A Seasonal Guide to Hibiscus
Seasons can make or break your plant. All plants have seasons where they thrive and seasons where they might recede or even completely die off. Even though many species of hibiscus don’t have such extreme reactions to the seasonal fluctuations in temperature, light, and irrigation, the way that you take care of your hibiscus in each season can be the difference between life and death – for your hibiscus at least.
In the spirit of keeping your hibiscus plant alive no matter the season, the following article will focus on all things seasonal to do with your hibiscus. We’ll talk you through light requirements, watering, and even maintenance for each season. Welcome to the definitive hibiscus season guide.
Before we get into the meat of each season’s care, we’ll give you a short, summarized, quick seasonal care sheet. Like all of our other care sheets, you can screenshot these, print them out, and keep them somewhere close to your plants so that you’re never lost in the intricacies of hibiscus care again. Let’s get into getting your hibiscus through the four seasons, shall we?
Spring is the season most commonly associated with growth. Every year, we celebrate spring day, where we prepare for the brighter colors and warmth that spring brings after the cold winter has swept over the land. In terms of hibiscus care, spring is also the season of hard cutbacks, repotting, and preparing your hibiscus for a successful summer.
Quick spring care sheet
Outside in the fullness of the springtime sun. Preferably on the northern side of your property,
Deep watering twice weekly.
Once every two weeks
Cuttings are best taken at the start of the season. Spring is also the ideal time to pot new hibiscus plants.
Hard cutback at the start of the season to promote healthy growth.
The absolute best location for your hibiscus plant when spring comes around is outside in the full glory of the springtime sun. During spring, your plant is most likely coming out of a semi-hibernation state or even a full hibernation. Therefore, there are a lot of processes starting off again within your plant that require sunlight.
In order for these sunlight-dependent processes to take place effectively, your plant needs to be in the sun. The springtime sun is usually far cooler than the summer sun. Therefore, it’s often perfectly safe for your plant to soak up the delicious sunlight without getting burnt to a crisp completely. That said, hibiscus is a fairly sun-reliant plant, and these flowering shrubs have developed in such a way that they often grow natively in hot regions with many hours of direct sunlight.
These plants are thought of as primarily being natives of the equatorial and tropical regions of the earth. However, as we cover in our article detailing the different types of hibiscus, there are species that grow in the sun-bleached African grasslands, and even in the drier more arid regions of the world.
Hibiscus thrives on sunlight. Overall, these plants require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. However, if you look at your property, you’ll notice that some areas are sunnier for longer than others. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The eastern side of your property is therefore the best place for peak morning sun. The western side of your property is by comparison the best place to take advantage of the afternoon sun.
Because of how we build, the southern portion of your property usually has a blanket of shade that extends over the bits of your garden closest to your house. However, the northern portion of your property experiences the fullness of the morning sun, the glory of the afternoon sun, and the pinnacle heat and light of the midday sun. The best place, therefore, to plant your hibiscus plants, is the northern side of your property.
If you live in a place where the temperature fluctuations are more extreme, in other words, the northern hemisphere, you’ll likely want to keep your hibiscus in a pot so that it’s easier to move about when you need to.
For instance, the springtime sun is perfect for hibiscus, but some tropical species may struggle to survive in the blistering heat of the summer sun. This is particularly true in places closer to deserts where the sun really batters the earth with all its might.
Water is essential to your hibiscus plants. Whether they are potted or simply growing in a garden bed, all plants need water to survive. Many species of the hibiscus genus are native to tropical regions. Herein lies the clue to how much water your hibiscus needs. Tropical regions, as we’ve discussed by now, are characteristically hot and humid.
This heat and humidity means that hibiscus typically needs a lot of water. These are very thirsty plants. However, there’s a difference between how much water you should give your hibiscus plants and bonsais in the active growing seasons of spring and summer and the primarily dormant seasons of fall and winter.
