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Overwintering Tropical Plants

Q. How do I overwinter my tropical plants, such as Hibiscus, that are planted in containers and outside during the summer?

A. Gardeners can enjoy the brilliant flowers of tropical plants that will not withstand our extreme cold winter temperatures by bringing potted specimens indoors when temperatures drop to about 50° F. Place the containers in a cool area and withhold watering so the soil dries slightly, allowing the plants to go dormant. Water the plants minimally to keep them alive, but not enough to encourage new growth. Increase watering approximately six to eight weeks before spring temperatures are warm enough to move the plants outside, and after all danger of frost has passed. Heavy feeders, such as Hibiscus, can be fertilized at this time to encourage new growth and flower production.