Overwintering plants - Hibiscus

So it's time to start bringing in plants. I've not had much luck overwintering in the past and I could use some advice, so I thought, I'm on a role posting here lately, so might as well keep going. :-)
I got 2 gorgeous hibiscus trees around May and they bloomed and bloomed throughout the season. One seemed a little sickly and would drop leaves and shrivel up for whatever reason but they both held on. I brought them in last week after repotting, watering well and spraying for insects. I put them in the basement near a window. Very little sun gets through down there but it's the best I could do. Pictures below show how they are looking. Is this ok? I mean, I expect them to look crappy throughout the winter but we're just getting started. The soil is not dry ... it's moist and the leaves are crunchy. I plan to water very infrequently - maybe every 2-3 weeks or so? Any other suggestions to better my chances of keeping them alive until next year?
overwintering plants hibiscus, flowers, gardening, hibiscus, Before
overwintering plants hibiscus, flowers, gardening, hibiscus
overwintering plants hibiscus, flowers, gardening, hibiscus, Now re potted and in place for overwintering
Now - re-potted and in place for overwintering
overwintering plants hibiscus, flowers, gardening, hibiscus, close up of 1st
close up of 1st
overwintering plants hibiscus, flowers, gardening, hibiscus, close up of 2nd
close up of 2nd
  34 answers
  • JimG JimG on Nov 10, 2013
    Last year, I brought all mine in (4) into my sunroom (68 degrees) in winter and they did GREAT! THIS Year, I placed them in my dining room and living room corners (I use my sunroom for a bible study group of 13-15+ teens, so no room for bigger plants!). they all are doing well. (in our old house, we maintained one Hibiscus in our Living room and it grew well. EVERY year we would trim it down to keep it from getting too big! **** I haven;t had teh experience to have to put the Hibiscus in cooler areas. house temp works great AND we get to enjoy the flowers year round!

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    • James Ginas James Ginas on Dec 02, 2018

      wow, old pic! my Hibiscus lasted for a few years bringing them in and did well in Spring, but last year, just completely died..... as if we watered them with viniger. Bought 2 new ones this yesr that did unbelievable this spring/summer.... gave them granular plant food once per month. so no have them in the house and we'll see how they do

  • TheLastLeafGardener TheLastLeafGardener on Nov 10, 2013
    I have guest blogged re winterizing and maybe some of my methods would be useful. INFO @ https://www.facebook.com/TheLastLeafGardener/app_119255214825893

  • Donna J Donna J on Nov 10, 2013
    Teresa, I have been bringing my hibiscus plants in for over three years. I have four of them and they do well in my garage once the temperatures are not too cold. During the first few weeks they drop all their leaves but would adjust and begin to send out new leaves. After the Christmas holidays when all Christmas trees and decorations are out of the way, I will bring them into the house and set them near a window. If you have a western facing window that would be best. Try not to place them directly under a heating vent. Check the moisture weekly. My plants send out lots of blooms during their indoor stay. When Spring comes around they will be ready for a return stay on the deck or patio. Whatever you do, do not throw them out. You would be glad you didn't next year. Good luck.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Nov 11, 2013
    Jim and Donna have given you good advice. I would not worry at all about the way your hibiscus looks right now. Even if it spent the whole winter in a state of suspended animation, it should come out again in the spring if you don't completely let it dry out.

  • Teresa D Teresa D on Nov 11, 2013
    Thanks so much guys!! I'm so happy to hear that. I would hate to lose these. @Donna J , I will move them upstairs after Christmas. The only window I can set them in faces NE but any sunlight coming through would be heavily filtered by the trees in my front yard. *Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • TheLastLeafGardener TheLastLeafGardener on Nov 11, 2013
    Glad you were able to view it. Keep me posted on how your LOVELY plants make it through the winter! CHEERS!

  • JimG JimG on Nov 11, 2013
    4 Hibiscus... the smaller, wider one generally puts out the most flowers, usually 7-8 at a time and outside, usually almost everyday. the others (3 red ones) outside when not extreme heat, put out 5-7 each time! inside, usually about 2 or 3-5 a day.

    • Teresa D Teresa D on Nov 12, 2013
      @Jim G Nice! I wish I got more sun through my windows. If I did, I could have left mine in the windows when I brought them in in hopes of getting a nice bloom throughout the winter. Thanks for sharing!

  • Elizabeth Tongue Elizabeth Tongue on Nov 12, 2013
    I live in Massachusetts in Zone 5 a. I have two hibiscus plants that grow in a garden that is sheltered from the wind, near the foundation of our home. My hibiscus have stayed in the ground for three years now and each fall I cover the base of the plants with leaves and let them alone. Each spring the plant sends up new shoots that bloom and look more wonderful than the last year.