Spring is when the larger-than-life hibiscus flowers first start to bloom – usually. Now, the size of these gargantuan flowers is important, as these behemoths hold more water than the smaller daisies and poppies you might have growing in your garden. During spring, you should typically water your hibiscus at least twice every week. If you live in a place like I do where it gets a little hotter early in spring than other places, your hibiscus may need water as much as every second or third day. Spring in the northern hemisphere is usually a little more gentle, and thus, it’s recommended to keep to the two times weekly watering schedule unless your temperatures increase.
Watering hibiscus is easy enough once you get the hang of it, and you should even start anticipating when your plan needs water simply by looking at its growth. Generally, we only water hibiscus when its soil is completely dry. Again, hibiscus does not do well in overly wet soils, which is why its imperative to plant your hibiscus in soils that drain well. When you water your hibiscus, we suggest a deep watering. Deep watering basically means that you should saturate your plant’s soil in water, right up to the point that it remains in a little puddle around the plant for a few moments.
Water your hibiscus slowly, as this means the water will have the best chance at soaking the soil properly. Watering too fast will likely just displace soil, mess it down the sides of the pot, or end up exposing roots. Watering hibiscus is a fairly gentle art.
As stated above, it’s not difficult to tell when your hibiscus needs water again. Simply press your finger gently into the soil around your plant. If the soil feels moist or has a muddy consistency, your plant does not need more water. If the soil is dry and your finger comes up clean, it’s probably time to give your hibiscus some more of that sweet nutritious H2O.
We’ve already published a guide containing all the info you need when it comes to fertilizing your hibiscus plants. Therefore, we’re not going to go into extreme detail on that front. We will, however, give you the basics pertaining to the type of fertilizers and so on, as well as a basic guide for each season.
As you’ll read in our comprehensive guide on how to fertilize hibiscus, there are three components that your chosen fertilizer will need to contain. These are nitrogen, phosporous, and potassium. You’ll find these three components expressed as N-P-K on reputable fertilizer packaging, where a number corresponds with each letter.
As we say in our comprehensive guide, ‘According to the majority of professional hibiscus cultivators, the ideal ratio of the NPK nutrients is 3 -1 -4. That is to say, a moderate percentage of nitrogen, a low percentage of phosphorus, and a high percentage of potassium.’ I grow hibiscus too, and I’ve always found this to be sound advice.
Even though we’ve quoted out of our comprehensive guide already, I’d still recommend readin through it as it contains tons of helpful information such as our choices for the best commercial hibiscus fertilizer, as well the top home remedies to use for the purpose of fertilizing your hibiscus.
With the general section pertaining to fertilizer handled, we can jump into the spring-specific section.
As we’ve stated before, spring is an active growing season for hibiscus. For this reason, your hibiscus might need more help in the form of fertilizer than it does during other seasons. We typically advise that you fertilize your hibiscus once every two weeks. It’s best not to exceed this, though, as exposing your hibiscus to too much fertilizer can cause nitrogen burn or any number of other maladies. The comprehensive guide is an extensive source of information, including the dangers of overfertilizing your hibiscus. If you have any questions about hibiscus fertilizer, you’ll likely find the answer there.
Now, there are two main types of fertilizers. These are slow-release fertilizers and those that are water-soluble. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, you can expect it to do exactly as the name implies. It releases its nutrients in the soil very slowly, thereby eliminating the risk of your plant getting too much of a given component. Fertilizing this way also means that you can do it less often than if you went with the water-soluble approach. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, you’ll only need to fertilize your hibiscus four times a year. Yes, only four times annually. This essentially means once every season, but not actually. Basically, you’ll fertilize once at the beginning of spring, and once when the first hibiscus blooms have gone. This may be in spring, but it may also be in another season. It depends entirely on the species of your hibiscus plant, whether its annual or perennial, hardy or tropical, and the climate within which it grows.
It’s a slightly different story if you choose to use water-soluble fertilizers. You’ll need to fertilize your plants more frequently if you choose to go this route, and you’d need to dilute the fertilizer as it’s quite concentrated as is. With this, you’ll want to fertilize once every two weeks for the duration of spring.
