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Overwintering Container Hibiscus

last year

Hi all! I'm looking for some advice on inducing dormancy in my container hibiscus plants. They're indoor south-facing windowsill plants. Last year I kept them in the window growing with the occasional flower, but this year I'd like to experiment with inducing dormancy. My research brought me to a few comments, including by Al Tapla, indicating I can relocate them to a dark cool place and allow the soil to dry out, limiting waterings to light and occasional. Presently I have only a cursory understanding of the biology of dormancy, basically that metabolism slows down until X or Y happens.


Are there best practices for inducing dormancy? What changes should I watch out for? Any advice on inducing dormancy, dormancy in general, or hibiscus care is very much appreciated. Understanding and encouraging the natural ebb and flow of my plants through the seasons feels like a great next step in learning to enable happy plants, I look forward to learning more and appreciate any resources or wisdom shared.


Thanks much in advanced!

Comments (9)

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I don't think your evergreen tropical flowering shrubs that grow happily in full outdoor sun in places like Honolulu will benefit from such treatment. And am wondering what the point of it would be. Otherwise if you are located in the north seasonal outdoor conditions will affect their behavior even in the south facing window.

  • last year

    Thanks for your response! Window space is at a premium with the season change and bringing plants indoors--if I have an opportunity to liberate those spots for plants that cannot enter dormancy I'm interested in doing so.

  • last year

    What about setting up some artificial lighting?

  • last year

    I love grow lights and use them on most of my seedlings and rehab plants--I don't want to build out more grow light space at this time if avoidable. I've got lots of options of keeping the plant awake over the winter, but I'm hoping to learn more about dormancy in general and whether I can induce dormancy into my hibiscus over the winter without major loss in vigor. One reason for this is the soil needs a changing badly and they're begging for an aggressive prune however I don't want to repot until Spring so that new growth has tight internodes and the plant has long days to recover in.

  • last year

    Al, are the plants you over winter in the cubbyhole in the dark or do you supply light?

  • last year

    Since I grow under lights in the basement and lights are on/off 16/8 hrs, there is a small amount of light that manages to make its way through the opening despite the curtain that covers the nook, but it is negligible - very close to being able to say no light at all.

    Al

  • last year

    Al, thank you for your response. It gave me the idea to overwinter my hibiscus, geraniums and maybe some others in my cool, dark basement. I already over winter my bananas (after removing all leaves) using that method.

    One more question: do you do anything to the plants you put in the cubbyhole like pruning them back to minimize transpiration, etc.?

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    The plants that will tolerate a frost but don't need a cold rest are allowed to be knocked back by a freeze. I also try to defoliate whatever goes into the cubby hole when I give the plants the first drink. For plants with thick/ fleshy leaf petioles, I use a pr of scissors to cut through the leaf stem anywhere between the main part of the leaf and it's attachment point (to the branch/ stem). For thinner petioles, this tool is a very quick/ easy defoliator that stays sharp for a VERY long time:


    Al

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