Many people who have a hibiscus plant have no idea if it is a tropical hibiscus plant or a hardy hibiscus plant. More often than not it was a gift or the gardening store did not separate the tropical from the hardy plants. A hardy hibiscus plant can live outside in locations up to zone 5 on the USDA plant hardiness map, which is basically 15 to 20 below zero in the winter. The hardy hibiscus plant will die each fall and grow back again in the spring. Older hardy hibiscus plants only came in white, pink and red so if you have a color other than these and an older plant, it is a tropical hibiscus plant for sure.
Tropical hibiscus can be double flowered or come in yellow, orange, peach and salmon colors as well as white, pink and red. But while tropical hibiscus plants do need very warm weather, you can still have a nicely blooming tropical hibiscus as long as you bring it inside for the winter months. Remember, any frost at all will kill a tropical hibiscus plant so if you live in a cold climate, you should get them into the house by the time the temperature is dropping below the 40s at night.
If you do live in one of these cooler regions and have a tropical hibiscus plant, you can have it successfully live year round by putting it out in warm weather and bringing it in if it’s cold weather. To do this, the hibiscus will have to be in a plant container at all times--it cannot be done with hibiscus that are planted in the ground.
To get your tropical hibiscus plant ready to come inside in the fall, the first thing to do is to cut it back so that the stems are down to around four or five inches. Next spray the plant with water--between cutting it back and spraying you should eliminate just about all of the pests that like to feed on this plant.
Don’t worry about it if the leaves start to turn yellow and fall off after the hibiscus plant is inside. This is normal. Let the plant just lie dormant from October to March and then get it ready to go back outside. Depending on where the plant came from, it might or might not continue to have as many flowers as it did the first summer.
It is important to remember to let your tropical hibiscus gradually re-acclimate itself to being out side. Increase the sunlight that it receives each day so it doesn’t get too much sun at once. Spraying the leaves again before leaving it outside full-time will once again destroy and pests that might be in hiding.
Your tropical hibiscus should adjust to being outside full-time in about ten days. If you do this seasonally, your hibiscus plant should live to be anywhere from six to ten years old, and will display a many flowers each year.