This is one of my favorite sections of all. There’s nothing I love more than being able to take bits and pieces of one plant and turn them into an entire other plant. There’s something so satisfying and fulfilling about propagating a plant as beautiful as hibiscus.
We have a dedicated on how to propagate hibiscus, especially if you want to learn how to grow cuttings in water. Therefore, we aren’t going to go into terribly deep detail about the actual process of propagation. We will, however, give you a brief overview of everything you need to know about propagation during different seasons. We’re starting with spring for a specific reason; because it’s quite simply the best season during which to propagate your plants, particularly hibiscus. The reason for this is that seasons like spring and summer are active growing seasons, and your plant concentrates most of its energy on producing new growth during these seasons. Spring is the start of the the active growing phase, and, therefore, this is the time during which your hibiscus plant is the most predisposed to grow as vigorously as possible. Your plant is trying to prepare itself for the heat and sun exposure that typically intensifies as spring progresses.
As we’ve discussed before, vascular plants require leaves in order to facilitate the absorption and transportation of photons. These photons are essential for the plant’s survival. This is because your hibiscus plant converts these photons into essential building blocks. The fact that your hibiscus plant is literally trying to develop as many leaves as possible during early spring means that any cuttings you take from the parent plant should do the same. This is why spring is the best time to take cuttings.
There are different methods of propagation that we’ve covered and will cover further in future articles. However, as previously stated, we’re not going to go into actual methods in this article.
Spring is also the best time to pot or repot your hibiscus plants as they’ll be more predisposed to develop roots during their active growing phases.
There are many ways to maintain the life and stability of your hibiscus plant. In fact, some may argue that watering, fertilizing and propagating your plant are all arms of the same process – maintenance. However, within the context of this article, maintenance means the trimming and pruning measures that you take in order to encourage your hibiscus plant to keep growing strong and producing the stunning larger-than-life flowers for which it is known. To that end, let’s discuss how to maintain your hibiscus plant through the spring.
In terms of maintenance, spring is a two-pronged season. We primarily think of spring as the start of the flowering season, as it pertains to plants. However, spring is also the end of the dormant seasons. Therefore, while spring is the season of new fresh growth for your hibiscus plant, it’s also the season of getting rid of that which died during the winter or that which might be holding the plant back. This is known as cutting a plant back.
In order to promote strong healthy growth within your hibiscus plant during spring, you need to remove the old growth. Now, you can’t just hack at the plant like it’s Halloween, and you’re the star of a slasher film. As fun as pure destruction may sound, there’s a way to perform hard cutbacks properly.
Usually, you’ll notice older growth on vascular plants like hibiscus as having a darker green hue. Sometimes, after the harshness of winter, the tips of the branches may even be brown. This is what you need to cut off first – anything dead. If you see entire dead branches, remove them. If you see dead leaves, pull them off. Basically, anything dead needs to go. Next, we’ll delve into the one-third rule.
The rule of thumb is that you never remove more than a third of a plant’s mass. I keep my hibiscus plants fairly small and trimmed, so they hardly ever need such drastic cutbacks, but I have a plethora of other wild and free shrubs on the property that do require such harsh methods. One such plant is lavender. I have three species of lavender at present, but the one that needs these cutbacks the most when spring starts is the English lavender. Basically, what I do is I clean my garden shears, and then I decide visually where on the plant the one-third marker is. I don’t cut one-third of the plant away all at once, though. I prefer to do it in smaller increments. This way, I have more control over how much I actually want to take off.
Once you’ve taken care of the dead bits and older growth (only up to the one-third marker), your plant should be ready for the new growth that spring is bound to bring. Now, if your plant is a little misshapen after you’ve removed dead stuff and old stuff, you may want to trim it a little so that it looks a little better.
It’s advisable to do this during the very start of spring. It’s not recommended that you perform hard cutbacks after toward the end of spring.
