earlier, adding a layer of mulch around the base of your Hibiscus acts as insulation during the chilly winter months.
One of the most effective steps in winterizing Hibiscus is to apply a generous layer of mulch before the first freeze sets in.
4. Shielding from the Chill
When it comes to protecting your Hibiscus from cold and icy conditions, a protective wrap can do wonders. Use frost cloths and securely wrap them around the plant, not making it too tight around the crown.
As winter fades and spring takes over, it’s time to reveal your Hibiscus. Remove the winter mulch gently when you’re sure frost won’t return. Then, give your Hibiscus an organic fertilizer to help them thrive and bloom in the upcoming growing season.
Whether Hibiscus can survive winter outside depends on the type and local climate. Hardy hibiscus can endure the cold with proper care, like mulching and wrapping, while tropical Hibiscus typically needs shelter indoors during freezing temperatures.
Remembering the above details can increase your chances of successfully supporting the hibiscus plant alive in winter but flourishing with vibrant blooms when spring returns.