Will Your Hibiscus Make It Through Winter? Find Out!

Hibiscus flowers are at their best during summer and fall, providing a beautiful, colorful display. Hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus thrive in different conditions and climates, especially during winter. In this article, we’ll find out whether hibiscus plants can survive winter.

Can Hibiscus Survive Winter?

Can Hibiscus Survive Winter?

A hibiscus plant in bloom showcasing large white flowers

For the most part, both types of hibiscus plants can survive winters in their preferred climates. Hardy hibiscus thrives in cooler temperatures and goes dormant over the winter. Tropical hibiscus is evergreen in warm climates with mild winters.

Hardy hibiscus can tolerate winter temperatures as low as -30ºF and can handle frost. Hardy hibiscus is deciduous, which means it drops its leaves before winter. In extremely cold areas, hardy hibiscus plants die back to the ground. However, they will regrow the following spring.

Tropical hibiscus cannot survive winter outside if the temperature drops below 40ºF. If exposed to cold temperatures and frost, tropical hibiscus start to lose their leaves and die. If you want to grow tropical hibiscus in cold climates, grow them in containers or grow them as houseplants.

How to Care for Hardy Hibiscus in Winter

Hardy hibiscus plants don’t require any special care to prepare them for winter. Give your hardy hibiscus a thorough watering before the first frost arrives. Water your hibiscus every four weeks or so during the winter if the top of the soil feels dry.

Avoid fertilizing your hardy hibiscus while it’s dormant during the winter. You can apply a thick layer of mulch after watering. This provides extra insulation and helps your hibiscus preserve water during the winter months.

If temperatures drop below -30ºF, hardy hibiscus plants may need extra protection. If your hardy hibiscus is growing in the ground, wrap some horticultural fleece around its trunk. Apply an extra thick layer of mulch. If your hibiscus is growing in a pot, bring it inside until temperatures consistently stay above -30ºF.

How to Care for Tropical Hibiscus in Winter

Tropical hibiscus plant showcasing two large red flowers

Tropical hibiscus can only grow outside during the winter in mild climates that don’t get any frost. However, you can grow tropical hibiscus in colder areas if you grow them in containers. This makes it much easier to protect them during cold winters.

Before winter arrives, wrap your hibiscus pot in horticultural fleece. This gives your tropical hibiscus some protection against the cold. You can also apply a layer of mulch around the base of the trunk.

Bring your potted hibiscus indoors once nighttime temperatures drop below 40ºF. A greenhouse or conservatory is ideal. Remember that your tropical hibiscus may get too dry indoors, so mist it regularly or use a humidifier.

Once nighttime spring temperatures consistently exceed 40ºF, move your tropical hibiscus back outside. Ensure your hibiscus has a sheltered location to protect it against cold winds.

What Conditions Do Hibiscus Need?

The Hibiscus genus contains hundreds of species that are broadly divided into two types; hardy hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus thrives in cooler climates in USDA Zones 4 to 9. Tropical hibiscus requires warm, humid climates in Zones 9 to 12. Each is available in various colors, including beautiful yellow, red, and purple hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus plants require nutrient-rich, well-draining soils that stay slightly moist. Tropical hibiscus grows best in partial shade, while hardy hibiscus thrives in full sun. Both types of hibiscus require approximately 1 or 2 inches of water each week to keep the soil moist.

Hibiscus Winter Survival FAQs:

How Do I Keep My Hibiscus Alive During Winter?

Hardy hibiscus can fend for themselves during winter as long as temperatures don’t drop below -30ºF. Keep tropical hibiscus alive during cold winters by growing them in pots and bringing them indoors.

Can a Hibiscus Plant Survive a Freeze?

Hardy hibiscus plants can survive frost and freezing temperatures down to -30ºF. Tropical hibiscus plants cannot tolerate frost or extreme cold. Tropical hibiscus will lose their leaves and die off if temperatures drop below 40ºF.

Will Hibiscus Come Back After Winter?

Hardy hibiscus plants are deciduous, which means they lose their leaves during the winter. In extreme cold, hardy hibiscus dies back completely. However, they will come back after winter. In Zones 9 to 12, tropical hibiscus are evergreen as long as winters are mild.

Wrapping Up

Hardy hibiscus thrives in cooler areas and can survive frost and winter temperatures down to -30ºF. This hibiscus rarely need extra winter protection. Tropical hibiscus cannot tolerate cold temperatures below 40ºF. In areas colder than Zone 9, grow tropical hibiscus in containers and bring them indoors during the winter.


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