Summer is the warmest season of the year, and this is the time when blooms are usually at the height of their brilliance. Summer is a little bit of a difficult season to define as it differs so much depending on the hemispheres and individual climates. Climates like where I am, typically have incredibly hot summers that average almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, summer in places like Florida averages around 70 degrees. Another factor that makes summer more tricky to give guides on is humidity. We don’t have much humidity where I am from. However, the closer you get to the coast, the more humid the air becomes.
Humidity and average summer temperatures are incredibly important when it comes to hibiscus care. We’ll discuss both of these aspects more thoroughly below.
Quick summer care sheet
Outside in the fullness of the summertime sun.
Deep watering twice weekly.
Once every two weeks
You can still take cuttings at the beginning of the season, but doing so in spring is better. Summer is still a good season during which to pot new hibiscus plants.
We don’t recommend any extreme cutbacks or pruning in summer but you’ll need to prune your hibiscus a little to keep it tidy.
The location you choose for your hibiscus in summer is dependant on the harshness of your average summer temperatures. Hibiscus actually has an ideal temperature range. As long as your region experiences average summer temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit, your hibiscus will thrive. However, this does mean that in temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, hibiscus begins to suffer.
If your region falls into the hibiscus temperature sweet spot, you can leave that baby out in the sun all summer long, on the northern side of your house. If you experience far higher summer temperatures, you’ll need to be a little less liberal with the direct sunlight you expose your hibiscus to. In such cases, we’d suggest the eastern or western side of your property, if possible, as this will only expose your hibiscus to direct sunlight either in the morning or evening. Here, again, it may be best to keep your hibiscus in a pot so that you can move it out of the sun if needed.
Even though you don’t want your hibiscus to burn or wilt in the sun, it’s never recommended to plant hibiscus in the shade. Wherever possible, hibiscus needs access to direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours a day. Only in the most extreme temperatures of over 85 degrees Fahrenheit should you forego this rule.
We’ve already stated above that your hibiscus generally requires more water in summer. Depending on the temperatures that your region experiences, you’ll need to water your hibiscus a little more than in spring. In the quick care sheet, we’ve stuck to suggesting that you water your hibiscus deeply twice weekly, but you’ll need to adjust this as you see fit. Again, use the finger trick to determine whether your hibiscus requires water or not. If, however, you have a particularly hot day in store, you’ll need to make sure that your hibiscus is prepared to deal with the heat.
One thing we didn’t cover in the spring watering guide is times of day. This is becuase I didn’t want to repeat myself excessively, and thus intent to spread knowledge a round between the four seasons wherever possible. Times of day are important because this largely determines whether your hibiscus will have a chance to absorb the water before the sun evaporates it. Typically, you should only water your hibiscus in the early morning or early evening.
Where I am, the temperature rises to infernal levels by around 10 AM and only starts receding to human levels around 7 PM. Therefore, I know that watering around lunchtime or before the evening breeze sets in will result in the sun getting the majority of the water intended for my hibiscus. Here, we do this with all of our plants. The middle of the day is simply too hot.
Now, this depends entirely on your region. If you have relatively cool summer days, then watering in the middle of the day should not be a problem. However, if you live in the barely habitable zone of the setting of Dante’s Inferno, you should only water when it’s cool outside.
Fertilizing during summer is a far easier and less convoluted affair. We’ve already discussed the basics of your hibiscus plant’s fertilizer requirement and what type of fertilizer it likes, so we won’t be doing that again. Instead, we’ll keep this section incredibly short and sweet.
Basically, if you’re using a slow-release fertilizer, you’ll only need to fertilize your hibiscus once in the middle of summer. This is as low-maintenance as it gets.
If you, instead, opt for a water-soluble fertilizer, you’ll need to apply it to your plants once every two weeks for the duration of the summer months.
As we touched on in the previous season, summer is also a really good season during which to propagate your hibiscus plants or bonsais. This is also an active growing phase in your hibiscus plant’s life cycle and the time when its flower production typically goes into overdrive. There isn’t really all that much to say about propagation during summer. If you’d like to know how to propagate your plants during summer, read our helpful propagation guide for hibiscus. Within that article, we cover everything from the basics to different propagation methods. If you’re a fairly lazy gardener, like me, you’ll likely particularly enjoy the water propagation methods.
