Tropical Hibiscus

Grow these beautiful flowers outdoors in summer here in NE Ohio.

Tropical Hibiscus are one of the most beautiful plants we can grow for summer.  But did you know that these tropical plants can be over-wintered easily indoors?  Just follow our hints and tips for blooms each and every year!

The first tip is to remember that a tropical Hibiscus is TROPICAL.  They will not tolerate more than 1-2 nights of light freezes. Even one hard freeze (below 25°) can kill the plant.  They are native to sunny, warm and usually humid tropical places.  They detest cold, rainy weather and cold, wet soil

Container-Grown Plants
Use a loose potting mix and do not let water stand in the saucer.  Frequent use of water soluble fertilizer and light use of granular fertilizer (Osmocote) is best.  When potting up, prune both the plant and the roots to promote new, balanced growth.  If placed indoors, mist or use a humidifier and place in a sunny location.

Getting Ready for Winter & Over-wintering 
Here in Ohio, your Hibiscus plants will need to be brought inside for the winter.  Spray with an insecticide before bringing the plant into the house to control bugs.  When fall approaches and night temperatures start to drop below 55°,  it is a good idea to bring them indoors BEFORE temps regularly drop below 40-45° F at night to avoid any damage.  Place plants in a non-drafty southern facing window or in the basement under grow lights.  You may experience yellowing and dropping leaves, but don’t worry, that is normal.

The Next Spring
Prepare your tropical Hibiscus by pruning them before you bring them back outdoors for the summer growing season.  You should expect blooms on the new growth in about 3 months. Use sharp pruning shears and cut just above (1/4 inch) an eye that is pointing in the direction you want the new growth to go.   At this time you can also start fertilizing and gradually bring your plant outdoors in the sun.  But, if night temperatures fall below 55° be sure to bring them indoors.


Aphids & Ants

Control with insecticidal soap or a forceful stream of water

Spider Mites

Most spider mites are too tiny to see and their webs may or may not be noticeable.  Leaves will develop weak looking pale to yellow splotches on the top while the undersides will develop pimple-like bumps.  Miticide or fine oils will need to be sprayed several times to break their life cycle

White Fly

White fly basically looks like dandruff on your plant.  Insecticidal soap usually takes care of them


These sucking insects are best treated in the spring when they are young and moving around.  You will see the small whit scales start at the base of the trunk, working their way up.   Spray with dormant oil early spring or, in summer, spray with All Seasons Spray Oil

Yellowing Leaves

This can be a sign of stress. Causes can be too much water or not enough water – too much fertilizer or not enough – or insect damage. Check for insects and reverse whatever else you are doing or not doing. This is normally a sign to change your hibiscus care schedule.

Bud Drop

This can be caused by stress but it is usually a small insect called a thrip. The thrip girdles the flower’s calyx stem where it connects to the base stem. Spray plant with Monterey Insect Spray with Spinosad and repeat 3 times at one week intervals.