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Nov 12, 2013
    I bring those and my other tropicals in and put them in our unheated garage. It's chilly but not freezing. They do just fine.

  • Evonne Kruger Evonne Kruger on Nov 12, 2013
    Living in Mn. I had hibiscus (outdoor) kind for at least 6 years and got really big and beautiful flowers, sent off shoots last year so gave some away, then this year all 4 of them died. But will try again. Rose of Sharon is close to them and stay out all year around. Good luck

    • Teresa D Teresa D on Nov 12, 2013
      @Evonne Kruger I was really surprised to see that my mom had a hibiscus bush outside. She lives in Indianapolis. That thing is HUGE! I would compare it to the size of a VW Beetle. The flowers are as big as my head! (not sure what that's saying - small head??) Anyway, she does nothing special to hers and it comes back every year. That was my introduction to there being different kinds of hibiscus.

  • Kimberly Stiglich-Myers Kimberly Stiglich-Myers on Nov 12, 2013
    Did frost get to this plant at all? I have one too and I have to trim mine back when I bring it in, I live in Michigan so have to get it in when the weather turns chilly. Mine has fresh buds on it now! I would cut it back and see what happens and hopefully it comes back. Good Luck.

    • Teresa D Teresa D on Nov 12, 2013
      @Kimberly Stiglich-Myers I brought them in before temps dropped to freezing. Because they are trees, I'm not really sure how to cut them back. I'll just continue to watch them throughout the season.

  • Molly Meredith Molly Meredith on Nov 12, 2013
    possibly re-pot into a larger pot with good dirt and I like to put charcoal in the pot first as well as doing what Kimberly said

    • Teresa D Teresa D on Nov 12, 2013
      @Molly Meredith I already repotted them. What does the charcoal do?

  • Barbara Latonie Barbara Latonie on Nov 12, 2013
    I bring mine in every year before frost. I read that if you add liquid fertilizer when watering them, they will blossom all winter.

  • Jane Herbert Jane Herbert on Nov 12, 2013
    My "tree" is probably nearly 15 years old. I put it outside in the summer, bring it in in the fall. I keep it in our hot tub room, where it is quite bright but not directly in front of a window. It's not real warm in there, probably 65-68 degrees. It does usually lose some/quite a few leaves. But, honestly, it flowers more inside in the winter than it does outside in the summer. I've had as many as 20+ flowers during the winter. I do occasionally have to spray it for little aphids. Don't get discouraged. It'll be fine.

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 12, 2013
    I would love to bring in my hibiscus and mandevilla plants for the winter. What do you spray them with to make sure the bugs are gone before bringing them in. Years ago I did this and didn't spray or anything to my dismay. Later I found all kinds of little creatures in my living room...ewwww

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    • Teresa D Teresa D on Nov 12, 2013
      @Sharon I use that Bayer Advanced flower and plant insect control. It's in a blue bottle and can be found at Lowes or Home Depot ... even Walmart. It kills on contact and protects up to 30 days.

  • Becca Frierson Becca Frierson on Nov 12, 2013
    there are tropical hibiscus and hardy hibiscus... tropical normally won't make it thru the winter outside, now inside, they can if they don't get under 40 ... the hardy hibiscus can actually make it in the ground in most areas unless it is just freezing day after day. but you can put bark over the ground around it ... or cover the ground with some more protection from the col col.

  • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2013
    How do you tell the hardy from the other. My stems seem woody so I assume it's hardy but I brought it in anyway. Some of the leaves have turned yellow and dropped off but not many. Do they continue to bloom through the winter or best to let them go dormant?

  • Marian McNabb Marian McNabb on Nov 12, 2013
    I to live in Minn. and I bring my Hibiscus in for the winter. I use a south facing large window in the dining room. I've now had this plant for 6 years. I have even cut it back at times.

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 12, 2013
    @Teresa D.......thanks Teresa. I've use that this past summer outside. I just didn't know if there was something else I needed to do to get rid of anything before bringing plants inside for the winter.

  • Jadez Jadez on Nov 12, 2013
    the close up of pic 2....i had one like that and could not figure out why the leaves were dying on it....turns out at the bottom of 2nd pot i put it in was a bunch of dead worms and more live ones through out the soil....could not get rid of them and took plant back to store as it was infected....just to let u know to check that part out just in case...

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    • Jadez Jadez on Feb 17, 2015
      @Joyce Foster wish i would have known that at the time, would love to have a hibiscus plant....you removed all the soil? and baked it for how long?

  • Marvin R Marvin R on Nov 12, 2013
    Yea these aren't cheap its great you can save them for next year. They are nice!!!