There are quite a few of these, and we cover them at length. If you’re a more visual learner, we also have an article on all things hibiscus where we link to various videos showing the processes we cover in minute detail. In that article, you’ll find numerous links to the best hibiscus propagation videos on YouTube.
As we stipulated in the quick care sheet for summer, if you choose to propagate your plants during summer, it’s best to confine those activities to the beginning of the season. The further into summer you get, the closer faster you approach the cooler half of the year and the less time your plants have to establish themselves before the cold sets in. Personally, I prefer to propagate in the spring. I judge time based on what my bougainvilleas look like because I find them to be a more accurate representation of the effects of the season.
See, when my bougainvilleas start producing new leaves in spring, I know it’s time to start preparing pots and restocking all the supplies I require for propagation. When the first vibrantly colored bracts appear, I know it’s warm enough to start propagating. The first new leaves usually start about a week or two before the ‘official’ start of spring, and shortly thereafter, when the air is thawed and warming up nicely, I know that it’s a good time to start propagating flowering plants like hibiscus. I don’t typically propagate during summer, even though you can, if you want to.
The main reason I don’t propagate during summer is because it simply gets too hot here. During spring, the air is still cool and fresh. By the time summer is in full swing, however, the air, soil, and everything around it is hot. This is the kind of heat that will usually cause a new plant that hasn’t established itself yet to wilt.
To sum up, it’s perfectly okay to propagate hibiscus in the summer, if your region’s average temperatures allow the new plants to thrive. You can, of course, get around these temperature issues by propagating your hibiscus plants in a semi-controlled environment. You’d typically accomplish this by either setting up a terrarium of sorts in which to grow new cuttings or simply popping a clear plastic bag over your growing pot after you’ve watered the soil.
You’d then put this in a warm spot that doesn’t get too much direct sunlight. Then, when you have sufficient growth, you’ll move the pot to a sunnier location and eventually remove the bag. We cover this process in more detail in our article on the best YouTube videos about hibiscus care.
Spring is the season of extreme maintenance. By the time you get to summer, you’ll likely just want to trim your plant a little every now and then to keep it looking its best. You don’t technically have to trim your plant in the summer, but trimming is the best way to keep promoting new growth through the flowering season. The other only maintenance you need to perform during summer would be regarding pests and critters. Luckily, we have an article for that!
Fall, in my opinion, is possibly the most beautiful of all the seasons. Although, I don’t experience fall in this country as you might in the United States or Europe. We still have the annual turning of leaves from greens to brilliant golds and deep reds. However, we also have far more evergreen plants in my hometown, which leaves the region looking like it’s stuck in an eternal summer but with far colder temperatures and icy winds. Fall overseas, however, is chef’s kiss.
Quick fall care sheet
Your potted hibiscus can remain outside, however, you may need to shield it from the potentially harsh fall winds.
Gradually decrease watering garden plants as the temperature drops. Potted plants will still need regular watering. When the air and soil temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, stop watering your garden hibiscus.
Once every four weeks. Fertilizing during fall is, however, not a requirement.
No new hibiscus plants should be planted in the fall, and no cuttings should be taken during this season.
Hibiscus doesn’t require any kind of pruning during fall.
Fall is characterized in most places by particularly harsh winds. Like summer has intense heat as your hibiscus’ main antagonist, the enemies that fall brings forth for your plant to face are strong gusts and gales that can rip its leaves from its stems – let’s not even talk about what it does to the flowers. Actually, let’s talk about it. Here, where I am, our fall months are also characteristically windy, as are our winters. I haven’t had any issues with my hibiscus babies in this regard, mainly because I don’t expose them to the elements when it’s cold and windy. However, I recently made an incredibly stupid mistake with my favorite bougainvillea, which still haunts my dreams.