  • Kim Kim on Nov 13, 2013
    I live in WI, so I bring my Hibiscus in every year. I trim it into the shape I want it for the next season. I run Dawn dish soap through the roots to get all the bugs out. I cover it with paper bags, just the leafy part so it does not get any sun, and water it every week. I find that covering it and all the leaves falling off feeds the roots and I have more blooms when the tree goes outside bare in the spring and my tree blooms all summer, about 10 flowers are always in bloom at a time all summer. I have it in the basement all winter.

    • Sharon Sharon on May 17, 2015
      What do you mean by running Dawn through the roots? Thanks

  • Cathleen Williams Cathleen Williams on Nov 13, 2013
    I live in Kansas and I bring my tree in every year. Hibiscus takes a lot of water all year as it is a tropical. Where the yellow leaves are, they will grow second leave is you keep it watered. Drying it out will kill it. I add a quart of water every four days and it just soaks it up. Mine blooms all winter long. A cheap grow lite will help it bloom if you don't have a window to put it in. This is a plant that is hard to over-water. In the summer, I give it a quart of water every day except when it is raining.

  • JimG JimG on Nov 13, 2013
    I agree with Cathleen, I also pull off all yellow / dying leaves as they are draining energy from the plant, JUST talked today in-fact about that with a Landscaping company.

    • Debbie Flewelling Debbie Flewelling on Dec 02, 2018

      We live in Michigan something Sun does not come out for days !!! It is winter here !! So I thought I would put next to the heat !! Now it still does not look any better !!! So I am going to put in front of the patio door !!?

  • Jo DeVetter Jo DeVetter on Nov 15, 2013
    I saved one from the local compost place a couple years ago ....it was a braided tree about 4 ft tall and I've kept it alive since, 2 winters now it's been brought in after summering outdoors ...what a treasure!

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 16, 2013
    I am so sorry now that I did not bring mine inside for the winter. I had one or two in years past but was disappointed in their blooming throughout the summer so did not bring it in. I did however bring my madevilla in a couple of times but could not get it to do anything inside,. Lost all it's leaves and pretty much looked dead but when spring came it started to produce leaves and I put it back outside where it thrived very well.

  • My Garden Shine My Garden Shine on Feb 12, 2014
    We brought our new Hibiscus Tree inside in September for the winter and started watering it once a week. So far it's still alive. no flowers but the leaves are getting bigger each week. Fingers crossed...

  • Regina Regina on Oct 12, 2014
    I have had a hibiscus for over 30 years..since 1983. I bring it in before the first frost and just leave it. I water when it gets dry and it looks terrible all winter. It starts growing again in the spring. I have another one that is about 10 years old.

  • Evonne Kruger Evonne Kruger on Oct 13, 2014
    I live in Mn., had an inside one for years and got sick of in and out so got the outdoor ones and they are beautiful, just stay out they grew to over 5 ft. and huge huge flowers , jut back in the fall and lasted over 5 years then had a bad winter but had small ones from shoots so they are doing good but cover with leaves now.

  • Robin Corzilius Robin Corzilius on Jan 12, 2015
    I brought my daughter's hibiscus tree into my work place. It had the normal reaction, the leaves fell off and new one grew. Now all the leaves has again dried up. I think we overwatered it but it may not have liked the coffee we occasionally gave it. Are they not acid tolerant?

    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 13, 2015
      @Robin Corzilius They like neutral to slightly acid soil, ideally a pH of 6 to 7.

  • Robin Corzilius Robin Corzilius on Jan 13, 2015
    Thanks, time will tell, I guess if it comes back.

    • JimG JimG on Jan 20, 2015
      @Robin Corzilius They will come back. Hibiscus seem hardy. Mine ALWAYS look awful during the initial movement (shock?), then continue to grow flowers throughout the winter. I do nothing but water every about 2 weeks. Many times I get 5-7 flowers in winter every week, and at times have had 10-12 flowers bloom in one day in winter which is beautiful and even more then summer! I do have pics!

  • Robin Corzilius Robin Corzilius on Jan 20, 2015
    If you water it once every 2 weeks then we did overwater it. I see no signs of new life yet and the soil is still moist. It will sit in the office till spring as the weather up here is too cold to move it out. Hopefully we did not kill it.

  • Robin Corzilius Robin Corzilius on Jan 21, 2015
    Now that this tree is dead, I can see that there are little webs and white dots in them. Do I need to get that out of here before the other 2 plants get infected? And what is it? a mite?

    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 22, 2015
      @Robin Corzilius I suspect mealybugs. Dab them off with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and dispose of them. You may have to keep after them for a bit.

  • Jacqueline McIntosh Jacqueline McIntosh on Aug 02, 2015
    I bring mine in for the winter and it stays in my kitchen. I water it to keep it moist and it keeps most of its leaves. This last winter it flowered eight times. I have had them for three years now.