You see, I’m planning on moving soon. I’m yearning for slightly different surroundings in a slightly more mountainous and dramatic region of the city. I also recently bought myself a dark, moody bougainvillea which I intended to put into a pot, as I do with everything else. However, at the end of our last Southern hemisphere summer, I elected to plant my bougainvillea against the property’s barrier fence. The intention was rather emotionally motivated.
I intended to leave my moody little bougainvillea plant to creep its way up and across the fence as a goodbye gift to the house. The house has served me well, and I wanted to leave the new owners with something beautiful and dramatic to look out upon from their slumber chambers.
Unfortunately, the absolute dullard currently penning this article didn’t have the mental capacity at the time to realize that it wasn’t a good idea to plant a bougainvillea in the garden when fall was preparing its slow creep across the lands. I also didn’t take into account that our fall is characteristically windy and that a bougainvillea’s bracts are not the hardiest bits nature has come up with during its billions of years of existence. Nevertheless, with tears in my eyes, I planted that bougainvillea in possibly the most vulnerable spot in my garden. I was an emotional wreck over the house.
Fall came, and fall went, and I watched in horror as every single bract, leaf, and flower was ripped from my struggling bougainvillea. Winter swept across the Southern hemisphere and battered my poor plant some more. It felt like a never-ending onslaught. I managed to save my bougainvillea from near-death when Spring rolled around a few weeks ago, and she’s doing better than ever before, apart from a sudden change in the hue of her bracts. This long-winded tale is a cautionary one, reminding you not to leave plants with delicate flowers or other biological structures in gales and gusts. Learn from me, don’t be like me.
During the first hints of fall, it’s important that you keep watering your hibiscus as you previously did. You should only start decreasing the amount of water and the frequency with which you water when the temperature begins dropping significantly. This is basically an acclimation period for your hibiscus, during which it prepares to go into a dormant state, as most plants do during winter.
If you have a potted plant and elect to move your hibiscus inside for the colder months, you’ll need to decrease the amount of water you give your plant. Basically, you can keep to the finger method described above, but as the temperature and humidity drop, you’ll notice an increase in the time between which your hibiscus requires water. You’ll also not want to water as deeply as previously, as this may cause root rot to set in as the water will take more time to be absorbed or evaporated.
In the case of garden plants, keep up the same watering regime as you held in the previous months. As the temperature drops further, you’ll notice that it takes longer for your hibiscus’ soil to dry out. This is why the finger method is such a good way to keep track of your hibiscus’ water requirements, as it is dependent on the soil of your plant being dry to the touch.
Once the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to stop watering your outdoor hibiscus completely. This may happen during fall, or it may only happen during winter. As long as the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, keep watering your plants. If your fall months are colder than in other more temperate climates, you may need to start considering covering your hibiscus for the winter during fall. Covering your plants will leave them less vulnerable to frostbite so that they can wait out the winter safely and bloom again when spring comes around.
If you thought fertilizing in summer was easy, fall is about to blow your mind. Essentially, if you use a slow-release fertilizer, fall is your off-season. You don’t need to fertilize at all during the cooler, windier fall months.
If you prefer water-soluble fertilizers, you’ll need to put a little more work in, but still not much at all. Your hibiscus plant or bonsai only needs to be fertilized once every four weeks. That’s like once a month. This is the epitome of low maintenance.
Propagation during fall is highly discouraged. This is because fall is not an active growing season for your hibiscus. Therefore, your plant is not predisposed to grow or root during this season. If you have a semi-controlled environment within which to propagate your hibiscus plant, you should be able to do so with relative success. However, if you don’t have a specialized spot protected from the changing moods of the exterior environment, we don’t suggest planting new hibiscus plants or trying to propagate your existing ones during fall.
By now, you’re used to these sections getting smaller and smaller as the seasons get cooler. This section is no exception. We don’t recommend pruning of any kind during fall. Pruning is primary used to promote healthy new growth. When your plant is not in an active growth season, it’s pointless, and even harmful to trim. If the plant is not actively growing, it won’t necessarily repair itself where you’ve trimmed, which could lead to entire branches dying off. Just to remain on the safe side, don’t prune or trim hibiscus in fall.
Quick winter care sheet
Your potted hibiscus plants should be moved indoors in the case of extreme winter temperature drops. Cover your garden hibiscus to protect it from frost.
Water only when your hibiscus’ soil is dry to the touch.
Do not fertilize hibiscus during winter.
We don’t recommend propagating hibiscus in the winter, and cuttings taken during winter aren’t likely to survive.
You needn’t prune your hibiscus in the winter.
Location is relatively simple to determine during winter. Wherever possible, keep your hibiscus somewhere where it is protected from the winter elements. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, hibiscus is organized into two main groups, hardy and tropical. Tropical hibiscus is particularly difficult to maintain during the colder winter months. Tropical hibiscus loves the tropical sun, warm beach breeze, and higher coastal humidity. Tropical hibiscus does not like winter. This is quite understandable when you take into account where tropical hibiscus species originate from.
Hardy hibiscus is a little different. These species don’t necessarily like the cold, but they can handle significantly lower temperatures than their tropical cousins. If you’re curious about how low the temperature can get around these babies before they start taking strain, it’s -30 degrees Fahrenheit. For reference, that’s -34 degrees Celsius. Your hardy hibiscus may look flowery and fragile, but when it comes to cold temperatures, it can handle far more than you. And that’s without the help of uggs, snoods, scarves, or fleece-lined jackets. These plants are hardcore survivors.
So, if you have one of the hardy varieties of hibiscus, you’re perfectly fine leaving it out in the cold. However, if you grow primarily tropical species such as hibiscus Rosa-sinensis, you’d be better off keeping your plants potted and shielded from the cold in the winter. Now, if you have tropical hibiscus planted in your garden, you’ll need to cover them with protective sheeting in order to keep them from succumbing to the cold.
Watering hibiscus and many other flowering plants during the colder winter months is the easiest thing of all. This is largely due to the fact that you barely have to water during the winter. As we discussed above in the fall section, as soon as the temperature of the soil and air hits anything below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you should stop watering your plants. Some regions experience temperatures lower than this during the start or end of fall. But, in some areas, these temperatures only occur during winter.
The other factor to keep in mind is the finger test. This is literally the only watering hack you need to remember for plants like hibiscus. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water. Even though we don’t typically water in the winter, it’s important to remember that not all hibiscus species go into full hibernation mode during the colder months. Therefore, unless you have concrete proof that your plant has ceased growing or has died back, you should continue watering when the soil is dry.
Winter is the easiest of all seasons on pretty much all care fronts. Yes, you’ll still need to do a little in the way of care during the coldest of all the seasons, but it’s child’s play compared to the work you need to do during an active growing season.
The same as with every other season, your fertilizing activities depend on the type of nutrient absorption method you use. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, you’ll only need to fertilize once early in the winter. If you opt for a water-soluble fertilizer, you’ll only need to fertilize every four weeks during the winter months.
Propagation during winter carries even more risk of failure than in fall. In truth, unless you have a place that is protected from the elements completely, you shouldn’t try to propagate during winter. Truth be told, it’s better to wait a few weeks or months for spring to come around again. Then, you can propagate hibiscus to your heart’s content.
Hibiscus maintenance during winter follows the same theme as pruning during fall and carries the same risks. Rather don’t do it at all. There’s nothing else to say on the subject apart from please don’t prune or trim your hibiscus plants when it’s cold like it is during fall and winter.
Covered, whatever the season
Every season brings different benefits and challenges. We hope that this guide furnishes you with the knowledge you need to grow hibiscus successfully, and take care of it as the seasons change. We tried to cover as much information as possible in this article, but we may expand further on certain parts in future articles, depending on whether that’s what you want to know or not. On a personal note, It’s been a short while since I’ve written a long-form article, I hope to deliver articles like this more frequently in the future and this, and my work for AncientBeasts are major passions for me where I get to explore so many facets of this beautiful world upon which we live.